Sunday, August 5, 2012

Astoria, Oregon

The town of Astoria is named for John Jacob Astor, the fur-trading magnate.  It is the oldest settlement west of the Rockie Mountains dating back to Lewis and Clark.  The town is nestled at the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.  The long bridge on the right is the Astoria Bridge which spans four miles and connects Oregon with Washington State.

We spent a week in Astoria and most days it was cool and foggy.  In the afternoon the sun would peak through for a few hours. 

Downtown Astoria was built on wooden piers over the Columbia River.  As the town grew, the piers became more elaborate, supporting large buildings and streets.  Leveled by fire in 1883, the town was rebuilt.  Disaster struck again in 1922 when a huge fire destroyed the business section.  That was enough for the town and they filled the area around the piers with dredging from the river bottom and rebuilt it, again, between 1923 and 1925.

Many of the buildings by the waterfront have walls painted with old-time city views.

A city trolley takes tourists for a ride.

The estuary of the Columbia River is extremely dangerous.  No ships are allowed to enter the river without a pilot boat leading them through.  

Barges pull goods up the mouth of the Columbia River.
We drove around Astoria to see the older stately homes and saw a beautiful old church.  As we were taking pictures the custodian of the church asked us if we would like to come in and view the inside.

The Presbyterian Church built in 1903.

An antique organ.

A wooden umbrella bench as you enter the church.  In Astoria I'm sure it is used a lot.

The ceiling is made of sculpted wood and the original organ pipes are still in use.

All the windows were original stained glass.

We went over the bridge to Washington to see RVing friends we had met while staying near Crater Lake.

Marc and Jocelyn Beeger are from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and travel the US during the summer months.  They took us to  dinner at a great restaurant called "The Depot" in Seaside, WA, and we enjoyed delicious local salmon.  Doesn't get any better than that!

We also spent a day in Long Beach, WA, at a sand castle festival.

It was a beautiful, sunny, day and the water looked so inviting.  We saw many young people wading and playing near the water's edge but there were signs up along the beach banning swimming because of the dangerous riptides.

Dogs and horses were allowed on the beach and everyone was having a great time.

A young pony walking along with the other horses.

The sand castles were unreal.  Several were done by 'professionals' but most others were amateurs.  While we were there everyone was waiting for the judging to begin.

Hard to believe these sculptures are made from just sand and water.

The checkerboard.

This one was titled, "First Kiss".

While in Astoria, several people told us about a restaurant in town that was famous for its fish and chips.  We decided to try it out one day for lunch.  They said the restaurant was an old ship but had great food.
This is the Bowpicker.

Their only menu.

The main kitchen where you placed your order.

It was a very busy place and people were waiting in line..

Brett carrying our order down.  We found a place at a picnic table and dug in. 
We also visited one of the state parks that had this old shipwreck sitting on the beach.

It was a sailing ship called the Peter Iredale and it wrecked in 1906.

The section near the front of the picture is a smoke stack from the ship.  Most of the ship appears to be buried under sand.

We also visited the south jetty of the Columbia River built by the Army Corps of Engineers.  The jetties were built between 1885 and 1895 to keep the mouth of the Columbia River from moving around, to narrow the current to help flush out river sediment, and to keep the beach sand from clogging the river mouth.

Water and wind piled sand against the south jetty, building the shoreline up and out.  The shoreline is now a mile further west than when Lewis and Clark were here in 1805.

Since we were in Oregon we had to drive down the coast and visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  They had a section with free samples of their cheese varieties.  We went through it know Brett and cheese !  We also had several scoops of delicious Tillamook ice cream.  Yummmmm.
Here it is and the place was hopping, with visitors and workers.

There was a self-guided tour where you could watch the cheese being processed.  Approximately 1 million pieces of cheese are packaged a week by two shifts of workers.

Aged blocks of cheese are cut into individual pieces on three different packaging lines.  Each piece is run over a scale called a  checkweigher.  Off-weight pieces are directed to the side. Underweight pieces are patched; overweight pieces are trimmed.

The work is fast paced and the people are on their feet all day.  I wouldn't want to do it.

Above are eight stainless steel vats that hold approximately 53,500 pounds of fresh milk.  On average, each vat makes three batches of cheese per day.  It takes 10 lbs (1.6 gallons) of milk to make 1 pound of  cheese  More than 1.7 million pounds of milk arrive at the plant each day making 167,000 pounds of cheese.

 On the way home from Tillamook, we stopped and took some photos on scenic Highway 101.

This part of the coast was beautiful and sunny.

We wished we would have stayed here.

Maybe on our next trip.......

On our last day the Captain decided to take us on a hike up Saddle Mountain.  It is a little inland from where we were staying but was supposed to have beautiful views.  The climb was from 1,500 feet to 3,500 feet.  The trail was rugged and on the difficult side.

Areas where the trail was failing they used large pieces of lumber to cross over. 

As we climbed higher we saw many flowering plants on the rock formations.  You notice the photo isn't real bright......

There were also fields of wildflowers everywhere..........those that we could see.

As the view disintegrated, so did the trail.  The park service put down loose chunks of gravel with a wire mesh over the top.  This held the trail in place and probably would have been okay if it was dry.

As we reached the top we were greeted by a good rain and zero visibility.  After sitting there for a few minutes we started the 2.5 mile hike down.  Now the trail was very wet and very slippery and it was quite the challenge to get back down.  The amazing thing was that as we were climbing down there were other people climbing up and they seemed oblivious to the wet condition.  I decided they were natives!

This is the Astoria Column sitting above the city.  It has 125 steps to the top with a panoramic view of the whole area.

Some more views of Astoria, Oregon.

And now, on to Washington State and more adventures.  Peace !

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