Day 14, October 24, 1997: Long Beach, WA to Yachats, OR

Another short distance day today. If my trend of fewer and fewer miles every day I'll be lucky to make it down the coast before I become totally immobile and have to stay permanently.

First thing this morning I drove up from Long Beach to Oysterville hoping for some interesting old Victorian houses. Turned out that the whole old village is of that era but the houses are hardly the sort I had hoped for. Seems that back in the 1870s oyster diggers were not living in mansions. Oh well, I have seen some old mansions on this trip and will see some more before I'm done. Maybe I'll put together a composite of them one of these evenings.

Further down the coast I finally came to the Oregon border as I crossed the bridge to Astoria . It was a spooky sort of crossing of the Columbia River. It is simply huge at that point, being miles wide. The bridge is fairly close down to the water but swoops upwards well over 100 feet at the south end to allow ship passage. Looking from the Washington side the far end of the bridge was invisible in a bank of fog and it looked like driving off the end of the world. In Astoria I found the end of US route 30. Seems funny that the other end of that road, if you can follow the number cross-country, runs straight through the town I grew up in. This used to be called the Lincoln Highway and was one of the original cross-country routes though certainly not as popular as old Route 66 - no hit songs about this one.

I visited the remains of Fort Stevens on the mouth of the Columbia. It still has the remains of the old Civil War earthworks and gun emplacement although most of the more ephemeral buildings are long gone. The fort's history runs from the 1860s until the 1940's when it was decommissioned after the war. The beginnings of the fort show one of the reasons the military is a laughingstock sometimes. It was commissioned on the day before the Civil War ended after being built in case the English joined the war on the side of the South and tried to invade up the Columbia from Canada. So much for planning...

I made yet another visit to the Tilamook cheese place on the way south. Somehow the whole thing still entertains even though it has become as much of a tourist trap as a food production facility. One of our pictures for the day is of the cheese processing vats with an inset of beginning of the packaging process. I have it on good authority that the women in the foreground cut the cheese for eight hours every day with only a short break for lunch. (sorry about that, too many years in the AF left me with a sick sophomoric sense of humor).

By way of making up for the last couple of nights, I got a really decent motel room tonight for a decent price (and it has phones I can use!). This place is just north of town and sits right on the water. I walked on the beach for a while after dinner and made an unexpected friend (see inset in second picture). This old dog wandered down the beach toward me. As I got close to a piece of driftwood, he stopped, looking first at me and then at the wood expectantly. I had never been a dedicated viewer of "Lassie" but eventually I got the message "throw this stick for me, please". I tossed it up the beach and he brought it back. I tossed it down the beach and he brought it back. I got mean and threw it into the surf and he brought it back. After six or seven times I got tired of the game and refused to throw any more and he took off down the beach carrying the stick and looking for another thrower.

The main part of the second picture is the view up the beach at Pacific City, Oregon. Quite pretty up there around lunch time as the fog had cleared by then.

It is about 200 miles to the California border from here. With luck I'll not find things too interesting to prevent me from making it at least that far or a bit more. Eventually I'll have to strengthen my resolve and avoid stopping at every small-town museum and roadside attraction and press on with our 12,000-mile tour of the edge of the USA.


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