This past weekend was wonderful and sad all at the same time. We saw some amazing coastal areas, quaint little towns and beautiful skies, but we had to say good-bye to Ryan and Jaime. They’re moving to Ithaca, New York.
Saturday was their last day in Seattle and we decided to drive with them to Portland. Since they still had some moving stuff to do, we got a head start, taking some back roads and old alignments, mostly of Old US 99. We were often in the shadow of I-5. Driving through towns like Roy, Rainier and Tenino were a nice break from city driving.
In Tenino, we saw an old marker for the Oregon Trail. It was actually the Cowlitz Trail at this point, but neat anyway. We saw a huge tree house in Centralia, as well as a restored train station (still in use).
Our first glimpse of Mount St. Helens came just after Chialis. We pulled over right after a sign that read: “EAT” in big letters. I love those. Jackson Highway took us south past the Jackson House, home of John R. Jackson and his wife, early pioneers in this area (1845).
Toledo, Washington, a grubby little town with an IGA, I saw one of the coolest murals in all my years of traveling. It was done up like the outside of a movie theater with “posters” advertising area attractions like the Jackson House, the Cowlitz Mission and Mt. St. Helens. Very fun. The town also boasted a pizza shop with a huge cross on top of it. Strange.
The biggest town before Vancouver, WA is Longview. It was nice and to be honest, the scenery so far wasn’t much to write about. We went through a lot of ex-prairie. We drove around Longview, somehow missing the “Nutty Narrows Squirrel Bridge.” We need to start researching this stuff before leaving on trips.
The kids (ages two and four) seemed to think that Sarah and I owned the motel. That was pretty neat and sort of makes me want to own a motel someday. Maybe someday. We hung out with them for a couple of hours until we were all too tired to do anything but sleep.
An hour later it was time to say good-bye. I gave Taviri and Arkaedi a bunch of hugs and kisses and hugged Ryan and Jaime so long. Sarah and I were both pretty teary as they drove away. I know they had to go and it really is better for them in the long run, but Seattle will feel very empty without them. They were what made this place home for us. I hope they come back and I know that even if they don’t, this won’t be the last time they’ll be geographically near to us. I’m going to miss them something terrible.
To lessen the sadness, we did some shopping at Food Fight, a vegan convenience store and at the Herbivore store – a storefront for the magazine. We got some snacks and I got a belt. It’s just like the one I already have, but it’s smaller because I’ve lost a little weight. Now that’s a purchase I don’t mind making!
We made out way out of Portland, heading west to the coast on US 26. Rain was on and off while we drove, but mostly it was kept to a minimum. We saw a sad “Lost Dog” flyer at a rest area – a little cartoon dog said “I miss my family.” The road was pretty, but still nothing spectacular. That is, until we reached the coast.
The town of Canon Beach was our first stop for the day. We had two sites from the movie The Goonies to visit – this was our first. In the movie, a clue to One Eyed Willie’s treasure was found in a medallion. If you matched up the rocks along the coast to the holes in the medallion, you were at the start of the search for the treasure. The largest rock is called Haystack Rock and that’s what we saw.
I took way too many pictures of this rock. The beach itself was great – tons of sand dollars had washed up. All were broken, but it was neat to see. I’ve never seen that before. On the opposite end of the beach are more rocks – also in the movie. I climbed up a really steep trail to get some better pictures. Good thing I did.
North of Canon Beach, we found Fort Stevens State Park. Within that park is an old ship wreck and a battery installation originally built around the time of the Civil War. We got to poke around both. The fort was fired upon by a Japanese sub during World War II. They fired 17 rounds at the base, making it the first time since the War of 1812 that a continental US military installation was fired upon. Fort Stevens, however, did not fire back in fears of giving away their position to the enemy.
Next up was Astoria, Oregon, home of The Goonies! We found the house and thankfully the owners are proud of their Goonie heritage. A sign at the bottom of their driveway welcomed all Goonies on foot, asking us not to drive up to the house. Another few folks were there and one guy even did the Truffle Shuffle (I tried to get Smartz to do it, but she refused). The house itself look much better than it did in the movie. Data’s house was right next to it. One thing I forgot to do was get my own picture taken in front of it. Oh well, next time. We saw a bunch of seals there too. Even an old street car. Astoria is amazing and I can’t wait to go back.
Across the Columbia River from Astoria is Fort Columbia, one of the defenses build in the early 1900s. It reminded me most of Fort Casey, which we visited a couple of months ago. This wasn’t nearly as large, but it did have a couple of really huge canons.
We poked around for a bit and then headed to Cape Disappointment to do some more poking around. There was an old artillery instillation there too (named Fort Canby). Unfortunately, we weren’t able to spend too much time there. It was named by a member of the Lewis & Clark expedition – he had hoped to find boats there, but did not.
With the day slipping away from us, we decided to head north to Long Beach. This is probably as close to the Jersey Shore as the west coast is going to get. There’s a boardwalk, but nothing on it (in the Jersey sense). All of those shops are in the downtown area. There’s even bumpercars, nasty food and Marsh’s Free Museum.
The Free Museum was great! Mostly it’s a huge gift shop with some great old contraptions inside. You’ll have to see the pictures.
Long Beach boasts not only the longest beach in the world (really?), but the largest frying pan as well.
The trip home was actually really nice. We stayed on US 101 and went through a bunch of small towns that, upon first glance, seem to deserve little mention, but all of them are worth a second look. Raymond, for example, had the coolest playground that I’ve ever seen. Also, it has a great old theater. Most of the towns were like this (though maybe not on the level of Raymond).
We arrived back in Seattle well after 9pm. I wish we could have spent more time at these places and I really do wish that we didn’t have to say good-bye to Ryan and Jaime.
All in all a wonderful weekend! Thanks for reading.