Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Hope of Spring

This past weekend on a whim, Emily and I decided to skip town and head for the coast.

We didn't really have a plan and the weather wasn't great – it snowed on us all the way through Olympia, Montesano, and Aberdeen.

No matter – the ocean is still nice when it's gray out, and there were signs it was going to clear up.

The Washington Coast is not that far away from Seattle (it took us maybe two hours to get to Grays Harbor) but feels really big and remote. It's yet another totally breathtaking feature of the Northwest.

We ended up staying in Astoria, Oregon (this is the view from our motel, looking North across the Columbia River to Washington).

First up, we stopped in at the Fort George Brewery for a beer (I recommend the IPA). The guy who renovated this 1924 building sat next to us at the bar and drunkenly gave us all the details. He also told us that adjusted for inflation, John Jacob Astor (for whom Astoria is named) would still be the third richest American of all time.

Mary Todd's Workers Bar & Grill was right across the street from where we stayed (The Dunes) and while their beer selection was shite, it's still a cozy little spot. I found a bunch of records next door last time I was in town, maybe 12 years ago or more.

That section of Astoria is called Uniontown and is or was apparently populated largely by Finns. This is their union hall.

On Sunday, with the weather a little improved, we drove around and explored Astoria a little more.

Certain occasional readers of this blog will be interested to know that The Goonies was set here. There are a ton of cool old houses, some perfectly restored and some boarded up, like this one.

Atop the tallest hill there's this big spiral engraved with the story of Lewis and Clark's journey.

There's a nice view of the river and there were a bunch of big bald eagles chasing each other around in the wind (you can't see them in this picture though).

After that we headed back to Washington and drove through Ilwaco on our way to check out Cape Disappointment, where Lewis and Clark ended their journey.

The beach at the Cape is huge and spectacular. It was windy and the waves there are some of the biggest on the West Coast. Tons of boats have sunk trying to navigate that area.

We walked out on a long jetty and sat there for at least an hour in the sun, looking out at the water.

There were a bunch of sea otters and some porpoises hanging around.

It was one of the cooler things I've experienced since we moved back to the West. We never did make it to the lighthouses but I'm sure we'll be back this summer.


Todd Petersen said...

Jerk face. I hauled sticks around in my back yard.

BigDaddyQ said...

WAY cool. And several very nice grab shots. :)

JMW said...

This is a beautiful country, ain't it? Sounds like a great trip...