The Golden Gate bridge is perhaps the most famous bridge in the world. It is famous for its size,
location, and color. It is nearly 9,000 feet long, and above water its towers are 740 feet tall. Its unique color
is officially known as "orange vermillion." Thousands of ships sail under it every year, and believe it
or not, the U.S. Navy originally wanted it to be painted black and yellow so it would be easy to see.
People often think the Golden Gate Bridge is named after the color of its paint. In actuality,
the bridge in named for the color of the water in the bay. On a clear day, when the sun sets at
dusk, the water turns from blue to gold, due to light from the sun reflecting off the water.
When this happens, the entire inlet, or "gate"of water, becomes golden.
The bay is not always golden. San Francisco has large amounts of fog, especially in summer. Fog is like
a cloud close to the ground. When warm air blows over cold water, it tends to create fog, so when the warm California air meets the cold Pacific ocean fog is formed, and the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge disappears!
Because of the fog, rain, and moisture from the water, the bridge collects a lot of rust. Rust is the red stuff
that collects on metal after being exposed to moisture, or water. So in order to protect the bridge from rust, it is continually being painted. It is rumored that the bridge is being painted 365 days a year. As soon as they
finish painting it, they immediately start all over again.
San Francisco Bay has three tall bridges: the Golden Gate, its most famous bridge, the Richmond Bridge,
its longest, and the Bay Bridge, its busiest. The Bay Bridge connects the large cities of Oakland on the
East Bay and San Francisco on the west. Because the bridge is between two major cities, it is almost
always busy and the traffic is often bad.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a beautiful bridge to look at, but the Bay Bridge is a beautiful bridge to look
from. At night, the tall buildings of San Francisco are all lit up and bright, and from the Bay Bridge, the city
is a truly beautiful thing to see.