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The Keatings Tour California - Part 2

Knights Ferry Bridge. Photo by the Keatings, June 2008
Knights Ferry 05-50-01
Knights Ferry Bridge. Photo by the Keatings, June 2008
Knights Ferry Interior with Liz
Knights Ferry Bridge. Photo by the Keatings, June 2008
Knights Ferry Sign
Wawona Bridge. Photo by the Keatings, June 2008
Wawona Bridge 05-22-01

Hi Folks
On Sunday, June 1st, we left Felton for Yosemite National Park, stopping at Knights Ferry covered bridge along the way. Knights Ferry is, at 360 ft (span length), the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi. There is a possibility that it was deigned by Ulysses Grant, later Civil War General and President of the US. I like the picture of Liz walking thru the bridge.
      The bridge is part of a complex of several historic buildings maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, which was given responsibility for the bridge in a 1981 law, but did not get title to it until 1985. Upon receiving title, the Army realized that the bridge needed repairs and called upon the famous Graton covered bridge company for a thorough review of the bridge. We saw a short film in which all three of the Gratons, patriarch, Milton, son Arnold, and grandson JR were interviewed and shown working on repairing the bridge
      The visitor center is open seven days a week(we were there on a Sunday). On the day we were visiting, it was staffed by a husband and wife volunteer couple. There was a loose leaf binder book at the counter with pictures and directions to all of California's covered bridges. There was also a covered bridge exhibit in the visitor center, with a California map and pictures of several authentic cbs. Sunday afternoon we arrived in Oakhurst for our eight- night stay.
      On June 2 we visited the Wawona covered bridge, see scans of sign and bridge with whitewater. I climbed down to the riverbank to get the view with the whitewater. Liz took the two front view pictures. The shuttle bus driver told us that when the park service asked for bids on repairing the bridge after flood damage, that there only a few companies with the expertise to repair it. According to signs and information at park exhibits, there have been several floods that damaged the bridge. One in 1955 did so much damage that a proposal was put forward to replace the covered bridge with a steel/concrete bridge (see collected covered bridge articles, California, on this website for more info). I have attached a flood meter sign at the Merced River Sentinel footbridge(located in the valley, over the main Merced). I didn't see any flood signs at the Wawona bridge. The Wawona bridge is one of three inside National Park units and we have now seen all three(others at Valley Gorge, Pa. and Sleeping Bear Dunes, Mich.). I purchased a National Parks Senior Pass for $10. The pass is good for as long as I live and provides free admission to almost all National Parks. If you are 62 or older I highly recommend it.
      On June 3, we walked trails in the valley--see scan of Yosemite Falls. The Wawona bridge is over the South Fork of the Merced river which joins the Merced outside Yosemite Park. I actually took a raft trip on the Merced river, starting outside the park and went past the point where the South Fork joins up with the main river, on June 4. Sorry, I don't have any pictures, since my camera isn't waterproof. Our raft went thru some serious whitewater, including one spot where one of the four rafts in our group went straight up in the air and all of the passengers fell out. Our guide began giving all these orders to us--forward paddle!--Back paddle--right turn--left turn-- so we could rescue people. As it turned out, all but one got back into their own raft and that one, a boy of about 9, got into a raft next to us. Our raft recovered two paddles. This was my first raft trip on a covered bridge river. Liz says that I am crazy. She stayed at the motel and did laundry.
      On June 5, we rode the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine RR.
      Afterwards we walked some trails and visited the famous Ahwahnee hotel. I took a picture of Liz at the entrance. Also, see scan of us and Half Dome from Glacier Point.

Wawona Bridge. Photo by the Keatons, June 2008 Yosemite Falls. Photo by the Keatons, June 2008
Wawona Bridge
Yosemite Falls, Upper & Lower
Wawona Bridge. Photo by the Keatons, June 2008 Merced River Flood Sign. Photo by the Keatons, June 2008
Wawona Bridge Sign
Merced River Flood Sign
Yosemite Mountain Railroad. Photo by the Keatons, June 2008 Yosemite Mountain RR car with Liz. Photo by the Keatons, June 2008
Yosemite Mountain Railroad
Yosemite Mountain RR car with Liz
Half Dome. Photo by the Keatons, June 2008
Half Dome with Liz & Tom

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
This file posted 08/02/2008