15 August - Heading to the sea
Grapes along the river, not as dry, changing to fir trees in the gorge. The panorama is absolutely beautiful. We pass Beacon Rock - the sight of the last rapids. We got a glimpse of Mt. Adams, but the trees are so tall that you can’t see very far. Discussion of the Bridge of the Gods which spanned the gorge per legend; of course there was a fight over the goddess and the bridge came down. We stopped at a lovely fall - name escapes me; drove by Ft. Vancouver, WA. It was established by Hudson Bay Trading Company.
History of the area is one of disputed national claims: Spain because of Balboa, British, and US. - 54.40 or fight vs. 49th parallel. Polk couldn’t sustain the 54.40 or fight because of the ongoing war with Mexico. British wanted down to the Columbia River. So 49th parallel became a good compromise.
Capt. Cook came in 1789 charting the coast for the British. He seems to have been rather blind in what he saw. Couldn’t figure out how to get into the mouth of the Columbia River, and couldn’t see the Juan de La Fuca Straight. Therefore assumed that neither were there. Bought sea otter pelts for $1 from the Indians and sold in China for $100. Wm Bligh was part of his crew.
We had lovely weather condition, contrary to those experience by L&C in 1805 - all wet and disagreeable. Stopped for lunch at Skamokawa Vista park on the Columbia. Tom, taking advantage of the setting, discussed the exploration of the river. The beach of the river had seashells. Then on the Yellow Bluff, saw freshly caught salmon hung up by the fishing fleet, and finally the Pacific Ocean. I almost jumped ship, but had goofed by leaving my purse on the bus. But I did get my feet in the ocean.
Dinner in Astoria was enlivened by Tom’s portrayal of William Cannon, a smithy at Ft. Vancouver. Tom used his life to illustrate history of Oregon. The hotel’s position under the bridge gave us a chance to enjoy an outstandingly wonderful sunset after a good local beer at the Triangle, a cute bar.
238 bus miles for a total of 3275
3.46 foot miles for a total of 43.35