Sunday, June 5, 2011

Forts and Green Dot Roads;-)

Only one day left on the Oregon Coast - in Fort Stevens State Park. Figured it was time to find out what this Fort was all about - along with all the ‘fuss’ about Lewis & Clark and Fort Clatsop. Here comes another history lesson - so, if you just want the travelogue you might want to skip the first half of this posting;-(

Magic had now been parked in the campground portion of Fort Stevens for a couple of nights, and it was time to find out where the ‘Fort’ was and what it had to say for itself. LOTS!!

Here comes the “Did you know?”:

Fort Stevens was constructed during the Civil War and remained active until shortly after World War II! “Why in the world was a Fort necessary at the mouth of the Columbia in this far-away territory during the Civil War?” - you might ask. The British and pirates were ‘hanging around’ the area, and Lincoln was afraid that the British - who were siding with the South - would invade from here - and confiscate this territory. Although, if the South had won the Civil War - there was no need for the British to confiscate as this territory had been promised to them by the South for their assistance. The British were NOT really fond of “The Union” and were very willing to assist the South. And so, Fort Stevens was constructed and manned in 1864 - The only fort of its type on the west coast.

Try to imagine the moat and drawbridge that protected this original entrance to Fort Stevens.

The Fort was not really utilized during the first World War. In fact, four of the primary guns were removed and shipped to France to bolster the allied defenses. However, during World War II, a group of batteries was constructed along the west coast to supplement the harbor defenses. Fort Stevens is the only continental US fortification bombed during WWII (in fact since the War of 1812!) - struck by shells from a Japanese submarine off the coast on June 21, 1942!! During WWII barracks were constructed to house 2,500 soldiers. Today - there are only remnants of the installation to view.

Riding in this deuce and a half brought back a few Air Force memories for G.
E just thought she was in the Mash 4077!!

The bunkers remain but most of the large guns and mortar launchers are gone.

After our Jeep Tour of Fort Stevens, we were off to Lewis and Clark’s (The Corps of Discovery) Fort Clatsop. Not sure what was expected after viewing the intricate Fort Stevens - but, what we saw was not it. We were underwhelmed at the same time we were terribly impressed?!?! Fort Clatsop (the Clatsop Indians were one of the tribes that helped ensure the survival of the Corps) was the winter encampment for the Corps of Discovery from December 1805 to March 1806 while they prepared food and supplies for their return trip across the territory they had traversed and mapped. We were underwhelmed as the Fort was barely larger than Magic - but, we were terribly impressed that the entire Corps of more than 20 could live here for months along with stockpiles of supplies!!

Ft. Clatsop was very small. Very tight quarters for Lewis & Clark and the Corp.

After this day of history lessons, we needed something mindless(??) like a round of golf. Seems like the oldest (there is that -est again!) golf course in Oregon might fit the bill. Figured we might stand half a chance on this one - fooled us. One of the worst rounds of golf for both of us so far this spring;-( The upside is we played with friends - Jo & Greg - we have met along the way.

Fun course. The rain cooperated for the most part.

Since food is never far from our thoughts, we headed to the cute little village of Gearhart (home of chef and cookbook author James Beard) to drown our golf woes - and had a ‘snack’ at Beard’s Pacific Way Bakery and Cafe.

Friday was another moving day. And, this one was a long one - 177 miles!! This was REALLY difficult to cope with when for the last 6 weeks we had been doing anywhere from 20 - 60 miles at a stretch on moving day. Perhaps another GREEN Dot road would make the drive a little more tolerable. So - a GREEN Dot road it was! Sometime mid-morning Gary pulled over on a wide spot along the Columbia River to let the ‘caravan ‘ behind us pass. As long as we were stopped - a snack and a cup of tea were perhaps in order. So - we climbed out of Magic to watch the river flow by while we drank and next thing we knew this cargo ship was coming at us. (Hard to think of Portland as a 'port'!) Boy was this thing BIG - and did it leave a wake!

The Columbia River is a major shipping route.

Our new camp is awesome!! The best thing about it is - it is about 80 degrees during the day and maybe 60 at night. We can actually sit out, watch the College Women’s World Series of Softball, make s’mores and enjoy the evenings WITHOUT three layers of clothes and almost no bugs. E is in HEAVEN!!!!

Enjoying the warmer weather we found at our new location and watching ASU in the college softball world series.

To celebrate the good weather, we wandered down Historic Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway - Historic US 30 - the oldest GREEN Dot road (scenic route) in the country. The KING of GREEN Dots!! It was built beginning in 1913, and still retains its old road character and charm -

Nice drive with great scenery.

Wonderful Old Bridges.

The original white guard rails were replaced in the mid 80's.

One of the highlights of this historic highway is the aptly named Vista House. Built in 1917 to mark the completion of the road, this was to be - and is - a place for the tourist to stop, rest and take in the view from over 700 feet above the Columbia River.

This unusual looking building didn't seem very utilitarian as a traveler's waypoint-BUT -

The view was fantastic!!

The magnificent highlight is the series of waterfalls along this wonderfully charming old road. The biggest and best is Multnomah Falls, which drops 620 feet into a densely forested canyon, bridged by a delicate concrete arch. Can you find Gary??

Multnomah Falls.

Hello down there

Latourell Falls.

We capped off our day in the car with the sun roof open and the wind blowing through our hair with a dinner cruise down the mighty Columbia River on the Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge.

Ready for our evening dinner cruise.

What a beautiful evening that made E feel like “The Queen of the World”!!!

I'm Queen of the world!

Ahhhhhh!!!!! What a little really good weather does for the attitude;-)

The little village we are staying in - Cascade Locks - is quite cute with the little Main Street (Post Office and Ice Cream stand!) - AND a municipal airport!!

The Cascade Locks municipal airport.

E & G - Sailing off into the sunset on the Columbia River -

Say goodnight.

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