Fog started our day of retracing the route of the Corps of Discovery’s search for the Pacific Ocean at the end of the Columbia River.
Dismal Niche as viewed from a very pleasant rest area. It is hard to understand why they couldn’t just row around that end when the breeze is pleasant, the sun is warm, and the shoreline cleaned up to accommodate a nice paved road. We can relate a little bit. As we were crossing that bridge, the wind tried to push us off—bike and all.
After the storm let the Corp out of the cove, they established Station Camp just the other side of the bridge (same side of the river). From here they saw the Pacific Ocean where the Columbia finally ended. This was exciting for us, too, as we witnessed the Columbia as a streamlet of meltwater from the Columbia Glacier in Canada, and crossed it halfway across Washington on I90, and joined again at its end.
The river was named in 1792 by Captain John Gray. He named it after his ship.
While here the Corp explored the coast then decided to spend the winter across the river while they mended old clothing and made new clothing, made salt, and caught up their journals.
Station Camp today. It was a Chinook Indian village, usurped for the Corp camp, and became a white people village. All that’s left is the church, where Sunday services are still held.
At one time the Chinooks were known as the Flathead Indians for their practice of, well, flattening their heads!
The Meglor-Astoria Bridge, built in 1966 took us from Washington across the Columbia to Astoria Oregon. When John Jacob Astor established his Pacific Fur Company here in 1811, Fort Astor, later Astoria, became the first permanent US settlement on the Pacific Coast. It also established the first US Post Office west of the Rocky Mountains. Its deepwater port importance was usurped by ports at Vancouver and Portland Oregon, but with the building of the bridge, Astoria has reestablished itself as a thriving city. Its historical importance and new microbrewery/pubs are attracting visitors.
Astoria sprawls over a large hill between the Columbia and the Young River Bay.
We had a dual purpose for coming here. One was to scope out US 101, the route we will be taking south Sunday on the next leg of our Pacific coast tour. (Yes we will be dragging our house 4.5 miles across the Columbia and up that big grade on the bridge.) The other was to visit the last place the Corp stayed before heading back across country to personally report to President Jefferson. To do that we had to cross the Youngs River Bay on this draw bridge and causeway to access Fort Clatsop.
Fort Clatsop National Park offers a replica of Fort Clatsop, as well as living history programs, ranger led programs, an exhibit hall, orientation films, and trails through the beautiful forests, one 6.5 miles to the ocean and one to the Netul River (now the Lewis and Clark River) where the Corp landed to begin explorations of the area for the best place to build their winter home.
We visited a lot of log houses but have never seen a simple hearth like the ones in these cabins. There is no chimney. The wooden part goes through the roof and the draft pulls any smoke up and outside.
Inside the Visitor’s Center we found a book store/gift shop, theater, and very interesting displays.
I really admired the detail on this sculpture: the curly hair of the dog, the fringe on the buckskin jackets,
the Indian’s conical hat and the muscles in his leg.
From the Fort we rode back to Astoria in search of fast food other than Taco Bell (Duane hates it) and Dairy Queen (I hate it). We toured the road along the Youngs River Bay, rode over the hill and portside along the Columbia. We finally found a McDonalds just below the big bridge.
We enjoyed our riding tour of Astoria. It reminded me a lot of San Francisco.
Returning to Washington gave us a better view of the jut of land the Corp could not get around during their six day storm. Dismal Niche is just around the bend to the right of the bridge.
To round out the day we decided to try some local cuisine, which meant Pacific seafood. In Long Beach we found this restaurant.
Inside you get a menu, find a seat, decide what you want, then go to the counter to order. We decided on bowls of clam chowder, and a 3-piece halibut and fries basket. The soup came in paper bowls but we did get two stainless soup spoons and one fork. We also got ice water. Total cost—$40! Ouch!
Back at the rv park, we decided on an after dinner walk along a deep sand track that led about 1/4 mile from the park to the ocean. We were surprised to find a black sand beach. The water was cold, but not as cold as the glacial meltwater rivers in Canada.
Fog on the Columbia began our day, fog on the Pacific ended it.
Chores tomorrow, but I’m sure we’ll find something interesting to do too.
Louise and Duane