The Bridges of California
The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is the premiere icon for San Francisco and for all of California. It is an engineering masterpiece and a visual marvel.
The Golden Gate known for its red towers that peak up above the fog. Since its opening in the thirties, almost two billion cars have crossed the 1.7 mile span over the entrance to the San Francisco Bay.
Some interesting facts about the bridge:
- It's called the Golden Gate Bridge, not for its color, but for it's position over the Golden Gate Straight; It is the gateway to the Golden State.
- Telephone line the pedestrian sidewalks offering a help line for suicide. About three people a month jump to their death. The 220 feet down to the water is like hitting cement. It has the highest suicide rate in the world.
- According to structural engineers, the bridge is built to withstand an 8.3 magnitude earthquake.
- A prestigious team of 28 painters continually paint it to keep the salty air from corroding it.
The Bridge to Nowhere
The Bridge to Nowhere is California's coolest bridge that almost no one has seen. It literally goes nowhere, from nowhere. Five miles of river crossing the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, rock scrambling, and hiking across nearly impassible ledges, will bring you to one of the most beautiful span bridges you have ever seen.
The army started building it in 1929 with the view that it could be used as an escape route out of Los Angeles in the event of a war or natural disaster. It was going to be one America's most scenic drives, as well as a cargo highway for the military. However, in 1938 California's 4th largest flood came ripping down the narrow canyon and decimated the road leading to the bridge. Years of floods and abandonment have led to only small chunks of asphalt peeking through the nearly pristine wilderness.
The Bridge to Nowhere is a Southern California Hiker's rite of passage and a thrill seeker's bucket list topper. A bungee jumping company, Bungee America, is the only certified bungee company in California, and leads weekend trips to the bridge. After a 2 hour hike in, a thirty minute "jump school," and your body mummified in harnesses, you can safely dive off the side the bridge in one of six different styles.
Bixby Creek Bridge
If you've ever taken a drive down highway 1, you've probably crossed the Bixby Creek bridge. It is stunning against the rugged California Coastline. It is one of the longest concrete span bridges in the world, coming in at 325ft.
It was built for less than $200,000 in 1932, so that travelers could visit the Big Sur Coastline in the rain. If you are scared of heights, driving this section of Highway 1 will give you a run for your money. At some points, the drop down to the ocean is several hundred feet high, offering a breathtaking view.
Vincent Thomas Bridge
The Vincent Thomas Bridge is Long Beach's iconic big Green machine. At over 6,000 feet in length, the giant span bridge connects San Pedro to terminal Island. The cruise ships and ferries going to Catalina Island and Mexico call the port below home. As the cruise ship pulls out to sea, the giant green bridge frames the Los Angeles basin.
The Vincent Thomas Bridge is a well know Hollywood icon, appearing in Gone in Sixty Seconds, Charlie's Angels, and the Mission Impossible television series. Unfortunately, it is also the location that Director Tony Scott, Director of Top Gun, committed suicide.
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