Sunday, June 10, 2018

Always Learning Something New

Sometimes I feel like we are on a "home schooler" RV adventure. Although we aren't fanatical history buffs, we have visited many sites that help tell the story of our country. We started Tuesday with a walk through the Fort Stevens escarpment and fortifications.

They were originally built during the Civil War. Who would have thought protecting the Columbia River would be a priority? Eventually they were decommissioned, but then brought back in service in the 1940s. I knew Japan was a threat, but I never knew that a Japanese submarine actually shelled this fort. No damage, no casualties, no return fire because the sub stayed out of range of the fort's 19th-century cannons.

I never knew foxglove, also know as digitalis, is not native to North America. It is an "escapee" from cultivated gardens. It seems to do well on the Oregon coast. Quite pretty.

Next we went out to the South Jetty, where a long rock breakwater helps control the sandbar shifting. It is on the south side of the river, but is also as far north as you can go in Oregon.

Just another wonderful view of the Oregon Coast
On Wednesday, we went over to the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Park. It is the site where they turned their quest around at the mouth of the Columbia River. In our casual search for history, we have seen several places on their journey including the Great Falls in Montana and the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. 

It is where they built a small log fort so they could stay for the winter. Visiting this site filled out our knowledge of their outbound journey. They still had to return.

After seeing the park "movie" and looking at the displays in the Visitor's Center, we took a walk towards the Netul River (also called the Lewis and Clark River).

Part of the walk was across a bridge that went over a rather muddy stream. I noticed these tracks, and couldn't decide what had made them. 

Later, after checking some Google images, I decided they were Canadian Goose tracks.

Speaking of things that one sees, but doesn't quite understand, we wondered about these rotting wood pilings in the river. If they were along a docking area one might assume they were from old piers, or from buildings that were no longer there. But these were in the water far from any dock area, either old or new.

Just as I was wondering about them, we came to a National Park information sign that explained they were used to sort the logs from upriver and then create the log rafts that were floated out to waiting ships.

Our day continued with a stop at one of Astoria's landmarks, the Astoria Tower. Yes, we did climb the 164 steps to the top, and since it was a clear afternoon, we were able to enjoy the fantastic views of the river and surrounding countryside.

After a stop down on the waterfront for a cone at the "Frite and Scoop", a highly recommended ice cream shop, we took the roundtrip ride on the Trolly. It took about an hour, is operated by volunteers, and cost $1 each. The conductor and motorman took turns talking about the history of Astoria and the places we could see. The car itself brought back memories of when I was a child and rode the streetcar in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you are ever in Astoria, it is a pleasant way to spend an hour and you will learn some new things.

Finally, as the day ended, it was time for the main event: The NBA playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavilers. 

We could have watched it at the coach on our computer, but decided to go to a local sports bar, Bubba's in Warington. Both the burger and the wings were pretty good, and we had a good table for watching the big screen. (Actually most people at the bar were watching Seattle Mariners baseball.)

The Warriors won, so Craig was happy.

Thursday started with a fish and chips lunch at the Bowpicker. 

Yes, it is a boat on a trailer, that has been made into a food stand. It has a very high rating on all the travel sites, so of course we had to try it.  I thought the fish fry was very good, but not really the best I've ever had. Craig said he wasn't impressed. But then we have eaten fish and chips from coast to coast. My personal #1 was The Bus in Hyder Alaska, with the Stagecoach Inn, in Aguanga California coming in #2.

After lunch we went to tour the Flavel House, a turn of the century mansion built by a man who had made his fortune as a river pilot and entrepreneur in Astoria. It was quite interesting, and very well restored. Like many of the grand old houses it had fallen  into major disrepair, and was close to being torn down before it was rescued by local history buffs.

Our last tourist stop in Astoria was the Hanthorn Cannery Museum

It was really a multi- room display of old cannery equipment with a 50s TV documentary playing, which was remarkably good and told the story of the cannery quite well. 

Many of the old cannery buildings have burned down over the years, but this free display enhanced our understanding of the fish processing business. I sure wouldn't have liked working there! But many women did and I'm sure their pay was welcome at home.

Friday was our travel day. We went all of 38 miles! But it was a long 38 miles because it was raining and a bit foggy. We were glad to pull into our site at Nehalem Bay State park. I am writing this on Sunday, and it has been raining sporadically since our arrival. Although we did get out on a short walk to the beach on Saturday, we have been just being lazy and nesting. We will be here for a total of six nights, so I'm sure we will get out and about.

Finally, I  just had to include this picture of Craig, taken at the beach last week:

His hair might be a bit mussed, but it is rare for me to get a picture of him without his hat. It was a nice week and he looks happy.

Life is good.


  1. Warriors!

    Dad's looking good.

    Astoria, I've been there.

  2. I never really paid any attention to history until we started to visit places in person. So much more exciting.

  3. Merikay, This is Dr. Bennett, just north of Spokane, WA. I still have five of your lovely crocheted animal heads in my pediatric office here that I got in 1986 in Los Gatos, and would love to have you stop by for a short reunion if you are heading to eastern Washington while you are up here. My wife and I have just joined the RVing community, also, with a 1998 Safari Sahara, and would love to reacquaint ourselves with you after many years. I follow your travels often, and vicariously travel along, though I'm still working full time. My cell is 509-939-1550. Thanks for considering a short stop up here.
    David Bennett, your local pediatrician in Elk, Washington.
    By the way, my wife and I along with our two children, their spouses, and our eight grandchildren were in Cannon Beach all last week, only minutes away from where you were at the same time!! Last year, on our annual trip to Cannon Beach as a family, we also visited Fort Stevens and the Wreck of the Peter Iredale. The grandkids loved every minute of it. email:

    1. We were at Cannon Beach yesterday! On the sidebar of my blog there is a "page" called Summer 2018, that lists the places we are going and the reservations we have made.

      We might swing over to Eastern Washington right after Laborday, before heading back down to SC. I will email you privately.


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