We left Shady Firs RV Park and the Cascade Mountains and headed west on state road 12. We started dropping in elevation as we headed toward Fort Stevens State Park where we will stay for a week. On to Interstate 5 we went south till we got to Kelso and took state road 30 west along the Columbia River. The most exciting part of the trip was traveling across the Kelso bridge into Oregon as there was a lot of construction near and on the bridge. Once across we pulled out along an overlook where the views of the Columbia River, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens were awesome on this rare sunny day along the northwest coastal area.
Fort Stevens State Park is the northern most point in Oregon on the Clatsop Spit. This park features historic sites and has more camping spaces than any state park we have ever been in. Oregon State Parks seem to have fewer rules than any other state’s park we have been to as well. They even allow public consumption of alcohol which we have never seen before. We are in loop N and there are a mixture of sites with full hookups and those with only water/electrical. Since we are here through July 4th the park filled up by today with only a few sites remaining.
It has been typical of weather in June here as we have seen drizzle to light rain for the past few days. We managed to squeeze in a bike ride to the Wreck of the Peter Iredale on the beach in the park, watched some people fishing and bringing in some nice trout, and toured the town of Astoria. We are waiting for tomorrow for a promised break in the weather to take a drive to Tillamook and visit the stacks off of Cannon Beach.
A couple of highlights in Astoria were the Astoria Column and a visit to one of the microbreweries. The Astoria Column is just north of the historic town of Astoria and the park features a column with historic murals painted around it. The main feature is the 164 step staircase that leads to the top of the column. Tiring to say the least but upon reaching the top, the panoramic views of the Columbia River and surrounding coastal mountains is breathtaking even on a cloudy day as we experienced.
One reason we came here was to visit Christina a friend of ours from Texas who moved here. She came to get her PhD here and returned to head up a seafood lab for Oregon State University. We met her at her lab and toured her facility where we can all thank people like Christina for making our seafood safer to eat. After she got off work we met her at the Wet Dog Saloon for a sampling of their microbrews.
Christina is a recent widow after her husband, and one of my very good friends, passed away not long ago. We reminisced over a few stories of Big Benny and shared a few laughs over stories from the past. The beers at the Wet Dog café and brewery were all very good but Sharon settled for a nice Pilsner called Lincoln Lager and after sampling the IPA’s I chose the Bitter Bitch Imperial IPA which was wonderful and very hoppy. We look forward to visiting more with our friend and exploring in and around the town of Astoria.