Thursday, July 01, 2010

Mini-Vacation in California

In June, Stephen and I left the Quilt Shop in the capable hands of our employees and headed down to California to visit our daughter and son-in-law, Dannielle and Isaac Stahly. It was really close to their 2nd wedding anniversary, they had moved to a new apartment, and we hadn't seen them for a while. So we packed up the car and off we went.

As we got closer to California, we realized that it wasn't raining! If you live here in Oregon, you know that it rained 19 out of 30 days in June. Everything was green, green, green--and wet! Was summer ever going to get here? As you can see from the photo, though, it was sunny in California. We are both sporting sunglasses. (My children HATE my sunglasses, by the way, but they keep the sun out of my eyes quite nicely.) In fact, in Redding, it was HOT by mid-morning.

We weren't in Redding very long before we decided that we should visit the Golden Gate Bridge down in San Francisco. I had never been there before and, for some reason, I actually had it in my head that the bridge would be painted gold. And, of course, it isn't. When construction was originally proposed, the United States Navy wanted the bridge to be painted black with yellow stripes so it would be highly visible to ships. Instead, it was painted with red lead primer and a lead-based topcoat called orange vermillion, or international orange. The paint protects the bridge from the high salt content in the air, which rusts and corrodes the steel components.

Isaac totally knew his way around San Francisco. We were very thankful for that. Where Stephen and I live, three cars stopped at a traffic light can be considered a traffic jam. (And that's assuming there is a traffic light!) Driving in all that California traffic seemed to me like it could be very nerve-wracking. Hey, check it out. Isaac and Dannielle are also wearing sunglasses! They are standing at a viewpoint above the bridge. It was absolutely beautiful there.

So here's what I learned about the Golden Gate Bridge. Work on the bridge began on January 5, 1933, and was completed in April of 1937. Although every safety precaution was taken, eleven men actually died during construction. The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge that has two main cables which pass over the tops of the two main towers and are secured at either end in giant anchorages. The main cables rest on top of the 746-foot main towers in huge steel castings that are called saddles. Each main cable has 61 bundles of galvanized steel wire. The total length of the bridge, including all of its approaches from abutment to abutment is an amazing 1.7 miles! The bridge itself is 90 feet wide and 4,200 feet long from tower to tower. Each of those anchorages weighs 60,000 tons.

I also discovered that at the time it was built, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world; however, when the Verrazano-Narrows bridge in New York City was completed in 1964, the Golden Gate Bridge lost this distinction. Today, the longest suspension bridge in the world is the Akashi-Kaikyo in Japan.

We had other adventures while we were in California. I'll write about them soon!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher and learned in our Social Studies book that it takes seven years to paint the bridge completely and when finished it's time to start over.
Changing light bulbs in it too is very dangerous.
After 9/11 for a long time no lights on at night in case of more attacks. We drove over it in the dark..extremely spooky.