Road Trip Du Jour

After working many long stretches at a time Rick decided it was time to go for a quick weekend away.  We enjoy our road trips and haven't done one since we went to the Salt Flats in Utah last August.  I suggested the northern coast of Oregon this time.

Rick got home Friday and we hit the road. Kinda. Fridays around here are notorious for AWFUL traffic that's heading out of town in any direction.  We didn't check the time but it was a minimum of an hour that we crawled south on I-5.  Maybe an hour and a half.  We knew it would be there, the traffic, and so it wasn't too frustrating. 

We opted to take the scenic highway 6 west past a few small towns - Pe Ell, Frances, and Labam to name a few.  It was getting dark so we couldn't do much photography along the way but it was definitely photo worthy.  Well have to redo that stretch someday.

We got to the town of Raymond on the banks of the Willapa River and headed south toward the Columbia river.  The towns along that stretch were all interesting as well but it was getting seriously dark by then.  We did shoot a few shots in South Bend. And the low tide that wasn't quite filling the Willapa Bay, along with a slight sunset made for a few interesting tide flats shots.  At one point we headed into a meadow/field area and noticed the fog rolling in like a blanket.  Then we spotted some cows out there in all that fog!


We ended our day in Astoria, Oregon.  What a cool town! Kind of like a mini- San Francisco! Lots of interesting old buildings.  A waterfront.  A trolley (along the waterfront, not going up and down the hills).  Funky, eclectic stores and eateries.  Wild colors on some of the buildings.  We found an inexpensive motel on the outskirts of town - Crest Motel.

Let me tell you about Crest Motel.  First off, don't pay for the "view" room, it appears that all the rooms (or those on the second floor, at least) are view rooms.  Our room had a pretty strong, nasty odor.  But the bed was good, the shower worked well, it was fairly quiet and quietly warm. The strangest thing about it, though, was that the place seems to have switched its entries from back to front.  What greeted me when I open the door was the shower - then the toilet!

We had a delicious breakfast at the Astoria Coffeeshop & Bistro. Its prices were just mildly more than we like to pay but the quality made up for the extra expense.  Rick had a salmon and cream cheese omelette with capers.  It was STUFFED with smoked salmon!  The coffee was superb and as a garnish they had watercress instead of the usual parsley...

Going back through my pictures I remembered a stop worth mentioning - the Astoria Column.  It's a tower with a spiral staircase to the top. It has 164 steps and coming down was huge for someone who's always dizzy anyway!  It was a whole buck for an annual pass!  Apparently it was the 12th and final historical marker of Ralph Budd's (president of the Great Northern Railroad) project to build between St. Paul, MN and Astoria.  So now we'll have to catch the other 11.  

We next stopped at Fort Stevens to check out Battery Russell and the 107-year-old shipwreck of the Peter Iredale.  There are batteries, forts, bunkers and lighthouses that were built to protect this coast during war time as far back as the Civil War.  The battery was very fun to explore. I used the ruins to practice a photography technique I'd like to use in Ireland.  It worked pretty nice!

We continued on down to Seaside and decided to splurge on a slightly up-scale hotel room, one with a fireplace, kitchenette and a view! It was perfect, we totally enjoyed it!  It was timely for us to get it when we did too, there were only 4 rooms left when we got ours.  We couldn't figure out what all the crowds were about, but the next morning we found out - between the full moon and the extreme low tide it was the optimal time to go clam digging!  The shore was covered with all shapes and ages of clam diggers - and their dogs!

So Saturday we got up and started exploring again.  We saw the shores and cliffs in the Ecola State Park area and hit Cannon Beach to scope out where we needed to be to get the rocks at sunset.  Turns out there was to be no sunset (thick overcast) so that left our schedule wide open.  We explored, went to our room and  vegged in front of our *fake* fireplace, hit the hot tub, ate Subway sandwiches for dinner and had a couple beers.  Good, relaxing day.

Sunday AM we decided to again treat ourselves to a restaurant breakfast, this time in the one in the hotel, since they handed out a 15% discount coupon when we booked our room.  We had much simpler fare this time and our entire meal including tip was under $20!


We decided to drive home by first heading east in Oregon on hwy 30 and catch the bridge across the Columbia to Longview.  Then we took I-5 north towards Mossyrock to visit a tulip field we didn't know existed til we got a message from the Tacoma Photo Society that they were going on a field trip there.  It was a very nice spot that was actually closed on Sunday but everything was still accessible.  We had the place nearly to ourselves.  They even allowed you to walk into their tulip fields!  We first found their Show Garden that was absolutely stunning, lots of perfect blooms in a narrow walled garden with moss-covered trees in bloom and winding pathways.

In the past we've driven up I-5 on Sunday afternoon.  It's worse than the Friday rush out of town... So we used our eastern location (in Mossyrock) and took the scenic route home.  It was great to miss that freeway mob!

So - 'nother road trip under our belts.  Next one to come in 5 1/2 weeks - IRELAND!!!


1 cats hacked up hairballs:

Melinda April 29, 2013 at 11:09 PM  

Great trip! But dang, you were so close to our place.... BTW,did you know Lebam is Mable spelled backward? It was the town founder's wife's name.

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After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

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