Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 12 Thursday, July 7, 2011

Clarkston, Washington to Astoria, Washington
Miles Traveled Today: 452.5
Total Miles: 3875.6

"Ocean in View! Oh, the joy!" That was Lewis and Clark's journal entry when they finally reached the Pacific Ocean. We have reached  the ocean too, and we have to say that we totally agree. We are happy to be here.  It was quite a long day, but there is some relief as well as happiness that we have come this far, and for the most part, all is well.

We started off, ironically in short sleeves because the weather was so warm, even at 6:15 a.m. It was the second day in a row that we were able to follow the river for basically the entire day. We have never had such an experience where, for two straight days, the road mirrors the river. The views were outstanding.

One of the highlights was coming around a corner and there it was... Mount Hood. A beautiful snow-covered peak in the middle of what appeared a desolate landscape. Possibly the most beautiful sight we have seen thus far.

Then, the irony continued. In the middle of the day is when we do a clothing change from cool weather to hot weather gear. Today, the opposite occurred. We were in short sleeves and we crossed the final range before reaching the ocean, and the temperature dropped 25-30 degrees and plant life magically appeared. We had gone from a virtual desert to a temperate rain forest. The view of the Columbia River was obscured almost entirely by towering pines. Wildflowers were in full bloom. Despite the cool, overcast conditions, we were able to see absolutely beautiful sights.

We reached Astoria and there it was, the mouth of the Columbia, full of freighters, emptying into the Pacific Ocean, By the way, for the Twilight fans out there, it is understandable why vampires like the area. It is overcast and cold, a very odd sensation in the middle of July.

This area was the winter quarters area for Lewis and Clark during 1805-06. We will be visiting some of those sites tomorrow, then heading for our "winter camp" in Eugene, Oregon, for a couple of days. DeAnn has an uncle who has invited us to stay for a couple of days, take in the sights of the Great Northwest, and rest our behinds, so we will be ready to undertake the long journey home. In addition, we will continue to look for a replacement for Ol' Bessie. So far, we have been unsuccessful. Hopefully something will come up in the next few days.

We celebrated our arrival by going to dinner and ordering salmon and other seafood from the area. It seemed only appropriate to partake of the local cuisine, even though Lewis and Clark preferred dog and beaver tail. We have to shake our head at that one.

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