Apr 29, 2005
|APOLOGIES ARE IN ORDER - we're having computer problems and won't be able to process more photos until the thing is fixed. When it is, we'll put 'em in. Please be patient!
UPDATE MAY 13, 2005 - Photos have been added.
We left Champoeg on Thursday, eventually crossing the 4-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge over the mighty Columbia River into the Evergreen State of Washington. Two hours into our journey, before we had even left Oregon, we were saluted with a rock tossed carelessly by a passing truck. We had expected to return from Alaska with motorhome windshield damage, but this was way too soon!
Our first stop in Washington was Eagles' Nest RV Resort in Ilwaco, at the southern tip of the Long Beach peninsula, where the Columbia River refreshes the great Pacific. We chose a site on a bluff overlooking the ocean, and were alone there for the five nights of our stay.
On the two truly nice days there we went sightseeing. On one, I trudged the one and half mile roundtrip trail to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (Suzy stayed in the car crocheting and practicing photography). Where is it written that hiking trails are mostly uphill BOTH ways? Although the climb was tough on these older bones, the view from the top was delightful.
The other sunny day was spent back on the Oregon side of the river near Astoria. We had been wanting to see Forts Stevens and Clatsop as well as the Peter Iredale shipwreck, but hadn't had the opportunity when we were in Astoria mid-winter.
For history buffs, the mouth of the Columbia River was the specific target that Thomas Jefferson assigned to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark 200 years ago. Their Corps of Discovery took 17 months getting from St. Louis to the Pacific. Cape Disappointment, on the Washington side of the river, had been named 25 years earlier by an English Sea Captain for reasons of his own. Lewis and Clark were aware of the name when they stopped a few miles east and set up their "Station Camp." The winter weather was horrible, and the entire company took a vote to move across the river for more shelter. The voting process was historically significant: for the first time in American history an official government vote was open to women (the native guide Sacajawea) and an African American (Captain Clark's slave, Ben York).
Arriving at an appropriate spot (the exact location is only guessed at today) the Corps established a stockade and named it Fort Clatsop in honor of the local friendly Native Americans. Fort Clatsop has recently been rebuilt following a general floor plan and description in Clark's journal. Fifty feet square, it consists of seven rooms flanking an open central courtyard. Rain marked 94 of the 106 days the thirty or so men of the expedition, plus one woman, Sacajawea, spent in those cramped quarters at Fort Clatsop. Today reconstructed Fort Clatsop is the highlight of one of the newest US National Parks, the Lewis and Clark National Park.
Right on the coast, Fort Stevens was originally built as a Civil War outpost. Ironically, it was completed just the day before Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Fort Stevens served during the Spanish American War, the "Big War," and World War II. It was the only fort on American soil fired upon by the enemy since the War of 1812. A Japanese sub fired nine rounds at the fort (all nine missed).
Along the shore in Fort Stevens State Park lies the rusting hulk of the Peter Iredale, a four-masted cargo vessel that ran aground in 1906. We were amazed that this iron wreck lies unprotected at the shoreline, open for anyone to climb on at low tide, with no warnings or protection against the evils of tetanus, etc.
Did we say Suzy was crocheting? She is currently working on three afghans at the same time. Not simultaneously, of course, but moving among the three with alacrity. We had to replace a throw rug in the living room, as well as some serapes that had graced the area. The new rug cried out for new décor, and the afghans echo the rug's colors of soft burgundy, medium thyme, and Vallejo tan.
We've taken lots of pictures, of course, but with some major computer problems we are experiencing, we cannot share them with you at this point. Do we buy a new computer? Do we get the old one upgraded? Those are the questions, and the answers are yet forthcoming. Stand by; we'll have pictures for you as soon as we can. In the meantime, we will continue on the Alaska-bound segment of ... Our Life on Wheels.