Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Geography/History 4th of July Trek


Welcome back! Here we go the details about our 4th of July one day geography trek. I am not going to bore you with every single detail of our day, except to say for those who would like to take a map and simply follow a little of our journey we headed out from our home destined to the Washington Coast via Aberdeen the Highway 101. We headed South down the Coast, such a beautiful drive it is.

100_3101 This was one of the first of many of the pictures taken this day as Selena got to finish her study on rivers and learn a lot more as we traveled. Selena thought we were crazy when we said we were going to cross the Columbia River, as she thought we were at the ocean.

100_3096She didn’t want to go across the bridge that seemed to her to stretch out into nowhere. This bridge is 4.2 miles long that connects Washington with Oregon. Most of the bridge is just feet from the surface of the water, making one feel as if they are driving on a floating bridge. On the Oregon side, the bridge suddenly takes a steep incline across the channel of the river where ships and other vessels can easily enter the river from the ocean.

100_3104Once across the bridge we found ourselves in the historic town of Astoria, Oregon. The city is named after the first millionaire, John Jacob Astor. It was his American Fur Company better known as the Pacific Fur Company, that established Fort Astoria in 1810. The main economic resource for this area is and always has been fishing, ever wonder where your Bumble Bee Tuna came from? Well, it use to come from Astoria, Oregon until 1974 when Bumblebee moved it’s packing plants elsewhere.

Now the town is rich with history. There is museums all over the place, old homes which all bear the infamous ‘Widow’s Peak”. The Widow Peak is the tallest point of the house, which had a small round or octagon window, where the women would go stand watch for their man to return from sea.

100_3106 Curious over where this road led us? From the center of the town of Astoria to the South the landscape goes straight up a steep hill side. Michael remembers when the hill side gave away and all the old homes literally slid down the hill towards town and the Columbia River. Anyway this road leads clear up to the highest point, Coxcomb Hill in Astoria, where the Astor family along with Burlington Railroad erected the most beautiful column that looks out over Astoria.

100_3111 100_3120 The detailed artwork on the column is something to be seen. The column was erected in 1926 and stands 125 feet high. A spiral stair case takes you to the very top, where a look out observation deck has been established. We did not go up the column, as I for one did not think Selena would handle these stairs up and down as well as she did the lighthouse. The Mural on the column actually represents 16 historical facts that helped to carve out what Astoria is, from Captain Gray who discovered the Columbia River, to the Lewis and Clark expedition.

100_3115 This is an Indian burial canoe that was erected near the Astoria Column to give honor to Chief Comcomly, I think the next two pictures describe this better then I can.

100_3117 100_3118 For those who have not pulled out a map to follow our adventure, Selena made sure to point out for all of you just where we went.

100_3121 When we left here we stayed on the Oregon side and followed the Columbia River. We stopped in Clatskanie, Oregon along our way. We had been in Clatskanie last year to see some of my family but Selena didn’t remember any of it. Michael and I knew that the road leading up to the High School was painted with the red paw prints representing the school mascot a tiger, but Selena thought they looked like Clifford’s paw prints. Darn she missed Clifford both years now.

100_3127We continued our travels on the Oregon side on to Rainier, Oregon where Michael’s parents lived when he was born, and where he spend most of his childhood. We crossed the river from there back to the Washington side into the town of Longview, where Michael lived throughout Junior and Senior High School and up to the time when he moved to Spokane, WA.

We followed the Columbia River again heading back towards the Pacific Ocean where we stopped at the County Line, park. It is more of a nitch in the road, where campers have taken over one end of it, and the banks are always full of fishermen.  As we sat there enjoying the river and watching the birds swoop into the waters to catch fish, we looked up to see this Ship one more time. Now this is the same ship pictured in my third picture. She was moving along at such a clip that we actually got to see her again as she prepared to enter into Longview, her destination truly unknown to us. We do however know she was from Japan and proudly flew the Japan flag.

100_3136 From here we pretty much headed back to Highway 101 headed North and on back home. I would have loved to have tried to go to a view point to see Mount St Helens but when we mentioned it Selena informed us, “No Way I don’t want her to blow on us.” We will save that one for another time.

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  1. What a fun trip! That bridge is really cool!

  2. How exciting to see so much history and geography in one day. I loved the family photo - very nice!

  3. Debbie, I love your story and your writing especially. You do so well. I guess that creative writing worked. I have yet to meet Selena, but I think she is a pretty awesome little girl. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Sounds like you had a great time. I was down in the same area over the weekend. Not Astoria, but Salem. I love your writing, you do so well. As for Selena, I love her and have not even met her. She seems like such an awesome little girl.