Tag Archive | Fort Stevens State Park

Astoria 2016 – The First Days…

I needed a trip to get back on the solo travel horse.  It had been while since I had traveled by myself, but my new reality is that I won’t always have someone to travel with, and if I want to keep traveling, I knew I had better get used to doing it by myself again.

I booked a long weekend trip to Astoria, Oregon in November, 2016.  Close enough to drive to, in case I decided I really wanted to come home early.  Far enough away that it wouldn’t be too easy to come home early…

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I headed out mid-morning on Thursday, for the long drive.  Traffic wasn’t too bad and I made it to Astoria about 3 pm, enough time to do just a little touristing before the light faded for the day.  I headed out to Fort Stevens State Park, to walk on the beach and see the Peter Iredale.  I have blogged about the Peter Iredale before, but this trip I had more time to walk along the beach and enjoy the ocean.  The tension of the long car ride melted away as I walked along the beach.  It was too cloudy to catch a beautiful sunset, but it wasn’t raining, and it was warm!  Certainly more than one can typically hope for on a November Northwest day.

I checked into my hotel and discovered it was just a short walk away from the pier where the sea lions like to hang out!  It was dark when I got there that first evening, but I could definitely hear them!  I know some people think they are loud and a nuisance, but I was excited about the idea of waking up to their barks in the morning!

Dinner was at the Rogue Brewery in Astoria.  I walked there from the hotel and parked myself at the bar.  I had the Sriracha Tacos and the Fruit Salad Cider, which is made with Rogue Farms Cherries, Rogue Farms Plums, Apples, Pears, Marionberries, Peaches & Apricots; Pacman Yeast – they pack a lot in there!  I also had a schooner sized Chocolate Stout.  I chatted with some Canadians who were making their way back up north, and got hit on by a drunken guy almost 20 years my junior.  Thankfully, the bartender seemed ready to intervene on that one if needed…

A good night all in all, capped off by hearing the sea lions barking some more on my way back to the hotel.  I left the window open so I could hear them as I drifted off to sleep…

Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday I slept in; it was a holiday after all!  After a leisurely morning, I headed out into a beautiful late fall day.  Of course, I made a beeline for the sea lions, to check them out in the daylight!  There were so many of them – I spent awhile watching them and taking pictures.

Then I headed downtown, and poked around in the shops and antique stores.  I had no agenda and nowhere to be and it was glorious!

My late lunch was at T Paul’s Urban Cafe.  I had the Hood River salad – grilled chicken breast served over spring greens w/ fresh Anjou pear, fuji apples, candied walnuts, tomato, bleu cheese crumbles & bleu cheese dressing.  Yum!  I had a beer too – just because!  Why not when you are on vacation!

After lunch, I did some more wandering and ended up finding a little thrift shop that had 2 Howard Pierce geese for my collection for $15.  Score!

I wrapped up my afternoon wandering at the Fort George Brewery.  I have been there once before and the beer is awesome!  I ended up having the Seafood Chowder and 2 Willapa Bay oyster shooters, along with an IPA and a Pekko Pale Ale.  Everything I had was delicious!

The rows of windows at the Fort George Brewery!


I also checked out the Albatross & Co., a cocktail bar around the corner.  The drinks were fabulous, and the atmosphere was very eclectic and cool.  I sat on a couch near an electric fireplace – you know the kind with those fake flames.  A great place to end the evening, before heading back to the hotel.

It was a great two days, and I still had two left!


Oregon Coast 2015: Rocks, Shipwrecks and Bombs

The second night of our Oregon Coast camping trip, my Mom was kind enough to load me up with some warm blankets, and I was nice and toasty in my sleeping bag, which meant that I slept a lot better! Sunday dawned warmer too, so we hung out with the kids as they played on the playground.

Shortly before noon we headed out to begin our long drive home, with a few planned stops along the way.

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock is an iconic sea stack jutting out of the ocean just off the beach in Cannon Beach, Oregon.  Although there are many other “Haystack Rocks” around, including three others in Oregon, this is the actual, real one…  No really, I swear…  You have probably seen it, even if you haven’t been here, as it was featured in the opening scenes of The Goonies, when the bad guys are trying to flee across the beach.

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

It had been several years since I had been there, and Jon had never seen it, so we parked and strolled along the beach for a little while.  It is still beautiful.

From the beach, the Tillamook Rock Light is visible in the distance.  It was completed in 1881, with a First Order Fresnel lens, and at the time, was the most expensive lighthouse constructed on the West Coast.  The commute was so treacherous for light keepers that it became known as Terrible Tilly.  It was decommissioned in 1957, and over the years, the wind and surf have eroded the rock, damaged the lighthouse and shattered the lens.  It is now privately owned, and an unofficial columbarium.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse - built 1881.

Tillamook Rock Light – built 1881.

The Peter Iredale and Fort Stevens State Park

The Peter Iredale was a cargo ship that ran aground on the Oregon Coast, October 25, 1906, while it was en-route to the Columbia River. She was built in 1890, was 287 feet long and was made from steel plates on an iron frame. She was named for her owner, who also owned an entire fleet in England. She grounded during a storm, and a lifeboat was dispatched to rescue the 27 stranded crew and 2 stowaways. All lives were saved.

The wreck of the Peter Iredale

The wreck of the Peter Iredale

Originally the intention was to tow the ship back into the sea, but after several weeks of waiting for good weather, the ship got ever more embedded in the sands, and she was ultimately sold for scrap. The bow, ribs and masts remained as a reminder of the wreck, and are now a popular tourist attraction. Interestingly, during World War II, Japanese submarines fired on the wreck of the Peter Iredale, so barbed wire was strung along the beach to hamper any planned invasion. The ship became entwined in the barbed wire and remained that way until the end of the war.

Jon with the Peter Iredale

Jon with the Peter Iredale

Fort Stevens was an active fort from the Civil War through World War II (although it wasn’t always manned), and had 3 batteries protecting the mouth of the Columbia River. Battery Russell was built between 1903 and 1904 and armed with two 10” disappearing guns. During the attack from the Japanese submarine, several shells landed near Battery Russell, but the order was given to hold return fire, and after 16 minutes of shelling, the submarine submerged and left. Did you know there had been a World War II attack on U.S. soil, other than Pearl Harbor?

Battery Russell at Fort Stevens State Park

Battery Russell at Fort Stevens State Park


An American Robin on a chain at Battery Russell

An American Robin on a chain at Battery Russell

It would have been fun to tour the other two batteries, but I had more sightseeing planned for us!