Our days living in Chicago included a lot of bridge raising experiences. The bascule bridges along the Chicago River were a constant source of interest to me and, despite seeing them raise regularly during the spring and fall boat runs, I never got bored of it. There are a bunch of bascule bridges in the Seattle area too. One of the older ones is the bridge across the Montlake Cut near the University of Washington.
I took a bike ride that cross Lake Washington on the 520 bridge and that then turned up to the university and across the Cut. Just as I started across the bridge, the warning tones started. I was already heading across so didn’t stop but, once on the other side, I did pause to watch the bridge open. It took me right back to my Chicago days. I didn’t wait for it to lower again because I wanted to keep going on my ride but a fun thing to see again. I imagine the traffic backups make the bridge openings a little less popular with motorists and I suspect I would have been a bit miffed if I had been a few seconds later! I hope they turn the power off for the wires!
The races at the rowing meet I covered in this post tend to overlap from what we saw. The length of the course and the time to complete it is such that the next race was started before the last was finished. Consequently, there is not a way for the crews to return up the cut as the next boats are heading towards them. Apparently, they all wait in the next bay. Then, when it is clear, they all row back up together. The cut was full of crews rowing back to take their boats out of the water. It made for an impressive sight!
It was purely by coincidence that we happened to be at UW when a rowing meet was taking place. We had read much about UW rowing in The Boys in the Boat (well worth a read if you have the opportunity) and were planning on walking down to the Cut to see the Shell House but there were plenty of boats and crews in the parking lot when we came through. We actually got there almost at the end of the meet. I guess they row early to get the calmest conditions?
A few final races came through as we walked along the cut. The crews were working hard but still had some way to go when they came past us. By that distance, the strongest crews were showing themselves clearly. We watched them disappear up the cut and towards the finish line. As the last race past by, you could see the course boats start to disperse so we knew it was done. What we didn’t know was that we would get a nice finale. That will be another post.