Saturday, November 28, 2009

Today was mainly overcast with a cool wind and a high of about 9C (48F) but on the plus side it didn’t rain so we won’t complain.

We drove north to Astoria and toured the Columbia River Maritime Museum and the Lightship Columbia. The museum was really interesting, the first thing on the agenda was a 15 minute video “The Great River of the West”, showing how the Bar Pilots work the wind and waves during a severe winter storm. The mouth of the river is known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” because of its perilous bars and the number of ships that have been wrecked while trying to enter the river. Once in the river ships then require a river pilot to travel the river. One of the displays is a map of the river entrance and all the boats that have sunk are on the map with a brief story – not a nice place for sure!!

I took this picture of a diver and his suit as my grandfather was a professional diver and my father and a couple of his brothers helped my grandfather during their teens and early 20's - we have a picture of my grandfather in his diving suit like this.

In the late 1800’s Astoria was the salmon capitol of the west and had many canneries, mostly staffed by Chinese people who were poorly paid and poorly treated by the community. There is a large display on the salmon fishing era as well as hundreds of marine artifacts and displays, pictures of all sorts of boats that traveled the river etc. We could also experience what it would be like to pilot a tugboat and participate in a Coast Guard rescue on the Columbia River Bar.

We then toured the Lightship Columbia, which was basically a small town anchored five miles out at sea to mark the entrance to the Columbia River. Life on board the lightship is best described as long stretches of monotony and boredom intermixed with riding out gale force storm. There was a crew of 17 who worked two to four week rotations, with ten men on duty at all times. Thirty foot waves were not unusual during fierce winter storms and even the most experienced sailors got seasick. The lightship did not roll like a regular ship but bobbed like a cork in all directions – sounds like fun to me – NOT!!

The Lightship Columbia

and her replacement

A Couple of Ships in the Harbour

Next we drove to the Astoria Column that is located on Coxcomb Hill overlooking Astoria, the view was nice but would be even better on a bright sunny day. The column is 125 feet high and there are 164 steps (inside) leading to a viewing platform at the top (we did not climb up).

Astoria Column (If you click to enlarge the picture you can see the murals)

The Column is covered with 22 murals that celebrate the earliest moments of Northwestern history - most of the imagery deals with events between 1792 and 1818. The murals are done in a Renaissance art from called sgraffito (skra-fe-to) that combines paint and plaster carvings - very impressive. It was cold and windy up there so we were glad to get back in the truck!

The Columbia River Bridge to Washington (Note the Sandbar in the middle of the river)

The Neutel River from Coxcomb Hill

From the Column we crossed back into Washington and took Hwy. 101 to Ilwaco, but decided to turn around there and head back as it was would be dark soon. I would have liked to drive out farther on the peninsula but it was not to be as it was too late in the day.

When we got back we decided to go to Mo’s for dinner, it was good but we still haven’t found any fish and chips as good as the Erie Belle in Kincardine.

And so ends another great gift of a day here on the Oregon Coast and we look forward to another nice day tomorrow.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Today is my sister’s birthday, Happy Birthday Pat and hope you had a good travel day.

The rain stopped in the early hours of the morning and today was mostly overcast and cloudy with the odd sunny break. It was cooler today with a high of 10C (50F).

A lot of trailers came into the park today, it was a steady stream of arrivals most of the day. John went over to the office and paid for two more nights, we won’t leave here until Tuesday, and I am really glad that we won’t be heading out on Sunday as from the looks of the park it will be a busy day on the roads.

I did laundry this afternoon and that took up most of the afternoon, the Laundromat here is really nice but weird, there are four washers (one of which wasn’t working) and 8 dryers – go figure. I had three loads and when I went over there was only one washer available so just had to wait for the other two, no big deal but it did make for a longer time getting it all done. Fortunately I had a good book and they had nice comfortable chairs in the lounge so it wasn’t a real hardship.

That was about it for excitement for the day, John cleaned the barbecue and did a few odd jobs as well as chat to the neighbours. Dinner tonight was real easy – leftovers, now I have them all used up so can start over again!

And so ends another great gift of a day here on the Oregon Coast and we look forward to another nice day tomorrow.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends, we hope you had a wonderful day with friends and family.

Today’s post is going to be really short as there is nothing to say. It started to rain about midnight last night and poured until early afternoon. It stopped for a couple of hours so we went for a walk around the park and then it started pouring again about 5. Poor John got quite wet when barbecuing our steak for dinner but it was delicious!

