For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between March 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Aug 5, 2010

Where is Jack, Day 116?

I just realized I must have numbered days wrong somewhere along the way. As she was dumping, Nancy got a call from another member of the purple glove society. She went through the right of passage; however, as she does everything, she did it in the most discreet way possible. She didn't earn her gloves with all the WACs and a whole campground watching as Nancy did, with Wilson's help. Enough about that, however.

As smoothly as the hook up went, the drive was another story. Not too far up the coast, there was a detour and the dashboard witch directed Nancy onto a road that dead ended in the middle of a forest. It started out fine, along a river, and then got narrower and narrower. Then we saw a sign that said "Gate Ahead". We knew that meant trouble. There was a ditch in front and on both sides of a 1 lane gravel road. Nancy learned from Miss Pantless to mark "No Dirt Roads". I guess gravel is different than dirt? Anyway, no houses and miles from civilization. It took an hour to turn around. At first, Nancy said, "Thank god I had the hitch put on the front of the truck," but then realized there was no room to turn the truck around and get in front to hook up. So, she backed up, as I directed her, until the road was just a little wider and then she went two inches forward, two inches back, two inches forward, two inches back. I was getting seasick! Finally, though, we were out! Yeah!!

Our next encounter was the Astoria Bridge. Nancy whispered under her breath as it came into sight, "Ohmigawd, Gail would NOT like this at all!" Then, in a lower whisper, "Too late, now. (sigh)" That kind of scared me, but up, up, up we went. It was two lanes and VERY high. Then, it comes down and is a couple of miles of about 50 feet above the river. The view of the mouth of the Columbia is incredible. We've been over a lot of rivers, but the Columbia is, by far, the most exciting.

"The 4.21 mile long Astoria Bridge opened in 1966. It is the longest continuous truss span bridge in the world. It had a $1.50 toll until 1994, when the bridge was paid for and the toll was removed. The bridge has more than 200 feet of clearance on the Oregon side so the huge ships can pass beneath it in the shipping channel. It is 150 feet more to the top of the span. It has been featured in several car and truck commercials and the 1985 movie ‘Short Circuit’ featured the bridge." - web

(The picture is from the web-Nancy couldn't get a picture of it. Thank goodness she didn't try.)
The Hwy 101 on the Washington coast is not like the Oregon coast. I think there may be another road closer to the coast, but we decided we'd investigate in the truck before we take the trailer. There are few campgrounds along the way, and the few state parks that we saw were full. So, we are camped along the Hoquiam River in a private park. The WAC kayakers would love the river. Nancy did take a couple of pictures when we first parked. We are very close to the ocean. We stood for a few minutes and watched a piece of wood head down stream until it got at the intersection. It went pretty swiftly until that point, then it couldn't seem to decide which way it would go.

Part of the river goes under the bridge, presumably to the ocean, the other?

This is the branch traveling down the river.

The way the Wacs would paddle

It's a very pretty river.

On the ride we went mainly through wetlands, forest, some farms, and we just knew the ocean was just beyond the hills on the left, but most of the time we couldn't see it. From what I've heard, it's a rougher coast than Oregon and not as accessible. Rich and Nancy were there in 1999, but didn't spend very much time. In fact, I think they actually only went to Astoria.

We had to sign up for three days or we couldn't get a site because of the weekend coming up. Nancy was tired and stressed and decided it was okay--we could always back track to see some of the things that were interesting on the way up. We saw the most oddly colored trees in one area, and we saw whole mountain sides with the trees knocked down. There was a sign at one point that said there had been hurricane strength winds of 130 mph that came through the area. Nancy couldn't catch the year. We'll see if we can find out more about it. Nancy wants to back track to the Columbia, and also see how to get all the way up to the most northwestern part of the coast. There appears to be a road on the map, but we want to see if we should take the trailer.

It's good we didn't decide to go through mid-Washington. There's a mudslide that's blocking Wenatchee.  There are also fires in the area, and there are fires by Sisters in central Oregon. Let's hope we can keep ducking these things.

I almost forgot. We were paying 3.05 per gallon of diesel in Oregon. As soon as we crossed the border, it was 3.29.

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