Well, this was the week. Sunday night I went to bed an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces and Monday morning I woke up as a Veteran (again 😊). I know, I know, you thought it was all over back in July when I had the big ceremony and party! One of the few bright spots in the pandemic was that service members were able to bank up an exorbitant amount of leave (vacation days), so I’ve actually been burning through banked up leave since July and it finally ran out Sunday!
To commemorate the day, the girl gang (aka The Southern Pines Litas) took me out for brunch on Sunday where I stood at attention for my very last reveille . . . in the First Watch parking lot! The Litas is not a military associated organization, though several in our group have military affiliations. A leader in and out of uniform, Fontana knew I needed one last “official” event though, so she oversaw protocol as “To the Color” (military wake-up bugle call) was played. It was perfect and just what I needed!
After a delicious brunch, complete with cake, the majority of us jumped on our bikes and rode off into a gorgeous day towards the Pisgah Covered Bridge.
The status of covered bridges in NC is a bit confusing. It appears that there are dozens of covered bridges ranging in length from 15-140 feet strewn throughout the state, but only a handful were built prior to the 1960s. According to the NC Dept. of Transportation, only one (Bunker Hill Bridge) is a historic covered bridge, even though other tourist and history websites bestow that designation to the Pisgah Covered Bridge as well. No matter the source, the general consensus seems to be that there are only two remaining original covered bridges in North Carolina: Bunker Hill in Catawba county and Pisgah in Randolph county.
Pisgah Covered Bridge in the Uwharrie National Forest outside of Asheboro was built in 1911. Its 54 feet of timbered length was designed to carry horse and carriage across the Little River and could not accommodate automobiles, so was eventually bypassed by a paved road. A flood in 2003 washed out this scenic tourist attraction, but it was rebuilt with salvaged original wood and pieces in 2004. Despite the graffiti, the bridge is still majestic and offers a glimpse into what life must’ve been like when living horses, instead of iron horses, would’ve carried us on our day trip.
As I went to bed Sunday night, my heart was full of gratitude, for a lifetime of incredible experiences crammed into what I hope to be only the first half of my time here on earth, and for the prospect of a second half filled with more great friends and adventures.