Saturday, April 28, 2007

Astoria Adventure!

I survived the adventure, and that's saying something considering all of the things I experienced. Overall, my trip was a lot of fun, a little scary sometimes, and quite exciting. What did I do, where did I go, and who did I meet?

Getting There
The journey started right here on my blog. TH made a few comments, along with some other Astoria-area bloggers. I'd been thinking about getting out of the valley for a long time, and finally I was given a reason to leave. I requested Friday off from work, experiencing my first day of paid vacation ever. Mom and Dad woke up me early, by 7am, and I was on the road to the coast by 9am. I-5 was a nice drive north, aside from the usual Friday truck traffic. I got onto 217 and Hwy 26 without any difficulties. After a brief pit-stop not far from Banks to stretch and eat, I picked up Hwy 101 just south of Seaside, and was never lost or hesitant about my location until just south of Astoria. They have a lot of water up there, and a lot of little bridges. Holy crap, that was crazy. I made it to the Columbia River Maritime Museum just after 12:00pm.

The Museum
I've always loved visiting museums, and I've wanted to see the Maritime Museum since I first learned they had a lightship there. The museum was excellent! Few people, the opportunity to wander around on my own, and the chance to take tons of photographs made this a great museum for me. I ended up getting over a hundred photos! And there was one guy who kept following me around a little bit, trying to make small talk and conversation about the exhibits... he creeped me out. I wandered outside to the Lightship Columbia, a nearby Coast Guard cutter, and another Army ship. The Lightship was pretty neat, but I got a little seasick tied up to the dock (I'm such a wimp). I did not board either of the other two boats as the CG cutter wasn't giving tours at the time, and there was a large crowd of retired soldiers on the Army ship, and I didn't feel right intruding on their moment. A quick trip to the museum store merited me two pencils for my collection (yay!). I left the museum around 2:00pm and headed south to Tillamook on Hwy 101. By this time, I'd only consumed a can of pop, so I was well on my way to a caffeine withdrawal headache. I was also very tired. How I made it safely to Tillamook, I don't know, but I did.

Rachel managed to get off work early, so I drove out to her place on Netarts Bay. She has a cool house! We hung out for a little bit before going on a long walk for pop and chips. This long walk was very much needed after sitting in my car a good five hours already. We caught up and had a lot of fun wandering around before leaving to meet TH in Wheeler. The good news is that we took a great backroad up to Wheeler. The bad news is that we were about an hour early.

Meeting TH

Rachel and I wandered up and down the whole two blocks that make up Wheeler. We went inside a little restaurant and found a table. Mr. TH only knew that I'd be wearing one sweatshirt or another, and I didn't have much of an idea what he looked like, so when we spied him through the window as he saw us... it was a pretty neat moment. He came inside and sat down for what ended up being a really good pizza dinner. No, my friend was not carrying any weapons. I was only nervous about him for a nanosecond--he put me right at ease. AND he is definitely the gentleman. Rachel and I were both impressed. :) Plus, he paid for dinner, and a girl can't argue with that. THANKS!!!

Sleepy Time
Rachel drove me back to Tillamook to stay with her. We got back by 9:30pm, and after some chatting, we called it a night. I slept on the old couch from the house we shared in Corvallis--the ugly-as-sin-but-comfortable-as-ever couch. Since I hadn't been sleeping well the last week, and because all the traveling and touring really wore me out, I crashed hard from 10:00pm to 6:00am, and dozed until 7:30am when Rachel came out of her room. I scrambled to get ready, said my good-byes, and was on the road north by 8:00am.

North to Fort Clatsop
I took Hwy 101 north to Miami River Road, and from there, I'm not really sure what roads I took, but I made it to Fort Clatsop in just under two hours on backroads. TH told me to call him when I got to Seaside, but I never saw Seaside... so I called him when I got to the park. I paid admission and did some reading while I waited a few minutes for him to arrive. We wandered into the reconstruction, through the visitor's center, and down to the Netul Landing. I got a few nice pictures, but overall this place seemed quite touristy to me. TH suggested we visit another place he thought to be picture-worthy.

