#75–Ups & downs of life . . .


Having my second bridge book, The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans, being laid out this week by the publisher means it made it though editing and the photos I sent are going to work. This means it’s really happening; we’ll be able to get it to the printer in time for Christmas sales. I felt good about it, but it’s always reassuring when someone else feels good about it too. This is so exciting for me.

Eleven days after surgery for melanoma, I’m looking better.

On another note, my face is healing. You can tell by the photo that the colors are mostly gone, some swelling remains, and the scar is already becoming less visible. I hate the baggy look around my one eye and feel like it must be super noticeable. Apparently, that’s not the case. I met a friend at the library the other day to buy a copy of her book—another author. And she paid me a supreme compliment. She said she didn’t even notice that I had anything wrong with my face until I mentioned it. She just thought it was a couple of scratches. Go figure! Of course, when my glasses are on, it’s not as noticeable.

While I’ve been unhappy about how I look whenever I look in the mirror, the good news is that the cancer is gone. I’ve had three friends that had long time battles with cancer (one of which was melanoma) and during the past year each one lost their battle. The third one just last week. And another friend had a heart attack a few days ago. With the miracle of implanting stints in clogged arteries, she will be back home very soon. Nothing like someone close to you having a much bigger problem, to take your mind off your own. So I have nothing to complain about––except maybe the endless rainy weather.

With the storm that hit the East such a widespread disaster, I couldn’t help but compare it to the Columbus Day Storm, which was also a superstorm. The exhibit about it at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland that I saw a couple of weeks ago called The Mightiest Wind continues through January 6. Like hurricane Sandy, The Columbus Day Storm was the combination of Typhoon Freda (an extratropical cyclone) meeting up with a low front and the jet stream. That combination created record low barometric pressure readings and incredible winds that resulted in 116 mph in downtown Portland. Fortunately, rain and storm surges were not the major problems in that storm that swept ashore between Eureka, California, and the southern Oregon coast, went up the I–5 corridor in a swath wide enough to include the coast and swept back out with Tacoma in its sights. It was not as large, didn’t have as much rain, and the fiercest part lasted 11 hours instead of days. The storm did affect weather for days from as far south as San Francisco, as far east as Spokane, and  as far north as Vancouver Island. With all the weather related problems in the East this past week, I’ll quit my complaining about our rain.

I continue to sell copies of Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges as people and businesses request them. My time lately has been filled with getting my second bridge book ready. Tomorrow I’ll do the last pages. I’ll put together acknowledgments, credits, and the edit for the back cover. Then my publisher will have every single thing he needs to finish laying it out.

I’ll be giving a short presentation, without PowerPoint, next week in the home of a friend to a PEO group (a women’s service/social group) about the book and bridges. I’ll focus on how Crossings came to be and how we were a part of each bridge’s anniversary celebration last year.

The Siuslaw River Bridge is one of the bridges that will be part of the bridge tour next February. –Photo by Bob Serra

I received a very exciting phone call during this past week from, Barbara Baker, who is now in charge of the Outward Ventures programs at Lane Community College, Florence campus. Because of Crossings, she asked me to lead an Oregon coast bridge tour of Conde B. McCullough bridges. She and I worked together planning it, taking into consideration the travel time, the stops, and where to eat lunch. So it will be an all day trip next February 9.

Bridges covered include Depoe Bay Bridge (actually two bridges side by side), Spencer Creek Bridge (new bridge design that shows a return to elegance and built to withstand major tsunamis), Yaquina Bay Bridge (most photographed bridge on the coast), Historic Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center (like a museum to McCullough and the bridges he designed), Cooks Chasm Bridge at Cape Perpetua (another new return-to-elegance bridge),Ten Mile and Big Creek bridges (two small identical bridges that show the engineering ingenuity of McCullough), Cape Creek Bridge (one of the most beautiful bridges on the coast and the only aqueduct-style bridge in Oregon), Siuslaw River Bridge (absolute jewel of a bridge that shows McCullough’s technical as well as aesthetic genius), Umpqua River Bridge (the most fascinating story of the coast bridges), and the McCullough Memorial Bridge (largest and most complex of McCullough bridges and his favorite).

When I taught first grade, I dressed like this every Halloween. So it was great fun to do it again this past week.

This was also the week of Halloween. Friend and fellow author Connie Bradley, whose husband was gravely ill since May, is now able to resume her life since he has miraculously survived all sorts of complications from pancreatitis that brought him close to death more than once. So we both dressed as witches (she was the well dressed one and I was the old hag), and we visited Old Town. We each had out brooms, both hand-thatched, and swept into most shops and restaurants and wished everyone a Happy Halloween. Then I came home and still in the witchy spirit visited a couple of neighbors. One had kids, so that was great fun. The other had a mutual friend over and they were marking their ballots. So there I sat between them giving my opinion on various measures. Must have been quite a sight.

Dig the nose! If it hadn’t been for the recent surgery, I’d have green makeup all over my face and neck. –Witch photos by Trudonna.

It was a week of ups and downs. And that’s life.


Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $4.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at http://www.connectflorence.com or pacpub@oregonfast.net. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society; in Made in Oregon stores throughout the state; and more and more bookstores, libraries, and museums in western Oregon. This book makes a good coffee-table book. With the holidays coming up, it would be an excellent gift.


The second book The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans––will cover 19 bridges and have at least one color and one historic photo for each one. The cost will probably be in the $12 to $15 range. This book will also be published through Pacific Publishing. This guide with its sturdy cover will travel well. When heading for the coast, don’t leave home without it.

Current happenings:

The half-hour interview with Dr. Veronica Esagui for the “Author’s Forum” program on public access TV in the Portland Metro area ended it’s two-week run June 1-14, 2012, but can be seen on YouTube in two parts: Google Judy Fleagle YouTube.

Upcoming events:

November 6, 5:30 p.m., PEO Meeting, private home––Twenty-minute talk on the book and the part it played in the 75th anniversary celebrations of 2011. Only open to PEO members.

February 9, 9–5, Bridge Tour, Outward Ventures, Florence campus, Lane Community College––This bridge tour includes 11 bridges with many stops from Depoe Bay to Coos Bay and has a lunch stop at a fabulous restaurant in Depoe Bay. Once the new catalogs are out, sign up at the Florence campus or online. A fee will be involved. I will be the bridges tour guide.

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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