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Friday, September 18, 2015

Tulip Trestle, Yoho General Store among those hidden travel secrets

Greene County Tourism has constructed an ov\bservation deck for visitors to view the Tulip Trestle and enjoy the beautiful valley view. There also are picnic tables
 and portable restrooms.

Fishing, hunting, camping and hiking usually are the primary focus of the Outdoor Tales column. Sometimes it is something like a flower or tree, maybe even a bug. And, sometimes it is a road trip.
Often I enjoy just taking a drive and a nice day. There are times there is no destination in mind when the drive begins. 
Many times I end up in a park like Rough River, a Memonite grocery and bakery and the Yellow Bank Wildlife Management Area. Hovey Lake, or a public access site on the Licking River or who knows where. 
Sometimes the Junkers and their dog, just like to explore. You can see and learn interesting things, and meet neat people.
For years, I have heard about a huge railroad trestle in Southwestern Indiana. Numerous people have told me about taking a jaunt to see the huge bridge, which seems a bit out of place in Greene County, Indiana. It looks more like something one might see across a large gorge somewhere in the mountains.
When a beautiful day arrived and nothing significant on my schedule, I decided it was time to hunt for the Tulip Trestle. I had done a Google search on the internet and found considerable information, including directions to its remote location. It is located east of Bloomfield and west of Solsberry near the community of Tulip,
One set of directions suggested visiting the Yoho General Store in Solsberry, and ask for directions. That sounded best.
I couldn’t recall ever being in Solsberry, but I did remember the small community once turned out several outstanding basketball teams before school consolidation eliminated the local school and students were then sent to Eastern Greene. Solsberry is on Indiana State Road 43.
My first stop was at the General store, which has been remodeled and is quite attractive. I quickly learned good food is served throughout the day. A friendly waitress provided simple directions to the trestle, and I assured her I would be back for a late lunch.
From the General Store, simply drive west about five miles. There are signs leading visitors to a newly built observation deck. (bring your own chairs if you want to sit and wait for a train to cross. There are about four per day.)
The observation deck  also is a good place to watch for wildlife and enjoy the scenery. There are two picnic tables, a sculpture, and rest rooms.
The bridge’s size is somewhat surprising. The 2,307 feet long and 157 feet tall steel-girded railroad trestle is one the longest of this type of bridge in the world still in use today. It is operated by the Indiana Railroad Company.  
The Tulip Trestle, locally known as the Viaduct, but officially identified as “Bridge X75-6”, was built in 1906 stretching from hill to hill across the beautiful Richland Creek Valley making it the most memorable structure in one of the most scenic areas of the county.    
  Construction was directed by Archibald Stuart Baldwin and completed primarily by immigrant Italian laborers hired by the Strobel Construction Company.  The total cost of the project was $246,504, which today would equal over $20 million.  
While not necessarily appealing to the eyes, graffiti has littered the structure helping to preserve it with the most well-known being “MICHELLE WILL YOU MARRY ME?” in the middle of trestle under the tracks, which no one knows for sure whether or not she said yes. Hopefully, she did, and lived happily everafter.
After a visit to the trestle for photos and exercise for our dog, Missy, we headed back to the Yoho for lunch. It was good home cookin’. Phyllis tried the breaded tenderloin, and I went to the meatloaf plate special. 
Even if you aren’t ready for lunch, the breakfasts or ice cream cones are inviting. An old stove if worth a look.
For additional information, Google, Tulip Trestle. Yoho General Store is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., during week, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 on Sunday., Phone: 812-825-7834. Yoho also has a Facebook page.
Solsberry, the Tulip Trestle, and the Yoho General Store are worth a day trip.

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