Out and about in Astoria, Oregon 9/30/11
Below are a few snapshots of the Astoria vicinity. The morning was cooler and splash 'n dash showers were forecast, but didn't materialize... ok by us. We "did" tourist-y things today and first on the list was a visit to Ft Clatsop. This is where the Lewis & Clark expedition remained from Dec 1805 to March 1806. The replica - first photo below - of Ft Clatsop, named for the Clatsop Indian tribe, follows a floor plan drawn by Wm Clark in his journal. Of interest: "Of the 106 days the explorers spent at the fort, it rained every day but 12, and the men suffered from colds, the flu, rheumatism and other ailments the captains treated. Clothing rotted and fleas infested the blankets and hides of the bedding to such a degree that a full night's sleep was often impossible." Sounds ghastly, doesn't it? I wonder if banana slugs, like the beauty below, were a problem for Corps men, too? We had to step aside the path so as to not squash this one!
Next came the imposing Astoria Column: click here Built in 1926, it's an awesome 125 foot structure. You can climb to the top if you're willing to tackle 164 circular steps up (and then down), but the 360° view is spectacular. Whoops, when you open the door in the lee up there and then take a few steps in either direction, a blast of wind nearly knocks you over the edge! Wow! The Column exterior has a frieze of 22 significant events, done in a bas-relief technique called sgraffito, that occurred in the region. Beautiful. Back on ground, Jimmy is enjoying a sit-down at the Columbia River... watching the ships head out to sea.
4.2 mile Astoria Bridge across the mouth of the Columbia to Washington. On Sunday 10/2, the Great Columbia Crossing 10k walk/run will take place (too bad registration is closed or yours trulys would try to tackle it!). This is the only day the bridge is open to pedestrians. It starts on the WA side and participants have till Noon to make it across to Astoria, or the "Bus of Shame" will pick you up and deliver you there! Next picture is at East Mooring Basin while I was talking to brother, Rob in Mobile, so he could hear the sea lions barking and bellowing. Hey, Jonny, remember Pier 33 in San Fran? They've migrated to Astoria!
The town of Astoria is a maritime town. Surrounded by natural beauty and nestled against the hills along the Columbia River, it has quite a history. Capt. Robert Gray "named" the Columbia River in 1792. After Lewis & Clark camped here in 1805, John Jacob Astor the fur trader (and first millionaire), founded Ft Astoria in 1811. He must have been narcissistic, too. The town currently has more more buildings on the National Historic Register per square foot than anywhere else in Oregon, with numerous handsome Victorian homes. Wouldn't mind having one of them! A long walking/bike trail hugs Astoria's riverfront, and we rode a beautifully refurbished 1913 streetcar that carries passengers along a four-mile stretch of the same area.
We bought lunch today at The Ship Inn - THE best halibut fish 'n chips and shrimp/scallop chowder. Right on the river. Nice interlude. Then, off we went for more peeking and poking around Astoria.