Original Beauty of the Twin Bridges

I’ve lived in Jacksonville, Florida, my entire life, and I’ve always known the bridges there to be pretty because of the different colors they’re painted. Every couple of years, the bridge undergoes a makeover for a new fresh coat. I didn’t mind it until I started truck driving. I drove through other cities besides my own, and I see bridges in their original form, and they seem fascinating than the painted dolls back in my city.

Recently I drove across the Twin Bridges (aka The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges) in Kentucky. From a distance, I could see how vintage-like they appeared, and it blew me away. In my imagination, they looked like time portals that would take me back to a different time when I drove across them. The closer I got to the bridges, the more excited I became. It felt like the same feeling I got every year when my mother would drive me across the Dames Pointe Bridge for my birthday.

 

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The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges

 

 

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The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges

 

I couldn’t pull my phone out of my pocket long enough to snap photos of the rustic sister bridges. I love bodies of water too, and I’m sure the scenery of the river running beneath it was just as exciting, but I could care less about that river as long as I got the bridges. I took as many photos as I could as I drove through the bridge. The beauty of original metal and the rust taking over the exterior brought to life a greater love for bridges.

 

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The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges

 

 

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The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges

 

The average lifespan of a bridge is about seventy years, with proper upkeep, most bridges can live well past 100 years. I know that rust is the enemy of metal and that eventually, the city will have to treat the rust if they plan on using this bridge for many years to come. I can’t help but feel sad to know that sometime in the future, these beloved beauties will be coated in bright colors or twinkling lights stripping away their originality. Oh, what a world that will be.

Along the Boardwalk of River City

I could direct you to a million delightful and cozy little parks, restaurants, bars and monuments to visit in Jacksonville, but the one I believe that will steal your heart is Riverside Park. It may not look like much when you arrive, but I can assure you, it has its gems. When you first arrive, it looks like nothing more than an ordinary parking lot beneath a highway next to the St. John’s River. It isn’t until you walk snake through the parked cars, hop down the awkward brick stairs and hobble through all the wooden mulch tossed everywhere you’d be able to understand the nickname “River City.”

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Starting with my feature image, this was taken from a wall that runs along the first part of the boardwalk path that runs all the way around to the Jacksonville Landing and Main St. Bridge. If you sit on the wall, you get one of the best panoramic views of the St. John River. Beneath your feet in both directions are large bolder rocks that serves its purpose to help control erosion but also serves as natural ornament to make the boardwalk look more pro-nature.

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Off the first image, if you are sitting on that  wall, when you look it, the San Juan highway is the first thing you will see. It’s one of the newer highways in Jacksonville, so the concrete still looks fresh and new. The columns are very tall and the acoustics from the hundreds of cars zooming pass adds to slapping waves of the rivers against the rocks beneath your feet.

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After admiring the highway’s columns, off to your left there is the skyline of downtown Jacksonville. From this image, it almost looks as if the city is floating on the river itself. I’m not sure if that was the intent, but it makes for a good story to tell someone who has never been to the city. The boardwalk I spoke earlier will actually take you all the way to that highway that stretches across the image in front of the buildings. The boardwalk is about 1.5-miles and is worth the walk. On the winding path, you’ll get to see a few art pieces planted as tourists attractions.

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As you continue on the boardwalk, you’ll climb a steep hill which will take you above the FEC Strauss Trunnion Bascule Bridge, a drawbridge water railway for trains. The fence overlooking the bridge is coated with “love locks” that couples, friends and family have place to honor their love or friendship. I put one on myself to bring awareness to depression and suicide prevention.

If you are lucky, you’ll be there in time when the bridge comes down and a train passes through. It’s fun watching the train ride above the water towards you until it passes beneath your feet. Be warned that the bridge you stand on is suspended so it bounces whenever someone walks on it past you or when the train’s vibrations rattle its foundation. For thrill seekers, this is right up your alley.

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Half heart, half semicolon to bring attention to suicide awareness.

Lastly, once you’ve walked another half of a mile past more downtown sky scrapers, restaurants and eventually the Jacksonville Landing, you’ll come to my second favorite bridge in Jacksonville, the Main St. Bridge. I have countless images of this bridge and have stood at the top of it plenty of times. It’s structure never ceases to amaze me. It’s fun to watch the draw bridge rise to allow the tall sailboats to sail through.

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If you’re in Jacksonville, check out Riverside Park and walk the entire boardwalk. If you have any energy left, cross over the Main St. bridge and start down the Southbank boardwalk too where you will run into the Friendship Fountain, another of Jacksonville’s gems.

Rivercity Jacksonville

If you ever wondered what it was like to live in Jacksonville, Florida, well, to introduce one part of it, we are called the River City. This is because the infamous St. John’s River passes right through our city on it’s way North. I took a stroll along the Riverside Boardwalk to get the best view of the downtown area.

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FEC Strauss Trunnion Bascule Bridge
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A boat passes through the clearing. 
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Acosta bridge next to the FEC Strauss Trunnion Bascule Bridge
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Wall of love locks

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Beneath the Acosta Bridge
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Riverside Boardwalk
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Hart Bridge in the further distance (green).

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Downtown Jacksonville on a clear sky can be quite beautiful with all it’s architectural designs of bridges, railway tracks, and highway pillars.

The Secluded View at the Dames Point Park

After a crazy week, I figured it was time for a little go away trip for the day. I had photography project I wanted to get on board with so I decided to take myself to one of my favorite parks, the Dames Point Park. It is named after Jacksonville’s infamous and beloved suspension bridge, the Dames Point.

Ever since I was little, every year I begged my mother to drive me across the Dames Point for my birthday, and she did. There was no feeling like seeing it coming in the distance and your heart pounds with excitement. You feel yourself stop breathing as the cables wash over your car and recede into the rearview. The view at the peak of the bridge is the cargo shipyard. Massive ships docked and settled ready for launch.

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There is a park beneath the bridge which has turned into a memorial ground for the victims of the El Fargo tragedy back in 2015 when a cargo ship capsized after traveling in waters stirred up by a hurricane.

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The park is simple with benches and a picnic area and a great view of the beautiful bridge towering over you. If you’re lucky, you can catch cargo ships coming into port and leaving. Unfortunately, the bridge used for a better view and fishing has been damaged by Hurricane Irma. It could be a while before it will be repaired due to inspections and such.

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To get to the Dames Point park can see a little tricky. The GPS will lead you to a road that is permanently closed. It is best to keep doing down the road until you get to a three-way stop and turn right. It’s a winding road but it’s a direct route into the actual park. It’s hidden location makes for a peaceful and secluded resting area to clear your head or like me, work on my watercoloring. 🙂