Today was a very quiet day, I spent a lot of time playing with iPhoto 09 on my computer, other than that didn’t do a lot.

Even though the weather was crappy it was still another great gift of a day here on the Oregon Coast and we look forward to a nice day tomorrow (hopefully a day that doesn’t rain all day!!).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today was another nice day with funny weather, it was sunny for a bit this morning then clouded over for most of the day with the sun trying to come out again late in the afternoon. We had a high of about 13C (56F) so not a bad day.
We went to Ecola State Park today, the entrance to this park is at the south end of Cannon Beach and it is well known for its views - we weren’t disappointed. The road in and out of the park, as well as the road between the two beaches in the park, was one of my most unfavourite types – very narrow and twisty with no shoulders and lots of drop offs, but with John’s excellent driving we had no problem.

The views were spectacular, and at Crescent Beach there was a walkway around the point of the bluff that gave views out to Terrible Tilly, the Tillamook Lighthouse. There was a sign with information on the lighthouse and it appears that Eternity at Sea, Inc. now owns the lighthouse and uses the inside of the lighthouse as a columbarium and inurnments of recycled aluminum urns are limited to once a year after the birds have finished nesting here to minimize the impact on the birds.
Crescent Beach

From Crescent Beach we took the road to Indian Beach and again the view was beautiful, but the drive not pretty. We watched a couple of guys trying to surf but they didn’t go far enough out to catch the large waves so weren’t having a lot of luck.
Indian Beach

We left Ecola State Park and drove south a bit, we stopped first by Mo’s for another look at Haystack Rock

and the beach and then at a couple of lookouts along southbound 101. We turned around just before Nehalen and headed home so we would be back before dark.
Views Along 101

There have been quite a few trailers come into the park today but it is still no where full, guess there will be a lot more coming in tomorrow as we were certainly led to believe that it was pretty well full for the Thanksgiving weekend.

John is barbecuing sausages for dinner and we are looking forward to a quiet evening.

And so ends another great gift of a day here on the Oregon Coast and we look forward to another nice day tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It was nice and sunny this morning with a temperature of about 12C (55F) when we headed out. We had decided to go north to Warrenton and visit Fort Clatsop Within about 4 miles of leaving the park it clouded over and by the time we got to the Visitor’s Centre at Fort Clatsop the temperature had dropped to 9C (48F) and it was foggy and very damp.

Fort Clatsop is where Lewis and Merriweather had spent the winter of 1805-1806 in their quest to find the Pacific Ocean. They built a fort there for the winter and during that time the Chinook and Clatsop Indians came to the fort almost daily to trade and visit. The National Park Service has built a replica of the fort that we walked through, and I think it would have been a very cold winter there, but better than being out in the open!

Fort Clatsop and an Officer's Quarters

There is also a replica of the dugout canoes they made down by the Netul River (now the Lewis & Clark River). The canoe looked like it would be very heavy, I wouldn’t want to have to do any portaging with one of them!! It was a nice walk through the woods to the river with lots of very large trees and there were a lot of trees that had fallen down and a couple like this that have broken off.

Dugout Canoe

Netul River

After touring the fort and walking down to the river we spent some time in the Visitor’s Centre watching a couple of films and looking at the displays.

When we left there we went to Fred Meyer to get some groceries before the huge crowds hit the stores tomorrow to stock up for Thanksgiving. Fred Meyer is like a Super Wal Mart, they have everything from A to Z and also sell fuel. I had read about them on the internet and when we were checking out we got one of their cards, which are like our Sobey’s cards, you don’t need them to get the specials but you collect points with them – 1 point for every dollar spent. After 100 points you can get $0.10/gallon off on the price of fuel and seeing how we spent over $100 when we went to fuel up we got our $0.10/gallon off so it cost us $2.699/gallon for diesel. That was a really good deal as their fuel was already at least $0.10/gallon less than any other gas station we have seen so far in Oregon.

If you don’t have the points for the $0.10/gallon discount you get $0.03/gallon by swiping their card so can’t lose on buying fuel there.

By the time we came out of the grocery store the sun was trying to come out but it was quite foggy. As we got back to Cannon Beach it looked like there might be a nice sunset over the ocean so we went down to take some pictures, it wasn’t as nice as I had hoped it would be but it was still a bit of a sunset.

And so ends another great gift of a day here on the Oregon Coast and we look forward to another nice day tomorrow.

Monday, November 23, 2009

We woke up to sunshine this morning but it didn’t last much past 10 a.m., however, the good news is that it didn’t rain during the day so we aren’t complaining. The temperature reached a high of 11C (53F) so it was quite pleasant.

