This is the latest in a series of travel photos inspired by #FriFotos on Twitter. The theme of this week’s Photo Friday is BRIDGES.
My in-laws live in Atlantic, Iowa, a town of 7,500 an hour east of Omaha. I’ve visited several times, first for my husband’s high school reunion and last year to celebrate my mother and father-in-law’s 60th wedding anniversary.
While it’s always nice to see family, my husband and I usually like to take a few hours during these type of trips to do our own exploring. In rural Iowa, this can present some challenges. Then Don told me that Madison County – the setting for Robert James Waller’s treacly novel, The Bridges of Madison County – was right down the road. And thus a day trip was born.
I actually had never read the best-selling book, so popular in 1992, or seen the 1995 movie with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. So I downloaded the book on my Kindle and read from it dramatically as we drove between the bridges.
At one time, Madison County had 19 covered bridges. Only six remain, and all are open to the public. We picked up a map at the Heavenly Habitat, a church that’s been turned into bed & breakfast (which ended up being one of my favorite B & Bs, ever). After a brief stop at John Wayne’s birthplace in downtown Winterset, the county seat, we headed out to track them all down.
It turns out that Madison County is not small – and the bridges are not close together. It took us about half a day to get to all of them. Even after all this time, the bridges hold up as a tourist attraction. We saw visitors at each one.
All in all, the trip was a pleasant diversion. On a sunny day, with the windows open in our car, we laughed at Butler’s overwrought prose, stopped for ice cream and took way too many photos of structures that now, a year later, seem the same. And when we got home, we did watch the movie, supposedly still a romantic favorite. I’m almost 100 percent sure Don fell asleep.