Saturday, May 12, 2018

Pacific City to Seattle


Todate we have completed our journey up the Pacific Coast Highway.  Staying three days at each campsite and driving short distances is really the best way to travel.  Most retirees and new full timers tend to be in vacation mode traveling long distances and staying very briefly in each camping spot.  We have never really been in that mode.  However, we have covered long distances with one night stays when we had destinations we had to reach in limited time.  This year we traveled in that mode from Florida to Arizona in order to reach the Xscapers Annual Bash  in Quartzsite, AZ.  Our slow pace for the bulk of this winter has made for a very pleasant journey.

 Since my last posting we traveled north along the coast in Oregon from Florence to Pacific City and then on to Seaside near Astoria.  We stayed three days at each of these Thousand Trails parks.  the park at Seaside was particularly pleasant due to the widely spaced sites, full hook-up and excellent free WIFI.

 The wet weather and mild temperatures throughout most of the northwest coast has resulted in enormously tall and dense conifer forests.

 The Oregon coast and its beaches are simply stunning.  Many wide beaches are nearly all accessible by the public.

Less than two hours north of Pacific City is the Seaside Thousand Trails resort.  Seaside Oregon is a very pretty coastal town with good restaurants and nice beaches.  The residences appear to be well maintained with very few trashy or run down houses. During our stay there was little traffic on US101.  However, starting on Memorial I was told by a local that it becomes quite congested.

 From Seaside we made a day trip to nearby Astoria; another gorgeous town with  beautiful views and excellent seafood.

Astoria is the point on the coast where Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific and stayed for the winter before their return trip eastward over the mountains.

At the Lewis and Clark National Historic park, the fort where they stayed has been reconstructed on the original site following the notes Lewis wrote in his journal.
The park also has a good museum covering their entire journey from St Louis.  The displays include a lot of photo copy excerpts from Lewis' journal matched to relevant artifacts and relics from the era.

 Later that day we went to Astoria column.  The column is a high tower located on the highest hill in Astoria which overlooks the town.

Almost within five minutes of our arrival a fog rolled in obscuring any view of the city.  We did get  some pictures of the tower and its historic paintings.

We then had a wonderful seafood lunch at Mo's Seafood restaurant in downtown Astoria.

After eating lunch, luck was with us as the sky cleared and the sun came out.  We returned to the tower and were able to get a few good  shots of the town; and the famous Astoria bridge which crosses the mouth of the Columbia river.

We also visited the Columbia River Maritime museum and its light ship the Columbia.

The museum highlights the fishing and canning industry that was a part of Astoria's early days.  Also the exhibits explain very well the reputation of the Astoria bar as the "graveyard of the pacific." The flow of freshwater from the river apparently creates an enormous underwater sandbar where it meets the incoming ocean waves.  The result is a very hazardous shallow channel with huge breaking waves that the heavy cargo ships have to contend with when traveling up the river to the Portland Oregon river port.  Interestingly at least six World War II aircraft carriers and many other ships were built in Portland and made their maiden voyages to the Pacific via the Columbia river.

The sailors on the Cloumbia light ship served tours of duty of two weeks on at sea and one week off in port.  It must not have been very pleasant with the small ship constantly rolling and the fog horn sounding for hour upon hour during bad weather.

 On May 9th we broke camp and headed away from the coast northeast toward the Puget Sound cities of Tacoma and Seattle.

We are currently camped at the Tall Chief Thousand Trails resort about 20 miles east of Seattle. It's a nice quiet park nestled in a mixed conifer and hardwood forest.  Lucky for us there are a lot of unoccupied sites.  This will soon change as Memorial Day approaches.

We'll soon leave to start our travel northward into Canada.

For more pictures see my photo stream.