Saturday, July 12, 2014

Norther We Go ~ June 16th-17th, 2014

June 16thSunrise at the Adobe Resort on departure day. After breakfast our first stop is the Tanger Outlet Mall in Lincoln City. Promised Rod a couple of pairs of new shoes if he waited until we got to sales tax free Oregon. Just wandering around the mall we logged a mile, who knew window shopping had benefits. After lunch we head north.

The journey to Seaside is a poet's dream: Beachside and countryside, farms and ranches, oysters to world class cheese, tall forests, old barns, small towns, aging storefronts, and narrow roads.  

We roll in about 4 pm and settle in at the Best Western Ocean View for a couple of days: open windows let in the ocean's vibrations. Rod's nephew Emmett is in the National Guard stationed in Astoria. It's been a couple of years since we last crossed paths so we were delighted he could join us for dinner and a stroll along the Promenade.

I love the way Seaside is designed. Almost all of the town streets end at the Promenade, a 2.6 mile walkway running parallel to the beach. You can explore hotels, shops, restaurants and other points of interest without needing a car and many street corners have these gorgeous small gardens. 

Does anyone know what this is?

View from our 3rd floor window
My favorite house on the Promenade

June 17thToday we're off to explore the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria and Fort Stevens. First stop is the Museum for fascinating look at the history of the area. The website is

Astoria is at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River. Where the forces of the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean meet is one of the most dangerous bar crossings on the planet. Unlike other major rivers, the current is focused like a fire hose without benefit of a river delta. Conditions can change from calm to life threatening within minutes. Waves can exceed 40 feet in height during the most severe winter storms. Since 1792 approximately 2,000 large ships have gone down in the ocean and the river. It's no wonder the Columbia is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific

The US Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, on the Washington side of the river, is renowned for operating in some of the roughest sea conditions in the world.  It is also home to the National Motor Lifeboat School, the only school for rough weather and surf rescue operations in the US. 

A stroll downtown to have lunch led to the discovery of the T. Paul's Urban Cafe. Rod voted their clam chowder as the best on the coast. 

"Where the Renaissance began in the year 2000"

Next stop the Columbia River South Jetty at Fort Stevens. Construction of the South Jetty, by the Corps of Engineers, started in 1886 and took decades to complete. It stretches across Jetty Lagoon, also called Trestle Bay, from Pt. Adams towards the Columbia Bar. Wooden trestles carried the trains used in the jetty construction. 

There is quite a view up and down the coast from this platform.

Walking south on the jetty from the tower 
you can still see remains of the train trestle 

Trestle across Clatsop Spit toward beach

 Boulders were hauled by train to build the 6.5 mile jetty 
which is about 50' wide and 20' tall. 

Today has been quite an education but we're not done yet. Next stop is the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale at Fort Steven's Cannon Beach. The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel bark built in Maryport, England in 1890, constructed of steel plates over iron frames, with steel masts, and a partial iron deck. She was an example of technology in transition before wooden sail powered vessels were replaced by all metal steamships.

On September 26, 1890 the 278' Peter Iredale left Salina Cruz, Mexico bound for Portland to pick up a cargo of wheat for the United Kingdom. It managed to safely reach the mouth of the Columbia the morning of October 25th. The captain, H. Lawrence, later recalled, as they waited for the bar pilot "a heavy southeast wind blew and a strong current prevailed. Before the vessel could be veered around, she was in the breakers and all efforts to keep her off were unavailing." She went aground at Clatsop Beach, hitting so hard three of her steel masts snapped from the impact. 

The life saving station at Pt. Adams sent a team to rescue the 27 crewmen and 2 stowaways. William Inman, one of the lifesavers who helped Captain Lawrence ashore, remembered the red-bearded captain stood stiffly at attention, saluted his ship and said "May God bless you and may your bones bleach in the sands". He then turned and addressed his men with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. "Boys" he said "have a drink." The weather, wind and current were blamed for the stranding and the captain and his crew were "in no wise to blame". 

October 25, 1906
June 17, 2014

What remains of one of the four masts. 

Another great day of exploration and education. We probably logged another 4 miles of walking and had worked up an appetite by the time dinner rolled around. I need to share an observation here. Restaurants in the state of Oregon are still in "lumberjack mode" when it comes to meal portions, almost always served on a platter, rarely a plate. We have been splitting breakfasts and dinners all along the way and find there is still too much. One of the perks of traveling in our motorhome was that we had a kitchen and could re-purpose leftovers into yet another meal. Something to ponder for the future.