Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bridge Over Rushing Water

It feels like just last week I was lamenting yet another snowfall...wondering when we would finally break free from winter's death grip. And now the summer solstice is in the rear view mirror. Summer always goes too fast. Well, except when we lived in Georgia during one of the hottest summers on record. And I was 9 months pregnant. Yeah, that was brutal and endless.

We've got our pool passes, a recipe for homemade bubbles, evidence of liquid color chalk on the driveway, Blue's very first camping trip under our belt and a growing garden of mint, basil, and rosemary. Summer is here. When the weather first started to warm around Easter, we walked the Big Four Bridge in Louisville. This was on the heels of some gang activity that had spilled over into downtown Louisville from west Louisville. I guess during one of the first warm Saturday nights back in April, a group of about 200 teens ran amok through downtown Louisville, beating up and robbing residents and committing other violent crimes (and somehow eluding the LMPD for almost a week). Further complicating the political ramifications of 14-year old thugs invoking fear in residents and tourists, this all began about 4 weeks before the Kentucky Derby and about a week before Thunder Over Louisville, which is considered the "kick-off" to Derby month. So, the police presence around the Big Four Bridge was more conspicuous. We walked over and back without incident, but it was the middle of the day and Neal can pull the drill sergeant scary face when needed. I wouldn't go with Blue by myself and even though the bridge is open 24 hours a day, I wouldn't go after dusk. After all, it's free and just a bus ride away from some bored and unsupervised teens just a few neighborhoods over.

The Big Four Bridge
It's a former railroad bridge that spans the Ohio River and connects Kentucky to Indiana. It was completed in 1895 and updated in 1929. It gets its name from the defunct Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad, which was nicknamed the "Big Four Railroad". The entire bridge has been converted into a pedestrian and bicycle path. The ramps leading up to the bridge on either side are 1/4 mile and the length of the bridge is 1/2 mile, making it a total of 2 miles, round trip. The Indiana side just recently opened after several postponements (with many Indiana residents insinuating that the delays were a result of concern over the crime on our side). It had not yet opened when walked it so our round trip was just a little under 2 miles, which took about an hour at a leisurely pace. No dogs, scooters, skateboards or inline skates are allowed, but you can have strollers, wheelchairs and personal mobility devices.

There are speakers mounted at intervals across the bridge and symphony music was playing the day we were there. And then there was this fella playing his guitar/harmonica for spare change. Y'know I have a soft spot for the sound of a soulful harmonica.
 What's a stroll across the Ohio River without a coal sighting? Friends of coal, yes we are (for non-residents, that's a bumper sticker you can purchase. Also a slogan that's available on a license plate. We are probably not leading the nation in solar energy).

 I wonder if Mike Rowe has done that guy's job for the day? Tug captain? Has to be better than king crab fisherman.
 Pushing on up the Ohio. Time to light somebody's fire....
 Lots of families, couples, and runners with a cyclist or 2 racing by.

 Downtown Louisville obstructed by, I think, the Kennedy Bridge, which is perpetually under construction.
 A view of riverfront Jeffersonville, Indiana from the bridge. Why did the Millers cross the bridge? To almost get to Indiana...

 The view of the surrounding park from the bridge. The park closes at 11, which begs the question...how does one access the 24 hour bridge if the park is closed? Maybe bridge camping will become a thing.
 Share the road...er...BRIDGE, baby.
 Downtown Louisville skyline, which is slowly growing on me. And I'm a native Kentuckian...

Definitely worth the walk. Just go during the day, look like you know what you're doing, make sure your cell phone is fully charged, and maybe leave your wad of Geo Washingtons at the house.


  1. What gorgeous views! It's always fun to see stuff from "above" - a real perspective changer. Having the same sorts of kid-problems here - I think it's part of summer any more. and, not a good part.

  2. This is awesome! We have a small, former railroad bridge here in AL they are working on getting it to go across the Tennessee River for walkers (it's currently cut off half way across the river) - it's where Mike and I got engaged, I'd hate to have that marker cut into but might be cool to have a bridge like this to walk across whenever we wanted. The large bridge you drive on, doesn't allow room to walk on it.

    PS I've got a Dirty Job for Mike Rowe ;)


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