Monday, March 8, 2010
Because I Can!
It was a group walk organized by Alan Albin who put together a Facebook group called "We Walked the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge and Survived." They gather once a month for a walk across the bridge and anyone is invited to join in the walk.
The walk is not for the squeamish. It's not far, 2.5 miles round trip, and the grade is not as steep as I thought it would be. The walk is on a single-file sidewalk that is separated from three lanes of traffic by a concrete barrier that's about 30 inches tall. Traffic speeds by at better than the posted speed of 55 miles per hour. You can feel the rush of wind when 18 wheelers flash past. And, many of the drivers who pass feel the need to honk their horns. I was startled when the first few honked, after that I just ignored it. On the outside, walkers are separated from a 138 feet drop into the ship channel by the bridge's railing, a pipe-like construction which looks like a large handrail and a few smaller pipes each set about 12 inches apart. The wind comes through the railings and when it hits the concrete wall a huge updraft is created. As you approach the top of the bridge, the wind picks up significantly.
If you know anything about Corpus Christi, you know that it's windy. When I looked it up I was surprised to learn that we are not among the top 10 windiest cities in the United States. Yesterday's sustained wind speed was 22 miles per hour, the highest gusts were recorded at 29 mph. To say it was windy is an understatement. Walking in that wind was quite a beating. I'm paying for it today with allergic reactions in my eyes.
The question that people keep asking is "Why did you want to walk across the bridge?" I'm sure every one of the 15 or so people who walked with us yesterday have their own reasons. For me there are several answers to that question. I've been fascinated (obsessed) with the Harbor Bridge since I was a kid and my parents would drive over the bridge and back just to see the view. The sight of the lights of the city spread before us was captivating. I've always thought it would be great to be able to stop and look around. There's not enough time to see everything when you speed by at 55+ miles an hour. As I made the walk yesterday I thought about my Dad and how much he loved that view.
Another reason is that Grandad and Grams have committed to getting out of the house and into our community. Since our kids left home we've become too reclusive. We don't get out and do the things we used to do. And even though Grandad couldn't join this walk, it was a chance to get out and experience something uniquely "Corpus Christian."
But the real reason I made the walk across the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge is because I can! I walked it to challenge myself to keep on living this new active life that is a gift. I walked it to make up for all the years I sat and watched other people do active things. Just like climbing Enchanted Rock was a milestone for me, walking the Harbor Bridge was a celebration of my new healthy life. So, yes, Grams walked the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge and survived. But Grams isn't just surviving, Grams is thriving!
What's next? I've already told my son that he has to join in the next adventure. We're on the lookout for othe next challenge. Watch this space for future developments.