We went to Mos for lunch, this is a restaurant right on the beach, we got a window seat so had a beautiful view while enjoying our lunch. We both had a clam fritter sandwich with a cup of crab chowder, very good. I had read about Mos on Ellie’s blog – Justravellin, so thanks to her for a nice place to eat.

Mos has a little store as well as the restaurant and they had really nice jackets on sale for $20 and the even better part is that Oregon has no sales tax. We both bought a jacket, they are bright yellow, and wore them when we walked the beach after lunch. They are really good wind breakers so we were nice and warm walking the beach in the wind.

The restaurant was in between Haystack Rock, a rock that rises 245’ out of the ocean and The Needles, which are rocks off shore in the shape of needles. I took some pictures, which I will post, but it was quite hazy and overcast so not that great for picture taking. Hopefully we will get a brighter day here and better pictures.

The beach here is much cleaner than Long Beach on Vancouver Island was, there the beach was covered in kelp etc. and here there is very little of that. There were a couple of large, dead, jellyfish but that was about it, not even very many sea shells. Of course the wind was blowing pretty hard which made my eyes water so maybe I just missed the sea shells – LOL!

The Haystack

Beach Front Cottages & the Haystack

John & The Haystack (Note the New Yellow Jacket!(

The Needles

Looking West From Beach

Cannon Beach

We then went to Seaside, a town 8 miles north of Cannon Beach, and drove around the town. It is off season so all these places are pretty quiet now but I imagine they would be a zoo in the summer. In Seaside we saw a store, Crocs, so stopped and checked it out as Kel wants me to buy her a pair of crocs if I can find them at a good price. Well, they were Canadian prices, no bargains there, so we left empty handed.

We came back and stopped at the Information Centre and picked up some maps and the brochure, Oregon Coast that is a mile-by-mile guide to Highway 101 - I am sure it will come in real handy in the next few weeks. I also picked up a brochure on Oregon lighthouses and hope we will be able to see them all. We could just see Tillamook Rock Lighthouse today, it stands 133 feet above sea level with a 62’ high tower on a basalt rock islet. It has been nicknamed “Terrible Tilly” because of its exposure to storm waves and was built in 1881 and replaced by a whistling buoy in 1957. It is the only privately owned Oregon coast lighthouse on the National Register of Historic Places and was once used as a Our columbarium ( storage for ashes of deceased people) – go figure!!!
Our Home at Cannon Beach

John is doing some fish on the barbecue for dinner and we are looking forward to a quiet evening. And so ends another great gift of a day and we look forward to another nice day tomorrow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The wind howled all night and it poured rain so I didn’t sleep well worrying about traveling today, but thankfully the wind had died down by morning and the rain stopped so that John didn’t get wet hooking us up.

One Last Look at the Olympia Mountains

We were on the road about 9:30 and had a good drive with a mix of weather, some rain, but not hard, some sun and a lot of overcast sky. Actually, the sun didn’t really come out and stay out until about Astoria OR and then it was at a point where it made it hard to see so we were glad to get to Cannon Beach.

Crossing the Hood Canal

Pretty Skyline

On the way here we saw a lot of downed trees, and some spots where the hydro crews were still working on lines that trees had taken down. There was a lot of debris on the road – small branches etc., it appears that last nights wind did a lot of damage both in Washington and Oregon. Thankfully, we had no problems in Sequim other than the wind blew our stool around and blew the remote for the thermometer off it under the trailer. As you can see from the pictures there was also lots of flooded land from all the rain that we have had.

The park here seems nice and is well treed, I think it will be hard to tell if the sun is out or not! At this point the park isn’t really busy but apparently they are full for Thanksgiving, glad we got a spot here as there were only 2 sites available for a week. We can hear the waves crashing in so aren’t far from the ocean – tomorrow we will explore the town.

John had pretty well finished setting up when I noticed him talking to a couple so I stopped my vacuuming and went out, it was a couple from Calgary, Mike & Tanyia, who are just starting out with their new 27’ Airstream International. We chatted for a while and they came in and had a look at our trailer then invited us to come look at theirs – it is a very nice trailer and they had a couple of changes made at the factory to give them more storage room and had the furniture done in the leather.

These mushrooms are growing on the lot next door, I don’t know what kind they are but they are pretty.

Dinner is over and I have some pictures to download so will do that if I can keep my eyes open, it has been a long day with little sleep last.

And so ends another great gift of a day and we look forward to another nice day tomorrow.