Young's River Falls
A short drive from Fort Clatsop found us at a nice waterfall. First, nothing says trust like going to a secluded place with a person you met less than twenty-four hours before. Second, TH was right! I got several great photos. Even better, TH let his doggy run around and terrorize some rocks. I'm usually afraid of dogs, but this one was friendly and never barked at me. I think I like him (the dog). We sat in the sun, chatted for a long time, and decided to return to Astoria for lunch.

Downtown Nightmare
TH knows that I'm terrified of heights. I think that's why he took me to the top of 8th Street in order to get me downtown. I've driven on hills before, but holy fucking shit. San Francisco has nothing on Astoria when it comes to hills. (In Lebanon, the largest hill we have in town is the slight rise at the Y on Hwy 20. I think it's a five or six foot drop over a hundred feet.) Needless-to-say, I'm never following him anywhere again. We did make it safely to a restaurant for lunch, and I had some divine fettuccine. Yet again, TH was a kind gentleman and paid for lunch. I swear, this girl has never had it so good! We parted ways around 2:30pm, and I made a pit-stop for gas downtown before heading out Hwy 101.

Traffic Accident
After last month's little fender-not-so-bender here in Lebanon, I've learned to watch distances and traffic in front of me a little better. I noticed the pickup in front of me speeding up and breaking frequently, so I held back a bit on purpose. Following me was a large pickup, perhaps a Ford F-350. I didn't want to become a little white pancake. We were in heavy traffic as we approached the large intersection where people can turn west and go into Warrenton from Hwy 101. The light switched from green to red, and a car slammed on it's brakes to stop. The Outback behind that rear-ended the car, and the pickup in front of me collided violently with the Outback. I watched the pickup crumple in front of me, shrinking a good two feet in the wreck. I felt pretty bad for the guy driving the pickup... it still had dealer plates on it. I slowed down and stopped with enough time to see the radiator explode and ended up pulling over to the side of the road to act as a witness. State Police were headed north and were at the scene in under two minutes. Nobody was hurt, but everybody that saw it was pretty shaken. I told the officer that I couldn't give more information than could obviously be seen (two cars rear-ended the cars in front of them, and the pick-up was badly mangled). The officer let me go on my way without taking a statement. Traffic sucked on Hwy 101 after that.

Going Home
I kept a good following distance the whole way back over Hwy 26 after witnessing the accident. As much as I love the coast, there was a little part of me that smiled when I saw my first grass field that stretched forever and ever. The Cascades are a sight I missed. I made it from Astoria to Lebanon in under three hours, but I was still pretty tense. Not sure about the exact mileage, but it's close to 170 miles between the two cities... and I drove well over 500 miles in two days. I was home by 5:30pm, unpacked and out of the shower by 7:00pm, and even edited my pictures already.

THANK YOU, TH, for being so kind!

And I figured out how to teach people to say "Lebanon." Lebanon rhymes with Oregon. It's kind of like "Leb-uh-nun" but the "uh" is short and the accent is on the first syllable. In case you or anyone was wondering.


Tryan Hartill said...

Quite a round-up!

And you even have a tan from sitting in the sun for 30 minutes!

Oh and Tanner says "Thanks" and when I asked him if he likes you also....he "pleaded the 5th".

auntie said...

Ahhh, this is too sweet for words!!!

Jeff said...

Jaggy, I'm glad you had a good time in our neck of the woods. Sounds like TH was a good tour guide. I was worried at first reading about your visit to the Maritime Museum. I was afraid you were referring to TH when you were talking about the guy following you around that creeped you at. I was relieved that it wasn't TH.

Next time you are visiting, we should hold another blogger getogether so you can meet the rest of us crazy bloggers in dried salmon county.

Jaggy said...

TH: I don't have a tan at all. I don't think I burned, but definitely no tan.

Auntie: not sure why you think it's all so sweet... it was a nice trip, but it wasn't that good. More time might have been nice, and I would like to have met some other bloggers. Perhaps I'll get over that way again sometime.

Jeff: you posted while I was writing this. See above. :P

auntie said...

Jeff, that creepy guy at the museum was probably Ostermiller! Ha ha, sorry I couldn't resist.

Sweet, yes Jaggy. Let us live off of you two vicariously for awhile will ya? It's all I have right now, sad to say but true!!!

Jeff said...

Sounds like a fun trip! But it looks like you are a magnet for fender benders.

Mom of Three said...

Hope you'll be back in our neck of the woods soon, we'll schedule a bloggers meeting for the day!