Today we started off at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. We saw a movie - The Great River of the West - about the Columbia River. This movie also explained why the Columbia River Bar is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. Over 2000 ships and 700 lives have been lost in this area where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. It is the only coastline in the continental USA designated as a "dangerous area" by the US Coast Guard. Ships entering the bar are required to take on a Bar Pilot for the 15 miles into Astoria and if the ship continues up the river, they are required to take on a River Pilot for the first 17 miles inland.
In the gift shop of the museum, Bob picked up some postcards and Barb found a print of Astoria that she liked. It was signed and numbered and featured houses from Astoria (many of which qualify for a historic designation) in a winter setting. While I was admiring the print (before deciding to buy it), one of the gift shop employees came up and said it was by one of Astoria's most famous artists and did I know that the artist was here in the gift shop today. I got a chance to talk with him and he told me about the print.
When we left the museum, we headed down to Pier 39 where Bob had been told there were sea lions. We drove out to the end of Pier 39 and saw a big sea lion even before we got to the end of the pier. We parked and Bob decided that a bowl of clam chowder would hit the spot, so we went into the restaurant for a beer and some chowder. The sea lions continued to perform for us the entire time we were eating.
Then we headed to the Astoria Column on Coxcomb Hill. It is the final, crowning monument in a series of 12 historical markers erected in the early 1900's between St. Paul, Minnesota and Astoria, Oregon. The Column is an artful summary of the triumphs, conflicts and turning points of the frontier depicting fascinating pieces of American, Indian, U.S. and Oregon history.
Next we headed to the Lewis and Clark National Park. There we saw a film about the fort that Lewis and Clark built to spend the winter of 1806. A recreation of Fort Clatsop (named after the tribe that Lewis and Clark wintered with that year) has been constructed on the site of the original fort using information from the detailed diaries of Lewis and Clark. We walked through the reconstruction and marveled that 31 explorers plus Sacagawea, her husband and her son (Jean Baptiste - nicknamed "Pomp") all lived in this fort - which appears to have less square footage than our house!
We headed back to the RV. Our RV park is attached to a 9 hole golf course and it's only $10 for 9 holes. So Bob went to play 9 holes. When he got back, he suggested a quick trip to the ocean. I promised myself to dip my toe in the Pacific Ocean on the trip in case I never get back to the west coast. So we drove out to the beach with Darby and she really seemed to like the wind whipping in off the ocean. It was almost chilly - 62 degrees and we walked down to the water and all 3 of us got our toes wet! We saw a very old ship wreck on the beach. The English sailing ship Peter Iredale ran aground in 1906 and part of the wreck still remains.
On our way back to the RV, we spied a herd of elk and pulled off the road to snap a few shots of them. Then it was home for a late dinner.