Still in the "no new trips" mode so we'll continue with themed subjects from our travels over the years. It is even fun for me to go back and look at the many sights we have seen, the progression of our works, and the age of some of these photos (oldest from this collection dates back to 2006). The order of appearance doesn't imply anything - just the bridge's name. I thought this story might be a short one, but as usual, that just isn't my style so bear with me - or simply look at the photos and [hopefully] enjoy.
The first two images (Image 1-1 & 2)should be pretty recognizable - the Mackinaw Bridge that takes you into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While the view is from the same general location (a park on the northern section), the dates are different (okay, by only one day). The bridge had just recently undergone a complete "redo" with new paint and lights and was in pretty much pristine condition (although tough to see at night). It remains the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere at 7,500 feet. They can't be all of this type of grandeur, but each bridge has a particular uniqueness and charm, and the Bridge of Lions (Image 1-3) in St. Augustine, FL is a real beauty. It derives its name from elegant stone lions at each end of the bridge and has a particularly nice central span that is also a draw bridge that opens several times a day to allow river traffic to pass and go out to the Atlantic Ocean. If images 1-4 through 1-6 look familiar, one or more of them were showcased on our gallery from last year's Minnesota trip. This is the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth and was one of our favorite destinations nearly every day we stayed in that city. This should come as a surprise to no one, but they were all shot at or before sunrise over two consecutive days.
Off we go to the west coast and another of the most recognizable bridges in the world - the Golden Gate Bridge (Image 1-7). We have quite a collection of images of this bridge, others probably more photogenic, but this one caught my eye for a couple of reasons. We were up at Hawk's Point waiting for good light and ultimately sunset. At one point we got light coming through some clouds, and it illuminated like a spotlight two main support towers but left the rest of the bridge in muted light. This one also shows a little more detail of the key elements in the background - mainly Alcatraz Island on the far left, the city of San Francisco in the middle right, Treasure Island and Oakland farther down the San Francisco Bay. Farther north, and in the state of Oregon, there are a lot of wonderful covered bridges. We've seen most of them over a couple of visits there, and there is a good "trail map" available to track them down. I think there are at least 12 of them near where our family lives in Sublimity (near Salem) and here are two - the Hoffman Bridge (Image 1-8) from the air and the Larwood Bridge (Image 1-9) that shows the internal construction. They have all been well-maintained and well-worth a day of driving in that area to see.
If we were keeping track of records, the Poinsett Bridge (Image 1-13) in Greenville County, South Carolina would get the prize for the oldest - not only here, but in the entire state of SC (maybe the entire southeast). Built in 1820 over the little Gap Creek, it is thought to have been designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument. And no, it is not in use today! Ravenel Bridge (Image 1-14) is up next, also in SC (Charleston). It spans the Cooper River and replaced the bridge that you can still see parts of in the background of this image - that bridge (the Pearman Bridge) was undergoing demolition the weekend we were there so our timing was nearly perfect. You can certainly see a construction style evolving here with the cable stay bridge becoming well-known for being a strong and safe construction method. Nearly all of these that have high decks allowing for marine traffic without a draw or lift mechanism use this method. And yes, they draw comparisons to the next bridge a little farther south, this time in Georgia (Brunswick) with the Sidney Lanier Bridge (Image 1-15) that has a similar span (1,250 feet vs. 1,546 feet). If you looked at both of them from the side it'd be tough to tell the difference.
We now move to our final group about 3,000 miles to the west and back in the state of Oregon. Here in Florence, the Siuslaw River Bridge (Image 1-16) spans a river of the same name. Like many on the west coast (and probably elsewhere, I don't have the complete list), it was designed by Conde McCullough. It does have a draw bridge in the center between the two arches but I don't recall seeing it in use during any of our visits. The size of the bulk of the marine traffic can move on the river to the adjacent Pacific Ocean without the bridge rising. Our last offering, and a little farther north on the Oregon Coast, is the Yaquina Bay Bridge (Images 1-17 & 18) in Newport, Oregon. Although strikingly different than the Siuslaw River Bridge, it too connects U.S. Route 101 up and down the coast and was designed by Conde McCullough. It has a higher deck (and thus no lift/draw bridge section), is all metal, and significantly longer. (P.S. the article I just read says it is one of eleven major bridges on the Oregon Coast Highway designed by Conde McCullough, but another source lists 22 bridges - all in Oregon).
I wonder what's next...