The Last Bridge

Sometimes everything just falls into place.

Like the other day i was coming home on the Lynch Creek Trail and about to cross the bridge over the creek at its mouth when for some reason i took another look at this little narrow trail that heads off to the northwest toward the river.

east bank trail, Petaluma River


The fields have dried out now, so even though the trail is not fully Segway friendly, i thought, why not?  Turned out it was rather interesting to roll along paralleling the east bank of the river past hideouts where folks have nested.

east bank trail, Petaluma River


Best hideout.

east bank trail hideout, Petaluma River


And down inside.

east bank trail hideout, Petaluma River


Another hideout.

east bank trail hideout, Petaluma River


And various trails doubtless leading to other hideouts.



Rather scenic and all that.

east bank trail, Petaluma River


Detail shot.

east bank trail, Petaluma River


More trail.

east bank Petaluma River trail


And then, wow! What’s that ahead? I’ve snuck up from the east on that NWP railroad bridge that i’d been whining about being the only bridge over the Petaluma that i’d not photographed.  Got closer and a SMART train whizzed past.  In all its glory.  Well, part of its glory.  If the damn thing had just whistled to herald its approach, i could have had the camera ready and got the rest of it.

SMART train on the NWP bridge over the Petaluma River


Moving closer to the bridge.

northernmost NWP bridge over the Petaluma River


And now, beneath the bridge.  There’s water here but it doesn’t really seem to be flowing, so i’ve either hit absolute high tide or i’m looking at a pool.  In any case, this does seem to be the point at which the estuary portion of the river ends.

northernmost NWP bridge over the Petaluma River


The bridge from the north side.

northernmost NWP bridge over the Petaluma River


What a wonderful excursion it was, to finally have bagged the last remaining bridge so that i could call The Bridges of the Petaluma complete.

Well, until i got home and downloaded the pics i’d taken and realized i needed better ones.

So i went back a couple of days later in the afternoon to get more pics, and the plot thickened.  Just as i got about twenty yards from the bridge, i spotted a couple of young women sitting in a glade and stopped to talk with them.  Sure am glad i did because you sure do meet interesting people off the beaten path.  After they learned i was a bridge fan, one mentioned that a bit farther on there was another bridge, much smaller and harder to spot.

So of course i pressed on eagerly, following the east bank of the river as it abruptly curved around to the right and then suddenly, there was the other bridge!

other bridge


Oh fantastic, i’ve discovered and photographed a bridge over the Petaluma that i’d neither seen on any map nor read any indication anywhere of its existence, which makes my coverage of the Petaluma River bridges even better since mine will be the only documentation on the internet of this last bridge. C’est moi, c’est moi!

I was shocked when i rode out on it and saw that the river had dwindled to little more than a small creek and almost dry at that.  Well, yes, our rains have stopped but i would have expected there’d still be some drainage.  But i thought no more about that when i got to the end of the bridge and looked ahead across the field and saw that the trail continued, although much less traveled.  Then i realized that that speck on the horizon was the back end of the Factory Outlet complex and that i could have an interesting circular excursion by just following the trail to the outlets and then cutting back home along Petaluma Boulevard North.

trail toward the factory outlets


Alas, when i got up to the outlets i encountered a very substantial fence with a stout, securely locked gate.  Bummer.  So i returned home with the consolation prize of the day’s additional photos and the discovery of a new bridge over the river.

It was only when i was sitting here writing about the adventure that it dawned on me that the young woman had not, in fact, told me that the second bridge was also over the Petaluma River but that i’d just jumped to this conclusion.  Nor had it occurred to me that if the bridge had been over the Petaluma, i’d have been on the west bank of the river after i crossed it even though i was fully aware that the Factory Outlet mall was on the east bank.  Nor that since the river is down in a considerable ravine both at the railroad bridge south of this second bridge and at the bridge leading to the Factory Outlet mall north of here, the ravine at this point couldn’t possibly be so much shallower.  Grrrrr.

See, when i thought the riverbank took a sharp bend to the east shortly north of the railroad bridge, it was not the river bending but rather a little creek emptying into the river with trees along its bank, too.  The creek roughly parallels the railroad tracks and cuts under CA-101 alongside them.  So the second bridge is over that creek rather than the river.

Also, the trail continues alongside the creek but ends abruptly at 101.  Bicyclists and pedestrians, of course, can go along NWP’s roadbed under there, but not a Segway.

trail toward 101 paralleling railroad tracks


Nor can the Segway cross the Petaluma on the NWP bridge, so all this exploring, as much fun as it was, effectively led to nothing but a good laugh at myself and dead ends for a Segway.  There is no Northwest Passage.

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  1. Sharon
    Posted 3 May 2016 at 12:13 | Permalink

    I love this post. That is all.

    • Posted 3 May 2016 at 14:05 | Permalink

      The post basks in your love.

      And i sure did have fun discovering a route to a vantage from which i could photograph that railroad bridge, not to mention sitting there laughing at myself for thinking for a couple of hours that the little mystery bridge was an undocumented crossing of the Petaluma River. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

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