First on the new bridge

Golden Ears BridgeOn June 15, 2009, just before 11:00 p.m. , I arrived on my motorcycle at the foot of the North East ramp to the Golden Ears bridge. I had heard on the news that the new bridge would would be opening at midnight, and wanted to be among the first people to cross it. Perhaps, I thought, I might actually be the first “motorcycle” to cross the new bridge.

I was a little surprised that nobody else was there, considering the fact that it was the first major bridge to be built in the lower mainland in decades. After a few moments of contemplating where I should park my motorcycle, I eventually decided to park it on top of the chevron markings between the ramp and main highway, so I wouldn’t be blocking the road or the ramp.

It was at least half an hour later before a minivan finally pulled along side me. There was a family of people inside who were really excited at the prospect of being first over the bridge, and were taking lots of pictures. I even took a couple of pictures for them.

A few minutes later, more people started arriving, eagerly awaiting the big opening. A cameraman from Global TV also showed up and began interviewing the people in the van, since he assumed they would be the first over the bridge because of where they were parked.

As time passed on we heard various reports from different people that the bridge opening might be delayed for several hours. A few people decided not to bother waiting anymore and left.

Eventually, I asked the driver of the van if he wouldn’t mind me parking my bike in front of them, in preparation of driving onto the bridge. The driver replied “Of course, after all you were here first.”

At around 2:00 am, a police car stopped in front of the wooden sign barrier, and the policeman got out and removed it. I was getting really excited now, and I just prayed my bike would start, since the battery had been giving me problems lately. This would not have been a good time to try and push start my bike.

Golden Ears Bridge (Bill Keay / Vancouver Sun) [PNG Merlin Archive]Finally, after idling for over 15 minutes, the police car started slowly driving up the ramp. I was so happy to be right behind the police car that was taking us over.

After I arrived on to the main highway heading towards to the bridge itself, I looked over at the slip road on the other side, and noticed the first vehicle up that side was a rider on a Harley (I was NW he was NE). I figured he was also wanting to be the first vehicle, or at least motorcycle to cross the bridge. However, since he had a three quarter circle slip road winding its way to the bridge, he was about 100 feet behind me.

As the bridge got closer, I noticed I still couldn’t see any vehicles coming the other way. It appeared that the ramp I was waiting on was going to be first on to the new bridge. I couldn’t believe my luck. I was actually going to be driving, or in my case riding, the very first vehicle to cross the new bridge!

At that moment of realization, I began to feel guilty that my wanting to have the distinction of being the “first motorcycle”, and now the “first vehicle” over the bridge was an honour I didn’t really deserve. I started to slow down a bit, just as I was crossing the bridge, and beckoned the Harley rider to catch up to me, so we could both share the distinction of being first. A few seconds later he caught up to me, and we both rode over the bridge, side by side. What an unforgettable moment that was!

However, by doing this, the person in the minivan behind me, moved over to the right lane, and pulled in front of me. I was a little surprised at first, but then I thought “Oh well, what the heck”. I think they really wanted the distinction of saying they were the first people to “cross” the bridge.

All in all, I think it worked out pretty well. Now, three different people can claim they were first, in their own way.

I was just hoping to be the first “motorcycle” over the bridge, but I’m happy to share that with the Harley rider. At least I can still say I was the first vehicle “on” the new bridge.


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