As you know my home base is Medford, Oregon USA. For those not familiar with the area, Oregon is in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, known for wilderness, outdoor recreation and Bigfoot. It is a great place to play, especially for us bears. Medford is the biggest town in southern Oregon, and that is where we begin our journey.
Yep, that is me riding on the dashboard because Driver decided to bring Girlie, his co-pilot, so I decided to be a gentleman and let her have my seat. It is just the beginning of summer in Oregon. The skies are blue with a few stubborn clouds. It is one of those days when the weather is not warm enough to go swimming, but it is definitely nice enough to go outside and play. Sounds like a great day for a picnic, and McKee Bridge on the Applegate River is a beautiful spot to do just that.
So our course is set to head west. From downtown Medford, we take the highway out to Jacksonville (an awesome little town you’ll hear more about later). Making a left at Ruch, a town that is barely a wide spot in the road, and we head out towards Applegate Lake. The drive is relaxing and scenic, following along the Applegate River and winding through trees and farmland. I focused on the road ahead, keeping an eye out for deer. We came across a few families of them and Driver had to slow down so they could cross the road. A little over 20 miles out and on the left is McKee Bridge.
Of course the first thing I did was hop out of the van and dash over to pose on the sign. This is a historic moment at a historic landmark. It is my first official travel destination pose, and hopefully the first of MANY as I have fun showing you around.
McKee Bridge is a quaint covered bridge built in 1917 and, until 1919, it was used as a rest stop halfway between Jacksonville and Blue Ledge Copper Mine. It was named after Aldelbert “Deb” McKee who donated the land. They was used up until 1956 for mining and logging until the bridge was deemed unsafe for traffic.
This is a side view of the bridge, where it spans the Applegate River only about 8 miles from the California border. The bridge is such a touching piece of history tucked back into the woods in a gorgeous location. A few visitors stop in to the nearby convenience store and cafe on their travels up to Applegate Lake. During the recent years, the grounds around the entrance to the bridge have undergone lots of improvements.
They have a cozy, well-groomed picnic area right next to the water, nestled in the trees. Such a picture perfect area to swim, fish or devour a delicious lunch. Now I know, being a bear, you are expecting me to say that I spent the afternoon running around stealing other people’s picnic baskets but I was very well behaved. After a nice lunch by the water, I was ready for a relaxing nap in the shade.
This is what the bridge itself looks like from the front. It looks a little sad because unfortunately you can’t walk on it anymore. It has been deemed unsafe due to a lot of deterioration. They are working hard to raise money for repairs though. Officials are applying for a grant and the remainder will have to be raised. If you are interested in pitching in, please contact the McKee Bridge Historical Society, PO Box 854, Jacksonville, Oregon 97530.
I hope you enjoyed this bears-eye view of McKee Bridge, an awesome historical picnic area to visit. For more pictures or just to say hello, please find me on Facebook. Look for Palmer Bear. As for me, I am off to a new adventure so I will be checking in again soon. Remember, there is always so much fun around you if you just take time to explore. Never be bored!