27-Jun, Winkle Family Reunion

The second full day at the reunion was set aside for canoeing or a covered bridge tour, some hiking, and dinner at the guest house. But even the beginning didn't go as expected.

Melody and I had gotten a chance to stop by the grocery store on Friday, so we had things at the house to eat for breakfast. When I got down there, Curt was there too, so it was nice to chat with him. He was originally planning on leading the covered bridges tour, but he wasn't feeling too well, so he was hoping Christi would be able to do so.

Canoeing was also on the agenda, but with the river so high, Clarke was expecting that it wouldn't be offered, so everyone diverted to the covered bridge tour. The water was so high, he couldn't get his car from where he was staying to the guest house; his son Alex went to get him in a truck.

Before others started arriving at the guest house, I heard a tractor go by, thinking nothing of it. It occurred to me, however, that I was hearing several tractors, so I went out and Debbie was by the road, looking at a tractor parade. Melody and I joined her, and soon almost everyone in the house was out there too. We started waving at the drivers, who waved back. In all, we heard there were well over 200 tractors that went by.

Every now and then we'd see a car in the parade, and that would be family members who were able to sneak in, then pulled into the guest house driveway. At one point we saw a truck with a trailer, and realized a Model T was being hauled. We knew that would be Kevin, and indeed it was, with Hans riding along. Joanna was following with everyone else in the van, and she pulled into the house, but Kevin didn't have room so he went further up the road where he could pull into a place with enough room to unload the antique car.

While it took family members a long time to work their way through the tractor parade, Rachelle had the hardest time, since they were completely blocking her. She tried honking, but got the kind of response you would expect, essentially being told that she'd have to wait. She did get in, though, and was able to laugh about it by the time she got to the house.

After the tractors had finished going by, Kevin was able to bring the Model T back down to the guest house, and we all got to get a closer look. We then all gathered around for a group photo, which Brenda coordinated (my camera was off to the side, which is why people don't seem to be looking at it).


Parke County is known for their covered bridges, so we took the opportunity to check out a couple of them close up. We had already seen the Narrows Covered Bridge since it was close to the guest house, but Curt wanted to make sure we saw what was, in his opinion, one that was much better.

We all piled into cars (we got a ride with Rachelle and Carola) and the ten cars began a caravan. Our first stop was the Neet Covered Bridge which was quite similar to the Narrows one, but had a great view of a field at the other end. There was no road leading to the bridge, but on the way back to the car, you could see where it used to be, since the grass was mounded up in that area.

After we all got a good look, the caravan started back, and we got to Bridgton, where we got a good look at not only the Bridgeton Covered Bridge, but the Bridgeton Mill, too.

What makes the Bridgeton bridge spectacular is, since there's a mill near the bridge, a small dam was erected to divert some water to drive the mill, so there's a small waterfall just past the bridge. In addition, the bridge itself is a double span, so it's actually two bridges fused together, with the connection being at the middle of the river.

Everyone took some time to stroll around the bridge, the store in the mill, and the small crafts barn. We noticed there was ice cream, and followed Curt and Ken's lead in getting some. That was good timing, because before too long, all the others got the same idea, so the line got really long.

There were some great views of the bridge near the mill, but we got even better ones after we wandered across to the other side, where we could get the full effect.

Once everyone had finished with their ice cream, we went back into the mill where the miller started telling us the history of the mill and how he came to own it. At the beginning, he had warned us that he would keep talking unless interrupted, and he was true to his word. After a while, Clarke realized that it was getting pretty late, so he apologized to the miller that we needed to go.

We then went to the crafts barn where some people that Christi knew were doing pottery, so they gave us a demonstration. There was also a guy there doing chip carving.

It was time for another group photo, so we wandered to the end of the bridge and Brenda set things up for the shot. Then, back into the cars and to the house where we worked on the plentiful leftovers from the previous night.

Rest of the day

Some people were going to go out hiking, but we were at the halfway point of our trip, so we decided to do some laundry. We borrowed a key from Carola, got instructions to Granny's Farm (go until you see the white sign that's parallel to the road, turn in, go past the office, turn right at the corn field, go past corn then trees, turn right at the corn field, then you'll see the two large white buildings). Surprisingly enough, we managed to find it, overshooting once (and seeing a dead deer on the side of the road).

When we got inside, we started the laundry, and realized that not only was there a good cell signal, but there was wireless too. Since we had a bit of waiting, we stretched around a little bit, then got caught up on some things online. Granny's House was very nice and modernized, so it was a comfortable place to wait.

After we were done, we headed back to Hobson Farms, noticing that a turkey vulture had started feeding on the dead deer. When we pulled into the guest house parking lot, we noticed that the Model T was gone, assuming Kevin was giving rides to people. Sure enough, he drove in with a few people inside, they exited, then other people got in, and Kevin took off again. We went inside to drop off our clothes, then went downstairs where Brian showed us a couple panorama photos, one taken at the first Newport (IN) Hill Climb (Brian and Kevin compete each year with their Studebaker, and win very often), and one taken for the 100th anniversary. He pointed out things they tried to do to make the photos match, such as Hans wearing a flat-top cap, just like a boy in the original photo. People in the building windows were in the same positions, and they even got a high school band to stand where a band was at the first hill climb.

We heard the Model T come back, so we went out for our ride. Kevin is great at driving it. He told us all about how the controls work (throttle on the steering column, right pedal is the brake, left is the gear selector) and it was fun to feel the wind in our faces.

Dinner was fried chicken from the Turkey Run Inn, and as usual, there was no shortage of food. Afterwards, the Knoepfels were heading back to Paris, so we said our goodbyes. When we returned to the house, the Saturday service was just starting. There were a few hymns, and Rachelle and Brenda valiantly tried to play on an unfamiliar keyboard, sometimes running out of keys. Everyone was still able to follow along.

Melody and I were again invited to the cousins night, so we went along for a little while. Gathered around the table, people chatted, told stories, and ribbed people (well, that was mostly Carter, capitalizing on his strengths) while having drinks and munching on snacks. Once Mike had finished putting his daughters to bed, we all went outside for a group cousins photo by the corn. Because, you know, corn.

As people were filing in, we were getting tired enough that we said goodnight and went back, past the corn, trees, corn, and dead deer, and went to sleep.