The Mighty Bay Bridge

There's a photograph of the bridge abutment between the two suspension spans of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in the liner notes of Jawbreaker's 24 Hour Revenge Therapy that I've always loved. Because while the Golden Gate may be the most perfectly beautiful bridge ever built, it's also kind of crap. First of all, it takes longer to get to Bottom of the Hill from the East Bay if you take the Golden Gate. But more seriously, the 10-foot lanes make driving over it an experience that can be rather nerve-wracking for the driver. The Bay, by contrast, is easy as pie. Other than the traffic.

Sure, the Benicia, San Mateo, Dumbarton, and Richmond Bridges get little to no respect. And although the Benicia Bridge spans a really pretty expanse of water and offers up great vistas while waiting for the toll booth, it's not much to look at. A concrete beast of a thing; the best thing that can be said about it is that the view includes the Carquinez Bridge, a utilitarian cantiliever span (the construction of which was aided in by one of Los Jalops' fathers), a partially disassembled cantilever span that dates back to 1927, and the westbound Alfred Zampa suspension bridge, which is visually striking and a lot of fun to drive over. It gives us some small glint of hope for future California roads.


But while the Golden Gate is the grand dame, the Bay is the grandaddy. And it does big business, carrying 280,000 cars in and out of the City every day. If you haven't driven the Bay Bridge, you need to. Twice. Once behind the wheel, and once with a friend behind the wheel so you can just look. Plus, it links the East Bay and the West Bay, which are undoubtedly two of the finest parts of this great nation of ours. The Golden Gate just goes to Marin. The Bay Bridge should be on propaganda leaflets; it's classic Americana: beautiful, utilitarian and slightly fucked up, as practically all the best American things are.

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge [Wikipedia]

East Bound, Burned Down: Coors Truck Goes Up in Smoke on Bay Bridge [Internal]

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