We woke up this morning in the Bambi to a torrential rain squall. I though, “Oh no, here we go again.” And it did continue to sputter and spurt for awhile, but eventually, after coffee, breakfast, a morning dog walk around the campground and the daily clean-up, it basically stopped soaking us.
By the time we had a pleasant morning pick-up Three Cups Coffee House inside Columbia River Coffee Roasters, it was just wetting us. We were fueled with an excellent cappuccino, a funky and tasty “Nutty Irishman” latte and a fresh-baked lemon poppyseed muffin, and supplied with a pound of ground beans for the Bambi, we were ready to get some fresh air in our lungs and blood flow in our legs.
We retrieved the dogs from the back seat of the truck and headed out. First stop was the Astoria Municipal Marina. Folks, this is not the center of fine yachting. I’m not certain what the current state of affairs is at the marina, but it was less than half-full, mostly pleasure boats, and with a few exceptions, most of the vessels appeared generally abandoned. Maybe if a local reads this, s/he can fill us in.
We proceeded to inspect The Cannery Pier Hotel and Spa, which was on the other end of the spectrum: quite lovely, warm, dry and inviting. We then picked up our pace and headed off down the Astoria Riverwalk. It is mostly through the industrial waterfront of a working city. On this gloomy and chilly, damp (but not raining) morning we had it mostly to ourselves, and we enjoyed views of the river and the Astoria-Megler Bridge, which, at 4.1 miles long is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.
After our walk we indulged in a leisurely visit to the Columbia River Maritime Musum, which offers an excellent history of the river, maritime activities, the Coast Guard and pilots in the area. Very impressive, and not so big that an hour or two allows you to enjoy the entire museum. We’ve always known about the challenges of the famous Columbia River Bar, and thoroughly enjoyed this up-close visit and explanation.
By the time we finished the at the museum and walked the dogs around the waterfront property, we were hungry and thirsty. Our noses led us to the highly-recommended Bridgewater Bistro, where we relaxed and re-charged with a lovely Oregon Iris Pinot Gris for me, an amber ale for Bruce, and a shared green salad and Hungarian mushroom dill soup. All were excellent, and the views of the river, the bridge and shipping in the river were pleasant.
For the afternoon, we drove back towards our campground and explored Fort Stevens State Park. We were anxious to get a glimpse of the famous Columbia River Bar and the two jetties that have been built to try to control conditions at the entrance. Wow. We climbed the small lookout tower. While the jetty was too long to really see in its entirety, it’s scope is impressive and the waters, waves and rip currents were wild, even under relatively calm conditions.
We wandered around various parts of the park and gave the dogs as much opportunity for free roaming as we could. They deserved it, as they have been such troopers on this 8,000-mile (to date!) road trip. The four of us were finally rewarded with a welcome glimpse of the sun breaking through the clouds. How do you spell “relief”?! It felt very good!
After exploring the Park it was back to the Bambi to relax and plan for dinner. What a nice day it was in Astoria, and so special not to have to deal with constant cold driving rain. We haven’t truly explored since leaving Napa, and we have missed so much because of the weather.