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A bridge from here to there

            The tall, cathedral-like arches of the Golden Gate Bridge loomed ahead as I followed the line of cars in front of me. The day was overcast and traffic was shrouded in fog, draped in the mist blowing in from the bay.

            I was a rolling island. All around me a sea of people were buckled into cars and walking on the sidewalks at the sides of the bridge, but alone in the car, behind the wheel, I was singularly solitary. And that was fine by me.

            There is something about traveling alone that centers the psyche and opens the imagination. It is a rare pleasure.

            There are no distractions; no music, no television, no idle chatter. There is no worry about housework or making dinner or folding laundry. It is a chance to leave behind the matters that worry and distract us.

            For those of us who have spent years, happy years, at the beck and call of a busy family, the idea that we are free to board a plane or a train, that we can slip behind the wheel of a car and simply move away from it all, is exhilarating. The freedom goes to your head when you least expect it.      

It’s not that we want to run away forever. It’s just that time away can be good medicine. The luxury of listening to our own minds refreshes and renews us.

            I love my family. I love my home. I like being with the people who mean the most to me. But now and then, when I can arrange it, I take off on my own. No spas. No workshops. No schedule. Just a dot on the map; a plane, train or automobile, and a place to breathe in the peace and quiet.

            On the surface, age has its cruelties. Gravity takes a toll. The years are etched into our faces. We become invisible, overshadowed by the young and beautiful. We learn to find our way without any of the tricks and trappings we relied on when we were just starting out.

            But, as one eventually discovers, time bring its own grace. We discover that on the inside we are always young; we’re still who we always have been. And the fine sense of adventure that comes with any journey is evergreen. 

            Travel is the bridge between who we are, who we have been, and the person we want to be. A trip to a new place spans the years drawing out memories of where we’ve been and dreams of where we long to go. Each experience is, when you think about it, sweetened by the knowledge that time moves quickly and years have the stronger wings. Fly now, something inside us whispers.

            Passing over the San Francisco Bay and back onto solid ground, I looked back at the Golden Gate in my rearview mirror, at the perfect metaphor for what I was experiencing.

            I know a time will come when I’m bound to my home, or some place meant to be my home, and my wings will be clipped forever.

            Until then, whenever it suits me, my life will be a road from here to there.

Ferry County Rail Trail trestle decked, ready to ride

TRAILS — The Ferry County Rail Trail's Curlew Lake Trestle across the north end of the great fishing lake has been re-decked and is being opened for public use.

Ferry County Rail Trail Partners and the county commissioner’s Rail Corridor Committee will dedicate the bridge at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 at the east end of the trestle.

The Ferry County Rail Trail runs 28.5 miles on an abandoned railway from the U.S.-Canada border to an existing trail at Republic, the county seat. Some portions of the trail are in good condition for mountain biking while some stretches are still rough.  The stretch north from Curlew is especially nice as it follows the Kettle River.

"This project represents the culmination of several years of planning and effort by local, state and federal agencies and volunteers who are working together to improve the Ferry County Rail-Trail," the Rail Trail Partners said in a media release.

Refreshments will be served after the ceremony refreshments followed by a group hike on the trail 2.5 miles to Black’s Beach.

Majority of Washington lawmakers back Columbia River bridge

While touring Spokane on Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee said his withdrawal of plans to seek $450 million in state money for a controversial span over the Columbia River should eliminate the last roadblock to passing a comprehensive transportation package for the state before year's end.

A majority of Washington lawmakers want Oregon to know that doesn't mean they've turned their backs on the project.

A letter to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber sent Wednesday was signed by 75 Washington legislators, including many members of the Senate Democratic caucus that were denied a vote on the bridge project during the Legislature's regular and two special 2013 sessions.

"I’m disappointed our two states aren’t sharing leadership of this project, as we once were,” said Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver. The project would replace existing spans over the Columbia River that have been in operation for more than half a century and are badly in need of repair to alleviate congestion, according to engineers.

Inslee said in an interview with The Spokesman-Review on Wednesday that Kitzhaber is pondering calling a special session of his own to attain authorization for his state to move forward on the project without Washington's assistance. Inslee said the state attorney general has reviewed that option and there is no legal barrier to Oregon connecting its bridge to Washington roads.

The project recently received the go-ahead from the U.S. Coast Guard. The leader of the Oregon Senate indicated Wednesday plans to push a vote on the project to February, according to the Oregonian.

Click here to read the entire letter sent by Washington lawmakers to Kitzhaber.

Charles Goren on SI cover, 10/14/57

www.thejumpingfrog.com

Do you play bridge? Did your parents? Can you imagine the editors at Sports Illustrated considering a cover like this today?

WA shutting down Columbia River bridge office

Inslee says there's no money for the CRC, and no plans right now to get any.

OLYMPIA — The office planning for a new bridge to cross the Columbia River from Vancouver to Portland will be shut down, with no plans to replace the structure, Gov. Jay Inslee said.

"There is no money for work in this bridge," Inslee said Monday. The Legislature failed to pass a transportation package that would have contributed the state's share of the project and without that money, federal funds aren't coming, he said.

September is the deadline for a state decision to join the project with Oregon and the federal government, but as long as the coalition that controls the state Senate opposes the project, there's no reason to call another special session to address that and other new transportation projects and additional road and bridge maintenance that would be funded by a gasoline tax increase, he said.