The Bridges of North America, Part 1:
Our good motorhome friends, Gordon and Karen, posted this note in
their most recent blog: "When you talk about Yooper (upper
Peninsula) Michigan, you basically talk about two things. The
Mackinac Bridge and Mackinac Island. A Yooper told me that the
Mackinac Bridge is the most beautiful bridge in the world. I didn't
tell him that we were from Golden Gate Bridge country, so he is
still happy and we are still smug."
This excellent posting inspired us to present to you The Bridges
of North America
. We reviewed our 70,000 photos from the last
eight years to find the many bridges we crossed and photographed.
We skipped those of no interest but still had 166 bridges to show.
We whittled this group down to about 100 and couldn't seem go
further. Thus we broke this travelogue into two parts. Let's get
[Editor's Note: This is a long post. The beauty of presenting
travelogues using photos and text versus a video is that in seconds
you can skip the text, you can skip the photos, you can skip both
and you are done as quickly as you want to be. Or you can read the
entire post, get educated and enjoy these amazing bridge creations.]
First up, the Mackinac Bridge. It is definitely a beautiful
bridge. Gordon and Karen and our other favorite motorhome traveling
buddies, Ben and Sid have both been to the bridge, but we have not.
So this photo is not from us, but from Google Images. (We rarely
show anything other than our own images, but needed to this time.)
Is it the most beautiful bridge in the world? We'll took a look at
a hundred other photos and let you be the judge.
The Sun Dial bridge in Redding, California. This walking bridge is
piece of art and wow! how it lights up at night.
What could more beautiful to a American than the North Bridge in
Concord, Massachusetts. This is from where the Revolutionary War
"shot heard round the world" initiated.
Bridge construction is fascinating. There is so many different
ideas in how to support the weight: piers, suspension, arch bridge,
through arch bridge, cable-stayed, covered, moveable, rope, trestle,
truss bridges and more. 1) This Maine bridge at the Piscataqua River
is a "through arch" bridge. 2) This "truss bridge" is on Washington
state Hwy 17 north of Moses Lake.
1) The bridge at Downieville, California on Hwy 70 is just wide
enough for the Mothership to pass through and still keep the paint
on its sides. 2) This walking bridge is on the path to the Feather
Falls east of Oroville, California. The bridge style here is "Early
American Tree-Crushed Beam Bridge'.
When your hike approaches Feather Falls this bridge gives you the
great straight-on view of this magnificent falls.
Per Wikipedia the term "London Bridge" actually refers to the number
of bridges in London that cross the Thames River. However, due to
the great marketing abilities of Robert McCulloch, the creator of
Lake Havasu City, most will think of this bridge that was dismantled
in London in 1967 and rebuilt in Arizona in 1971.
1) Christine Falls in Mt. Rainier National Park is the final falls
on the Van Trump Creek and is viewed nicely through this stone arch
bridge. 2) Another arch bridge, this time made of steel, is on
California Hwy 70 between Paradise and Quincy.
1) Okay, okay, so Delicate Arch is not a bridge. Well, it could have
been during the Big Flood! 2) This second arch bridge in Arches
National Park would be a lot easier to walk over than Delicate.
The Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport, Oregon, is a gorgeous combination
of "arch bridges" and a "through the arch" bridge.
1) Rainbow Bridge spans the Niagara River gorge allowing passage
from the US to Canada and back. 2 ) This "stayed-cable" bridge is on
US Highway 70 in Ohio. A stayed-cable bridge supports the weight of
the bridge from a single tower. Cables on one side of the tower
support the weight from the other side. While looking similar to a
suspension bridge only one tower is required.
This truss style bridge at cousins Jeff and Mary Ellen's home in
Piqua, Ohio, holds only 10 tons. The MotherShip weights 17 tons.
However the bridge is short and only one axle would be on the bridge
at one time. So we took a chance and yes, we made it over and back.
These two bridges connect Sacramento, California, to West
Sacramento, crossing over, you guessed it, the Sacramento River.
Both bridges allow for taller ships to pass through. 1) The Tower
Bridge is for autos and is "vertical lift" bridge which has a
section between two towers that raises and lowers when ship need to
pass. 2) The I Street bridge is for trains. It is a "swing
bridge". The center section of the bridge turns 90 degrees allowing
ship passage and then turns back to line up the rails.
