“It is a good habit to thank always the bridge which takes you to the other side or to mention the name of the bridge or to take the photo of it or to repair it if you can! In short, do something good for those who do goodness for you.”(Mehmet Muraltildan)
A common theme of my blogs concerns the desire to live in the present as we proceed annually on our road trip travels. It follows that neurotic obsessions of the past or unknown apprehensions of the future must be minimized on such long distance adventures. Crossing a bridge thus offers an inviting opportunity to test this “now” resolve as my senses lock suspended in time’s moment by moment in transitioning between one’s past place of visit and the upcoming site to be encountered of the unknown.
Consider for example how inspiring sensations of self growth can arise as a lost tourist traverses seemingly impenetrable barriers by way of masterful work of bridge engineering construction? Or ponder why a greater appreciation of nature’s glory arises along walking paths as the weary hiker slowly steps on a simple footbridge over a slow moving river? In connecting how past events connect to today’s times as well, what historical relevance matters for the time challenged commuter along a busy, commuter bridge that serves as a vital gateway to a thriving city? In also considering the rise of populist nationalism in America in today’s times, what magical formula in bridge appearance arises to unite friend and foe in order to tear down resultant physical, social, and political walls? With each of the above scenarios in mind, I thus reveal to my readers below some memorable bridge encounters from our recent road trip travels.
1.California’s Pacific Coast Highway 1 – (Be Inspired By Nature)
In driving cautiously through the steeply narrow roadways, of the “Big Sur Region”, I enjoyed welcoming rest stops at the famed Bixby Bridge and several other coastal passages. As I admired breathtaking panoramas of raw cliffs descending naturally to meet the rocky shoreline below the strong pillars of each crossing, I gained a strong sense from such nature’s synergy that humans must similarly strive to work cooperatively in tandem for the sake of global humankind.
2. Mississippi River off U.S. Highway 61 – (Go Westward Ho)
Our crossing of the seemingly untamed Mississippi River each year on our road trips west becomes a symbolic marking point of exchanging our regimented, east coast ways for the anticipated freedom of open prairies in Texas/Great Plains lying shortly ahead. This year, however, I more cautiously observed a severely flooded Mississippi basin as a useful omen to be more mindful of extreme weather anomalies to be encountered by us this year.
3. San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge (“Think Outside The Box)
As one of the longest suspension bridge in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge provides spectacular panoramas of the San Francisco skyline and its adjacent bay. Yet dense fog and cold gusting winds often envelop this bridge to discourage ambitious, sightseeing options in this famous city on a given day. In turning more introspective in such surrounding bridge mist on the first day of our most recent visit, I simply buttoned up my windbreaker, and thought of alternative ways to enjoy life with friend and family on this weather challenged day. Perhaps that thought would equally apply to handling those incessantly rainy summer days at home in South Florida.
4. Las Vegas Strip, Nevada ( See More Spend Les’s)
With the construction of several bridge overpasses extending across S. Las Vegas Blvd, it’s now practical to move easily from hotel to hotel across this busy thoroughfare without major disruptions of traffic and endless crowds. As a result, we no longer feel pressured to exceed our budget in gambling temptation at any one casino on our road trip visits to the strip. Las Vegas’ new pedestrian-friendly bridges at casino entrances also allows us to search more easily for economical concerts and other forms of entertainment along the strip.
5. Univ. of Tennessee in Knoxville (Striving For Upward Mobility)
The opportunity to pursue “Higher Education becomes more accessible for “all” as pedestrian overpass bridges link the downtown core conveniently to key academic buildings on the nearby campus. I also recall on our Knoxville road trip visit accepting the challenge to ascend steep bridge ramps to the upper decks of nearby Neyland Stadium in order to earn an exceptional look of the football field and Knoxville vicinity. I thus reason from these two examples of bridge movement that rise to success in life can relate directly to the level of one’s expectations.
6. Page Ariz.’s Glen Canyon Bridge (Examine Environmental Impacts)
This massive arch bridge extending high over the harsh, arid region of the Colorado River Basin in one way can be viewed as a major accomplishment of Civil Engineering efficiency Yet at what cost does the presence of this Glen Canyon span incur when you factor in our road trip observations of the tourist invasion in this federally protected wilderness area? When you consider in this regard that Navaho Indians once revered this Northern Arizona desert region as their sacred homeland to preserve for all, to what extent do today’s boaters, swimmers, hikers, and campers similarly respect “environmentally sustainable” practices here today?
7. Downtown Cleveland, Ohio (Evolution Of A Struggling Industrial Giant)
This large Midwest city along the south shore of Lake Erie once reigned as a major hub of giant steel mill operations, burgeoning resident populace, millionaire oil businesses, and a thriving railroad connections. Reinventing itself today as a tourist center in the decline of America’s industrial era, its historic bridges remain as a testament to its former glories. Thus we often find good use of Cleveland downtown’s efficient bridge access by car when attending a professional sporting event, enjoying a picnic along the lake, or in visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on our road trips.
8. Northern Idaho’s Dixie Bridge – Route 12 ( Meditate With Nature)
The Louis and Clark Highway follows a tortuously winding path along the rugged Lochsa River for 134 miles. Stopping for a much needed rest, at this simple wooden bridge, we sat quietly here for awhile to rejuvenate our minds/bodies amidst nature’s stillness.
9. Niagara Falls N.Y. – International Rainbow Bridge (Overcome Walls Of Difference)
In contrast to the current scene of U.S. immigration confusions along the Mexican border, this popular entry point near Buffalo N.Y. provided us with easy access as we simply walked along this pedestrian friendly bridge to and from Ontario Canada with our current U.S. passport card for display. Thus this bridge has transformed Niagara Falls from its traditional reputation as a haven for American honeymooners into a bonified model of peaceful co-habitation in the world today.
10. Cumberland Falls, Kentucky – ( Pursue Road Not Taken )
In the famous poem by Robert Frost, “ The Road Not Taken” the traveler opts to follow the less traveled path that few others have taken. This country bridge encountered at the end of our last road trip similarly seems to go oddly into deep woods, “no man’s land”. Would you dare to cross this bridge alone with no map, GPS guidance or other assistance?