Monday, September 28, 2009

Astoria-Megler Bridge

Astoria-Megler Bridge

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From deep in the mini-roadtrip archives, here are a few photos of the Astoria-Megler Bridge, which crosses the mouth of the Columbia out in Astoria. I just did a post on Portland's Interstate Bridge, so it seemed like a good time to post these. That way it almost looks like my posts here aren't completely random, I guess.

I'm not going to bother with a "pictures from the interwebs" section. It's on the coast, and a large chunk of the coastal workforce is employed making pictures of various bridges along the coast. Go ahead, check Flickr, or do a Google image search. You'll be inundated.

I probably ought to apologize for having so few photos of the bridge here. In my defense, these were taken the year before last, using a puny compact digicam, and I had no idea at the time that I was about to get sucked into an ongoing bridge project. If only I'd known, I'd have taken more photos, and some of them might have even been good. It's possible, but now we'll never know...

Astoria-Megler Bridge

Continuing on... As far walking goes, sadly we're faced with the same situation as with the Fremont & Marquam bridges in Portland: Generally speaking, pedestrians are banned from the bridge. The bridge was built in 1966, back when people thought walking was obsolete, and so there's no sidewalk on the bridge. However once a year they do offer something called the "Great Columbia Crossing", where you do get a chance to run or walk across the thing. It's scheduled for October 11th this year (2009) and I've thought about driving out and having a go at it. But I probably won't get to it this year, so don't hold your breath. You're free to try it without waiting for me though (in case you didn't already realize this), although I should point out that the bridge is four miles long, and no guarantees can be made about what mid-October weather on the Oregon Coast will be like. In the meantime, here's a good blog post about a trip to Astoria which included last year's Columbia Crossing, also with pastries and herons (though not all at the same time).

Actually I'm going to go ahead and violate the "no photos from the interwebs" rule I just made, briefly, to pass along a couple of photosets from the 2007 edition of the event: one on Picasa, the other on Webshots. Also, here's the Flickr set that goes with the blog post I just mentioned. Ok, there, we're done.

You might note that I don't have any photos from on the bridge itself. I was on a solo mini-roadtrip at the time, so I didn't have someone to drive as I took photos, or to take photos as I drove. And driving over the bridge is a white-knuckle experience if you don't do it on a regular basis, so I didn't seriously consider driving and taking pictures at the same time. I suppose you get used to driving the bridge if you do it regularly. Either you do that, or you drive way upstream and take the ferry at Westport. Which is kind of interesting, but it's not what you'd call fast. As it turns out, I actually drove across the bridge on this trip just so I could drive upstream and take the ferry back to the Oregon side.

Astoria-Megler Bridge

As for the semi-obligatory "links from the interwebs" part, a couple of the usual suspects come through for us again here.
  • There's a Structurae page for the bridge, although it mostly repeats the info in the Wikipedia article.

  • There's also a page at Columbia River Images that gives a bit more background on the bridge, and on the ferries that preceded it.

  • The same site has a page about Megler, which (unlike Astoria) isn't a city or even a proper town. The usual phrase for a place like this is "wide spot in the road", but I tried to find the place and didn't even notice a wide spot in the road. There isn't even a ghost town full of picturesque ruins, since abandoned wooden buildings don't last long in this climate. I suppose it could've fallen into the sea similar to Port Royal in Jamaica, and someday some lucky marine archeologist will find the drowned city and its fabulous piles of pirate booty. There might even be mermaids and mermen guarding it. But I wouldn't bet on it.

    Other than a few old pilings in the river, there seems to be nothing right on the Washington side of the river, and as far as I can tell this "Megler" place is purely mythological in nature. Or if not purely mythological, perhaps the town appears in the coastal mists just once a century, like a sort of flannel-wearing redneck Brigadoon, with banjos instead of bagpipes. But I wouldn't bet on that either.

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