1) A simple suspension bridge allows Ellen to cross the Virgin River
in Utah without getting her feet wet. 2) The truss bridge in
Methow, Washington, had no problem supporting the MotherShip's
The Belle Louisville paddle-wheel river boat slips under the
truss-style Clark Memorial bridge on the Ohio River.
Beebe Bridge is a "through the arch" bridge spanning the Columbia
River at Chelan Falls, Washington.
1) The Lions Gate (suspension) Bridge crosses the First Narrows of
the Burrard Inlet connecting Vancouver, British Columbia to North
Vancouver. 2) Almost twin "through the arch" Tennessee bridges on
1) This walking bridge spans Canada's Sea to Sky Highway; this
highway takes you from Vancouver to Whistler, the site of the 2010
Winter Olympics. 2) This stone arch walking bridge gets your golf
cart across the man-made waterways of the Motorcoach Country Club
Resort in Indio, California.
You got us again, the Gateway to the West is an arch, not a bridge.
But then again, you could travel up the elevator on one leg and down
on the other, so it is a bridge!
The "Old Suspension Bridge" in Lilliooet, British Columbia. It was
originally built in the 1910's to replace the "winch ferry" used to
cross the Fraser River. Today it is a walking/biking bridge and a
Both of these bridges are truss style: 1) This on on Hwy 99 between
Whistler and Lilliooet, British Columbia. 2) The second bridge
leads to Parkfield, California, home of the "Big One", the predicted
next big earthquake in California.
1) A "Lift Bridge" on the Clearwater River, Lewiston, Idaho. 2) You
can cross the Clark Fort River in Montana on this "Continuous span
1) Its a short walk on this Fargo, North Dakota, person bridge. 2)
A Chicago draw bridge, one of 47 bridges on the Chicago River.
The Alaskan Highway starts in Dawson Creek, BC, and ends at Delta
Junction, Alaska. It passes innumerable lakes and rivers. 1)
Bridge between Fort Nelson, BC and Watson Lake, Yukon. 2) Teslin
River Bridge, Teslin, British Columbia.
1) A gorgeous wooden arch bridge on South Dakota Hwy 16a, on the way
to Mount Rushmore. 2) Can you find the bridge in this photo?
1) Colorado's Hwy 40 arch bridge over the Yampa River. 2) This
temporary bridge heading out of East St. Louis, Missouri, leaves
about 12 inches of space on each side of the MotherShip.
1) This narrow one line bridge takes you from Washington State
Highway 20 across the Skagit River to the Newhalem Campground. How
to you know it can hold the weight of the MotherShip? We have
learned over the years how to interpret weight limits. If a sign
says, for example "No Trucks over 10 tons", it does not prohibit a
bus or motorhome. If it said "No Vehicle over 10 tons", then that
means us. Unmarked bridges "will hold the weight" of any vehicle.
So, no problem here, we crossed with ease.
2) However, all bets are off on a homemade bridge. In 2006, our
first year, our GPS took us down a road that turned from two-lane
asphalt, to two-lane gravel to one lane with trees so close that
they scratched one side of our motorhome. Finally we arrived at this
"bridge". The MotherShip was brand new and we did not want to
scratch it anymore so we wanted to proceed. However, we also did
not want to crush this bridge and overturn into the creek and thus
decided to turn around. Luckily, while the road was single width,
we were at a fork in the road and we were able to back into the
fork, turn around and scratch the other side of the MotherShip.
Yep, lucky us!
And finally the Golden Gate, built in 1933. We have crossed this
bridge in the motorhome home many times and have a dozen photos.
But this is another photo from Google Images. We selected this
perspective for your comparison to the Mackinac Bridge photo.
So which bridge is the most beautiful in the world? All bridges get
you to a place unreachable without the bridge or save your lots of
mileage. So to us, "all bridges are beautiful".
Don't make your decision yet, wait for Part 2 next week.
Love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy
[P.S. We have signed a house rental agreement with what appears to
be a wonderful Christian family of six. So who knows, maybe we will