Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Renslow Revisited

The big black trestle, the one that spans I90 just east of Kititas and Ellensburg. Or the one that sits close to the top of Ryegrass summit on the way up from the I90 crossing of the Columbia River at Vantage. It has a name you know. Its name is Renslow.

If you take a few minutes and get off the interstate you can drive up the old two-lane highway that parallels the interstate through this part of Washington and go visit the old girl. I think the old two-lane might be a remnant of US 10, but I'm not sure.

Renslow trestle still sits just where she has for a long long time, back all the way to when The Milwaukee draped electrical wire along its Rocky Mountain and Cascade crossings and proclaimed itself as being "Electrified to the Coast." A ticket purchased in Seattle would loft eastbound travelers up and over the Cascades, out into the Kititas valley, and over Renslow Trestle on their way to the Rockies and the plains that lay beyond them.

Today she remains as more of a question than anything else. Many travel beneath the huge black structure and wonder about it. Those who identify it as a railroad bridge even wonder why they never see a train on it. I always marveled at it as a young kid traveling beneath it's great height, and guessed that it was abandoned. I'm not sure why I came to that conclusion, but it was true, even back in the early 80's. She's been abandoned since The Milwauke Road pulled out in 1980 and left landmarks like Renslow behind to stand and exist as a lasting question, 'why?'.

Renslow, WA. More questions than answers here.