“Cape Disappointment” is located just across the Oregon border in Washington. We made a road trip last week to attempt to whale watch from the shores but arrived slightly after the ideal time. Like most things in the Pacific northwest, it didn’t really matter because of all the other amenities the area offered.
The spectacular views of the ocean were breathtaking to say the least. We started the day looking over a beautiful shore with enormous douglas firs seemingly growing out of rocks. We watched enormous waves crash miles of beach and stood quiet for 30 minutes to listen to the engulfing sound. Neither of us had ever seen such a wide beach before, but no spouts…at this point who cared?
We made our way over to the “Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center” to tie all of the sights together with history. It’s a small museum but certainly not lacking in information. We wandered aimlessly picking displays to read and educate ourselves about area history as much as possible. One quote from Lewis Clark (November 18, 1805) in particular caught my attention: “Men appear much satisfied with their trip beholding with estonishment the high waves dashing against the rocks and this emence ocian”. I can only imagine what these men went through on their two year journey (really it was longer if you count supply gathering in Pittsburgh etc…). Of course it’s hard not to look at the quote and reminisce about our own journey. While not nearly as long and dangerous, it was every bit as frightening to Ginger and I. I say “was” because we have finally realized that we’ve accomplished a great deal in the last few months. This journey of ours has been a test on many levels that neither of us expected.
After the interpretive center we made our way back over the border to Oregon and stopped in Astoria for lunch. Of course as we have been attempting to become Oregonians, we’ve had to discover certain secrets for ourselves (and bribed some locals and friends for the real skinny). I’ve talked about food numerous times (I’m Italian…I’m allowed) so it should come as no surprise I’m going to mention our lunch spot. What WILL come as surprise to those of you that know me is that I had fish at lunch. I had been craving fish and chips and we decided on a little place that had apparently been a staple in the area for a while. Score! As we waited in line a native struck up a conversation with us which would continue on a picnic bench under a tree with him and his wife (after we both received our food). This place had been there a while and it was a mother and daughter run business…where the mother cooks and the daughter does almost everything else. They use Albacore tuna that they catch fresh in the bay for the fish. It was as excellent as you can imagine…The best part you ask? The boat! You wouldn’t know it was a restaurant if the line wasn’t so long….because people line up on the bow port side of the boat and move at slower than snail’s pace.
The nice couple we met told us of a sight we needed to see while in Astoria, known as the “Astoria Column”. Another secret unlocked…at this point we need start “leveling up” like in a video game to keep track of the discoveries. The column was completed in 1926 and sits on Coxcomb Hill. The column itself is 125 feet (164 steps to the top) combine that with the elevation of 600 feet of the hill and you have a marvelous view of the Pacific ocean bays, and the mouth of the Columbia river. It was a chilly day but we managed to climb to the top of the column and take in the magnificent beauty from 725 feet above sea level. Awe inspiring to say the least.
Looking at how far we’ve come in three months, it’s hard not to be proud. As hard as it was for Ginger and I to leave friends and family, we both knew it would not be hard to leave Texas. After seeing so much in such little time in Oregon, we know the right choice was made. The concentration of natural beauty that surrounds us in Oregon is astronomical and something that a Texan can’t comprehend. No matter how many pictures we post…no matter how many trips we take…it isn’t enough. It doesn’t even scrape the surface of what we’ve seen thus far, and that’s only in eight weeks (unemployed mind you). Couple all that with the emotional as well as physical uprooting, it’s been quite the trip. And if we “appear much satisfied”…well it’s because we are.