I could see it from a distance. The red light that meant the bridge was up. Being on the Park Point side of the Aerial Bridge when the roadbed is raised means staying there until the boat passes through. There is no other way off the narrow strip of land that forms the Duluth Harbor.
Most people don’t mind. They know that when going over to Park Point there is a distinct possibility they may need to wait for the bridge in order to return. And today I was solidly in that camp.
I’d chosen to do an easy bike ride instead of a hard workout. It was one of Duluth’s finest days, with sunshine playing off Lake Superior and comfortable warm temperatures. Cycling along the Lakewalk is by definition a leisurely ride, as it is shared by numerous runners, walkers, dogs and tourists, and winter has provided more than a few heaves in the pavement. Besides, it is prime territory for just looking out at the lake.
Cycling down Park Point and back is easy going. It’s flat and straight, with plenty of shoulder. I love looking at the jumbled assortment of houses along the way, from tiny cabin-like homes, to huge modern structures built high enough to see over the dunes to the lake. They are wedged close together and sometimes one in front of the other, all trying to get a piece of the prime beachfront or harbor shoreline. And there always seems so be an abundance of flowers. The area must be a magnet for zealous gardeners.
So approaching the end of the line of cars waiting for the bridge, it was an easy choice to swing onto the pier and just take it all in. It didn’t matter that the bridge was only half way up and that it was the Vista Queen tour boat going under instead of an ore boat of foreign freighter. It was an opportunity to slow down, take a break and have a closer look at what was around me. Like the bridge coming down, right over me. Like the view of the bridge, from below. Like seeing the bridge from the harbor side – how often do we look at it from there? No need to rush back and cycle over when the bridge was back down. After all, I had all the excuses I needed. I’d been bridged.