I discovered a new bridge yesterday!
But before we get there, let me back up a bit. Bridges are a bit of a necessity in Portland since the Willamette River splits the city in half. Luckily, if you want to cross from west to east (or vice versa), you have ten whole bridges to choose from, with another light rail/pedestrian/bike bridge on the way. When it comes to crossing the Willamette in Portland, you’ve got plenty of options.
If you want to cross the Columbia River, on the other hand, from Portland to Washington (or, again, vice versa) your options are more limited. Basically, there’s the I-5 bridge and the I-205 bridge, both with rather unpleasant bike lanes–but protected bike lanes nonetheless (it’s possible that no bridge shared with a major interstate will ever be more than simply functional).
What this means is that if you want to, say, ride your bike from where I am in Oregon into Washington, I always assumed that you had to go over one of these two bridges. Unless, that is, you wanted to bike down the Columbia River Gorge and take the Bridge of the Gods about 50 miles to the east.
So, this new bridge I found. I guess I should admit that from Portland it’s really no more practical than the Bridge of the Gods, since it’s also about 50 miles away. However, it is a bridge in a whole new direction that I didn’t know about, and that makes it novel and exciting to me. Ready? It’s the Lewis and Clark Bridge from Rainer, OR to Longview, WA:
I’ll admit that’s not the most flattering picture of it, but I think it’s actually a pretty sweet bridge. We came to it from the Washington side after having biked north from Portland (over the I-5 bridge:), then through La Center and Kalama. Though the approach from Longview isn’t too lovely and the bike lane is full of debris, it’s still kind of exciting that you can bike 50-some-odd miles north into Washington and then still be able to get back into Oregon without turning around and heading south again.
And it’s always exciting to find new-to-me stuff.
Big thanks to Mr Kevin Brightbill who came up with the route for this ride, and then named it Elphais Doge just for some extra Harry Potter mojo. Check out his other rides while you’re at it–I bet they’re awesome too. And though I don’t know that the Lewis and Clark bridge is really ever going to become part of any sort of normal commute, I’m glad to know it exists. Hooray for bikey exploration:)