Friday, June 17, 2011

Golden Gate Bridge

I woke up today and decided I would walk across the Golden Gate Bridge with the dogs as it was such a nice day. Ive been in the US 19 months now and have so far only driven across the bridge.
So I was getting ready to leave and suddenly thought I had best check online to see if dogs are allowed on the bridge - I didn't want to get into trouble.
Went on the main Golden Gate Bridge website and it clearly states no dogs allowed (unless service dogs), so I was very disappointed, but the other day I had been chatting with a fellow dog owner and she said she believed dogs were allowed on the bridge, so I did a quick google search, and found various sites saying dogs were allowed. I eventually decided to call the tourist info number on the actual GGB website, where I spoke to a very nice lady who said yes I could take my dogs on the bridge as long as they were on leash - hooray. So off we went.
This is definitely not the place to go if you want to avoid tourists, and not just a few tourists, there were a lot of them. Luckily didn't take long to find a parking spot and I paid my $2 for 2 hours of parking at the meter and we started our walk across the bridge.

Took us about 45 mins to walk across the bridge, I'm sure you can walk it much faster if you don't have two dogs with you. It was also extremely windy, and Jess was a bit freaked out by the vibrations on the bridge from the traffic. So it was more of a leisurely stroll, plus we stopped to take photos. I think the dogs were confused by the water and wondering where the beach was.
A few sad facts for those of you who didn't know.  Taken from wikipedia.
More people commit suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge than at any other site in the world. After a fall of approximately four seconds, jumpers hit the water at some 76 miles per hour (122 km/h). Most jumpers die from impact trauma on contact with the water. The few who survive the initial impact generally drown or die of hypothermia in the cold water.  The deck is approximately 245 feet (75 m) above the water.
They have installed counselling phones on the bridge but not sure how effective these are.
So we started our 1.7 mile walk back to San Francisco and after about 5 mins we were stopped by a very nice GGB security officer on a bike, who told me he was stopping me as I wasn't allowed dogs on the bridge. I told him I had spoken to someone on the tourist phone line who said I was allowed, he told me it had recently changed and they may not have been informed. I then told him my car was on the SF side, so he said it was fine for me to continue walking back to my car. I asked him for the reason why, and he said it was for two reasons, the first being that some dog owners don't clear up after their dogs - which makes me really mad, as it is the few irresponsible owners that spoil it for us responsible owners. He also said that it was unsafe for dogs due to the high volume of pedestrian and bike traffic on the bridge, walking back I totally agreed with him, I noticed that all the tourists on bikes were so busy taking photos they weren't paying attention to where they were going, and the serious cyclists were just dodging around the pedestrians. I was certainly glad to get the dogs off the bridge as it was very chaotic, and we were constantly having to stop as people were walking straight into us and not paying attention. I imagine it is much worse at the weekends.

It was a lovely walk across the bridge and I'm glad I have done it, I would certainly do it again (but without the dogs next time).

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