Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rust Never Sleeps

The wreck of the Peter Iredale on an Oregon beach...
The rusting bones of a ship wreck on an Oregon beach...
Fort Stevens State Park is close to Astoria... in fact, it marks the extreme northwest corner of the state. On the beach near the park, visitors can climb the rusting remains of the shipwreck Peter Iredale.

The vessel ran aground in 1906 while trying for the mouth of the Columbia River during a squall. No lives were lost. All of the crew were rescued.

The captain's final words to the ship were: ""May God bless you, and may your bones bleach in the sands."

His understanding of metallurgy was a bit murky, I guess. For the past 150 years, the bones of the Peter Iredale have been quietly turning to rust.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Re-hearse-ed

A re-purposed hearse...
A re-purposed hearse...
We spent a day and night near the city of Astoria in Oregon. Astoria is located in the northwest corner of Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River.

We spent a morning exploring the beach at the mouth of the river. We came across this re-purposed hearse in the parking lot. Inside and out it was retro-fitted to carry the owner's fishing gear. It was an older vehicle, but in immaculate condition. No surprise perhaps... hearses aren't normally driven very fast or very far.


Astoria itself has a picturesque waterfront that features this old time trolley. It runs from one end of town to the other. What's clever is that at the far end, the seats easily convert to face the opposite direction simply by swinging the back of the seat up and over to the facing bench. In this way the trolley doesn't have to do a turn around... it simply goes in reverse.

The Astoria waterfront trolley...
The Astoria waterfront trolley...




Friday, November 20, 2015

The Magic is in the Hole!

Voodoo Donut in Portland, OR...
Voodoo Donut in Portland, OR...
Voodoo Donut is a popular Portland must-do activity. It is famous for its off-the-wall donut flavours. A few years ago, they even featured a donut flavoured with Pepto Bismal until they were slapped with 'cease and desist' by the city's health officer.

Enthusiastic patrons line up for their sugar bricks...
A street musician entertains the customers...
On any given day, there's typically a lineup of 30 to 45 minutes. Fortunately, on the day that we were there, we were entertained periodically by a shop employee who would circulate among the waiting crowd and entertain us with little bits of comedy.

Voodoo Donut... where the magic is in the hole and good things come in pink boxes! Who could argue with that?  ;)

"Good things come in pink boxes..."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Oregon: Multnomah Falls

Tall falls in Oregon...
the tallest of falls
you can see right here
no taller falls
are anywhere near
Not far from Beacon Rock on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, is the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area which features Multnomah Falls.

At 611 feet high, it is the highest waterfall in Oregon and the second highest year-round water fall in the United States.

The photo below is taken from the span that you can see in the photo above. The lower pool is 70 feet below the span.

Feet dangle over the lower pool of Multnomah Falls...
Feet dangle over the lower pool of Multnomah Falls...



Friday, November 13, 2015

Figures in the Mist

Mist rolling off the sea and into the trees of Vancouver Island...

It's a typical Vancouver Island West Coast scene... tendrils of heavy fog drift ashore from the ocean, slipping between the trees like wraiths and reducing fellow beachcombers in the distance to barely visible silhouettes.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Bridge of the Gods

Most awesome name for a bridge, ever...
Just by crossing over it,
you'll feel like Thor crossing into Asgard...
To get to Beacon Rock, we crossed over from Oregon to Washington State via the Bridge of the Gods. Which has to be the most awesome name for a bridge ever, right?

If you saw the movie 2014 movie Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, you've seen the bridge. It's where her character, Cheryl Strayed, ends her soul-searching hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.

I had seen the movie and during our trip had mentioned to my wife that I hoped to see the bridge. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember the name or the location of it from the movie. It was only AFTER our trip when I was doing research for this blog that I discovered that we HAD crossed the bridge... several times in fact.

The bridge is named after an ancient legend in local folklore.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Beacon Rock

Beacon Rock of Washington State overlooks the Columbia River...
The imposing Beacon Rock...
The Columbia River is the physical boundary that separates Oregon from the state of Washington. 

Beacon Rock is an eye-catching geologic feature that overlooks the river about an hour east of Portland on the Washington side of the river. At 850 feet high, it is the solidified remains of the core of an ancient volcano. The explorers Lewis and Clark arrived here in 1805 and gave the rock its name.

Visitors can climb to the peak via a boardwalk that switchbacks across the western face of the rock. Along the way there are impressive views of the mighty Columbia River in both directions.

Hiking to the top of the rock...
Switchbacks take you to the top of Beacon Rock...
On the day we hiked to the top my wife and I shared the trail with a family of four, including two teenage girls. At the top, we were horrified when the youngest girl jump over the handrail and scrambled down to a ledge below us to peer over the edge. If she had slipped... or a bit of the cliff had given away under her weight... she would have plunged eighty stories to her death. 

Her mother screamed and swore at her to get her back to safety and it was all I could do not to add my own panicky voice to hers. Fortunately, the girl had the sense to turn around and climb back up to us and we were all able to start breathing again...

The view from the top of the rock...
Looking down the length of the Columbia River...


Monday, November 2, 2015

Joseph, