Friday, September 11, 2015
Astoria-Megler Bridge and the Long Beach Peninsula
This is the last day of our vacation, unless you count flying home
(and we do not). We'd planned to spend the day in Portland, but
after our half-day in the city yesterday, we thought we'd enjoy
ourselves more on the coast, especially after I found out that the
Japanese Garden in Washington Park was closed for renovation, which
is the sight I most wanted to see in Portland.
From Portland we followed the Columbia River toward the coast, this
time on the Washington side of the river, through the Lewis &
Clark National Wildlife Refuge and along the tidal marshes. There
were some cool sights along the way, such as an old quarantine station, a half-sunken ship that was once the world's largest hydrofoil,
and an old rusted-out barge.
Knappton Cove Quarantine Station, Columbia River's Ellis Island
At Megler we turned and crossed over the Astoria-Megler Bridge into
Oregon, having failed to cross the bridge when we were in Astoria
before, in spite of staying in a motel almost underneath the thing.
Opened in 1966, the bridge was the last segment of U.S. 101 to be
completed between Los Angeles and Olympia. We immediately then
crossed back over the bridge to return to Washington and
continue to the Long Beach Peninsula, in the southwest corner of
Astoria-Megler Bridge from Washington
Cape Disappointment State Park, at the southern end of the Long Beach
Peninsula, was named by Captain John Meares in 1788, reflecting his
feelings upon not discovering the Northwest Passage. The park is at the
mouth of Columbia River, the location of one of the most
treacherous river bars in the world. In just over 200 years, the
hazardous conditions at the confluence of the Columbia River and
the Pacific Ocean and nearby have claimed hundreds of vessels,
earning this area the nickname “Graveyard of the Pacific.”
Cape Disappointment State Park
North Head Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment State Park
We soon learned there was a hot rod event on the peninsula today.
There were cool old cars all over the place and people lined up
alongside the road in their lawn chairs to watch them pass by. I
felt like I was in a parade! We stopped for lunch at Subway in the
town of Long Beach and then got off the main hot-rod drag and
headed up the peninsula on the bay side. We made a few stops on our
way to Ledbetter Point, the far northern end of the island and the
furthest from home that we traveled on this trip. I checked the GPS,
and apparently we could drive home from here in just 39 hours -
without any stops, of course.
The weather on the bay side of the island was calm and sunny, but
whenever we cut over to the ocean side, it was foggy, windy, and
very cold! It reached a high of 88 today, but at times it was
closer to 50.
Bay side of Long Beach Peninsula
Ocean side of Long Beach Peninsula
We followed the Columbia River on the Oregon side on the way back
to Portland, stopping in Clatskanie to pick up a few beers for
later, Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve, a northwest-style lager
from Wisconsin, and Bridgeport Brewing Kingpin, a double red ale
from Portland. Later we walked from our hotel to Red Robin for
salads and chili and, naturally, a couple of beverages, Widmer
Hefeweisen and Atlas Hard Blackberry Cider, both from Oregon.
On Saturday the 12th, we flew out of Portland at 11:28 a.m., via
Minneapolis, arriving in Knoxville at 10:23 p.m. Rental car
mileage: 2,347 miles - and we only covered a fraction of Oregon and
Washington. We shall return!
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