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Gimme Shelter Newsletters

New Book Coming
Kayaking
Raptors
Spring

Truck Rollover, Blogging, Priorities,
Getting Stronger, Greed,
British Columbia,
Yurt Book

SE Asia Miscellany,
Together Builder.
Tiny Houses.
Butterfly Poster.
Organic Sweetener.
Fleetwood Mac Blues.
Killer Bees,
Satellite Maps.
Travel Shirts,
Canon Camera,
Email Tyranny,
Hunter Thompson

Recap of Trip to SE Asia

Builders, Allen's Hillside Homestead, Good Poetry, Digital Photography, Bird and Mushroom Books

A Trip to Telluride, Colorado

Beach Caves, A Trip Up the Coast, Busted at Sea Ranch, and Patti Smith at the Fillmore

Shop Talk on Putting HOME WORK Together

Trip to Frankfort, the Cologne Cathedral, and the Adriatic Coast of Italy

Road Nomads, Barn Builders, Hot Springs and Skateboarders

Sherm and the
3-Legged Dog


New York Times Interview of Lloyd

Top o' the Bridge, Ma...

City Scooters

Skateboarding (for the older crowd)

Kayaking Into San Francisco

Destroyers Wreck Fillmore

On the Road

Grab Bag

Baja California

West Coast Publishing

Painted Streets

Chubasco en Baja

One of the Great Cities of the World (San Francisco)

Prague and Southern Bohemia

Brandy from the Summer of Love

Want to Walk Across the Bridge?

Dropping Butter on Queen Victoria’s Head

Log Cabin in the Park

Merle and the Band

Quotes of the Times

Shelter Publications’ World Headquarters

Want to Walk Across the Bridge?
by Lloyd M. Kahn Sr.

OK, OK, it’s not one of MY trips, but it’s a story my Dad told us as kids and he wrote up in 1987 for the insurance industry’s Underwriters’ Report.
–Lloyd Kahn

It was a little over 50 years ago. The Golden Gate Bridge was nearing completion and the first lane of the roadway had just been paved.

Bert Crowley, chief inspector of the San Francisco Board of Health, had been assigned to work with the superintendent of first aid during bridge construction.

“Be The First”

Bert phoned his two fishing buddies, Frank Beale and me to ask if we’d like to be among the first, if not the first pedestrians to walk across the bridge.

Would we? Can a monkey climb a tree? Eagerly we accepted.

The next morning we climbed the stairs inside the south tower and met Bert at the roadway at the appointed hour.

His greeting was discouraging. The paving was still too fresh to permit any travel, but he said that if we cared to tackle it, we could walk across the bridge on the planks.

The planks? These were the boards used by bridge workers to traverse the span before the paving was laid. They were 16" wide, laid end-to-end with about the same amount of space in between rows.

“Sure, let’s go,” we both said, admitting to each other in later years that we’d really wanted to call the whole thing off and go back down the stairs. For a few fleeting moments I thought about crawling across on my hands and knees.

Off we went, I don’t remember the color of the sky that day and we didn’t appreciate the view. Adding to our pleasure a plank would bounce up and down every now and then. We certainly did no ballet dancing.

The water was supposed to be 400 feet below. It looked more like a mile. And the safety net looked to be as far down as the water.

Somehow we made it to the Marin tower, after what seemed like 10 miles of slow travel.

Bert took one look at us and said, “You guys look like you need a drink,” whereupon he took us to the hospital at the base of the tower and poured us each a generous portion of straight bourbon.

After a few minutes rest he took us to the elevator which was suspended on the outside of the tower. It was made of heavy gauge wire (all 4 sides), so it was an open air ride to the beams at the top of the tower. From there we climbed a temporary stairway to the tip top of the bridge where the blinking light now flashes. For some mysterious reason we were no longer scared.

Then back to the road level where we said “thanks and goodbye” to Bert .

The return trip? No problem. Now we were fortified and practically danced all the way back to San Francisco.