We decided to take a long weekend to go to the north part of the Oregon Coast before the crowds start to show up, so we packed up the car and headed south. We looked at a shipwreck near Astoria, visited Fort Clatsop National Preserve, and walked a bit along the Seaside Promenade.
Driving to Oregon
Wanting to avoid the morning traffic, we left the house around mid-morning. We weren't surprised to find things slow-going around downtown, but other than that, things were pretty clear, even going through Tacoma.
We knew we would want to have lunch along the way, so as we started getting closer to Longview, Melody started looking for a place to eat. We decided on BBQ, and as we started getting closer, the road began to look familiar. That wasn't too surprising since several years ago we spent a week in Kelso (across the freeway from Longview) as a launching point to go to Mount St. Helens and Cape Disappointment. Once we stepped into the restaurant, it occurred to us that we had been there before. Of all the places we could pick, it would be a repeat for us.
Having fed ourselves and filled the car, we proceeded across the Columbia on the Lewis and Clark bridge into Oregon. From there, we headed west, following the river towards Astoria. As we went through the town, we again marveled at the Astoria-Megler Bridge; we weren't going to cross it today, but we did during our last visit, and it was a long crossing.
Peter Iredale shipwreck
Once we got through the town, we were immediately crossed Youngs Bay, weaving through Warrenton to Fort Stevens State Park at the extreme northwest corner of Oregon. We didn't, however, go into the park proper. We went past the camping sites towards the beach to take a look at the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale. The tide was out so we were able to walk all around the wreckage and view it from all angles. It would have been interesting to have seen it at high tide surrounded by water, but it was fun to walk right up to the rusting metal. We did a bit of exploring around the nearby dunes, then headed back to the car.
Fort Clatsop National Memorial
Next, we backtracked a bit to get to the Fort Clatsop National Memorial. The centerpiece is a replica of a fort where the Lewis and Clark party wintered for four months in 1805 and 1806. When we showed up, the ranger mentioned that there was going to be a flintlock demonstration near the fort, so we headed out that way.
As we got to the fort, we saw the class of elementary school kids and chaperones listening to someone telling them that he was going to demonstrate a flintlock rifle. You could see one near him, but instead of picking it up, he got several volunteers to be the various parts of the rifle, including a couple of kids to be the lock (they were supposed to do a double high five to represent the lock being triggered; it took them a couple tries to not miss each other), a couple kids to be the various gunpowders, and a couple to be the wadding and bullet. When he said go, they all played their parts, the bullet running out with the wadding wafting behind her. After that, he demonstrated loading the actual rifle and fired it. Afterward, he mentioned that it doesn't always fire, and he was happy that it did.
We went back to the fort to have a look around. Two dozen men were packed in three small rooms, each smaller than the one room Lewis and Clark shared. Rank has its privileges.
Leaving the fort, we made our way to the Lewis and Clark River to the location of the expedition's canoe landing in the area, following the river across boardwalks and paths down to Neutel Landing. Its name comes from the original name for the river. After checking out the interpretive display, we went back to the visitor center, arriving just in time for a short movie. We then took a look at the exhibits, then got ready to head out again.
Since it held the best opportunities for being a home base, we decided to stay there for the entire trip, rather than staying at different places for the weekend. We found our motel and settled in. After figuring out a place to eat, we headed out on foot, crossed the Necanicum River to Broadway where we had some great fish and chips. The place was almost empty when we arrived (although there were more people in the bar at the back) but by the time we were eating, it was filling up. The batter was crispy, the fish flaky, and there were enough little fries to yield plenty of crispy bits.
Dinner taken care of, we walked towards the ocean and checked out the turnaround with the Lewis and Clark statue. The Seaside Promenade goes north and south from that point, so we did a bit of each. Starting north, we watched a guy with a bucket and rope who was making huge soap bubbles. We turned around at the Seaside Aquarium, which has been open since 1937. The building opened in 1924 as a saltwater bathhouse and swimming pool.
Turning around, we walked down south for a way, then headed out towards the water. South of Broadway, there's a bunch of low, grassy dunes before you get to the actual beach, and both Melody and I were reminded of Long Beach, WA, which is similar.
We walked back north along small, meandering paths back towards Broadway, stopped at a gelato shop, then headed back to our room for the night.