With our iced coffees in the cup holders and new mix CDs leading the way, we hit the freeway out of the valley before the late-summer heat burned through the morning chill. We made our way onto 205, through the windmills of the Altamont Pass and came out in the bay, with all of its bustling new construction, traffic and hilltop mansions.
I’d been talking about walking across the Golden Gate Bridge for years. And somehow, in one of our crazy conversations that people say they want to record because they would make the most amazing Twitter fodder, my friend Paco and I made plans to make the trek.
We first drove across the massive bridge that drifts above the Pacific Ocean, and parked in the lot farthest from the city. The early morning haze was still thick, but the lot was already full of people lining the lookout areas posing for group photos and selfies.
The bridge, though, was nearly empty. And that made us very happy. We took our time, hanging our heads over the ledge to look at ripples and seagulls diving in for breakfast. We walked partly with our heads tilted up in wonder at the iconic orange towers that help keep the structure in place. Everything was bigger than I expected. More intense. More technical.
It was loud.
The cars continued to zoom by because it is still the freeway, you realize. Looking into oncoming traffic, there is this strange feeling of being exposed and a little vulnerable between cables and cars and the cold, deep channel below.
I started to tune out the noise part way through, and Paco and I talked about all the runners and obvious tourists who brushed past us on the way and all of the random things we always end up talking about.
By the time we reached the other side, the pathway was crowded with people, and we were glad we made it out early enough to have the bridge largely to ourselves at first. We took in more people watching in the Bridge Pavilion and drank spiced chai and shopped before heading back over.