Rides We Like: The Funny Farm Reference
(2017) In the eighties Vermont was big. It was the place people wanted to go to connect with the countryside. Where Australia was the adventurous place of the decade, Vermont was the laid-back dew grass fall foliage getaway. If you wanted the make the whole look authentic, you could purchase a wood paneling Jeep Grand Wagoneer and constantly tell your friends you were just now leaving for Vermont. Movies jumped on board, too. One movie in particular made a mockery of the movement.
The 1988 movie starring Chevy Chase shows a man moving from the city into the hollows of Vermont with his wife. Chase’s character wants to settle in and immediately set out to writing the novel he’s always kept secreted away in his imagination. On paper things should go according to plan. To the audience’s benefit, but to Andy Farmer’s (Chevy Chase) detriment, absolutely nothing goes well. Among the debaucheries Farmer encounters include a drunken mailman, a town sheriff who takes a taxi everywhere, and an in-house payphone, among others.
One of my favorite scenes involves the moving truck as it winds its way north. The scene in particular shows the movers parked at the entrance of a quaint Vermont covered bridge. The stubborn driver announces the bridge is sturdy; the passenger wants nothing of it. Predictably the easing onto the span turns into a comedic experience and the driver throws it in reverse back to the entrance where both men look on in disbelief as the span collapses. Apparently a moving truck is a weak spot for any covered bridge.
I had heard a U-Haul truck had gouged out another covered bridge in our countryside existence. For the second time in three years, a moving truck swooped in and imploded support structures of a covered bridge. This time Loux Covered Bridge, a structure that straddles the tiny waterway of Cabin Run Creek was the victim. Despite multiple signs warning these drivers of the bridge dimensions, they seem to persist, having, as they say in the movie, “faith in the craftsmanship of our forefathers.” It’s a near certainty the driver did not get the safety deposit back on the truck.
Deciding to have a look myself I went to see what the damage was. Typically when I hear a bridge has suffered a run-in with a moving truck, the collapsing scene from “Funny Farm” comes back. I took the bike out and made the quick descent down Carversville Road to observe the busted structure. Once I got to it I realized it wasn’t too bad. The structure was still standing. However on my way to the bridge I counted how many signs there were warning motorists (see: moving trucks) of the peril ahead. I counted two from the short side. I snapped my photo of the closed bridge and moved on.
Slowly my route wound around to the recently repaired Frankenfield Covered Bridge to start a climb over the ridge. I’ll give you one guess what took out the Frankenfield Covered Bridge. The bridge has since been reopened. It’s one of my favorite bridges because it gives a cyclist a jolting experience crossing it. Take a closer look and the planks reveal rounded off tree knots to add to the bounciness. I was glad to have this bridge in service.
Each time a bridge is damaged the party involved is ordered to pay $1,000 for repair work. There is no indication how much the movers had to pay in the movie Funny Farm. The closures become headaches for those who live in the area. Locals stated the Frankenfield closure added twenty minutes to a commute for some. What’s curious is the other scenario. That one or two months prior to the Central Bucks Bicycling Club’s Covered Bridges Ride, someone rampages on a covered bridge. Some have suggested a metal square prior to the bridge that could deflect any chance crossings. Others have stated no trucks should be allowed to cross. I’m not sure why everyone seems to be moving, but may I suggest people just ride bikes across the spans and leave it at that.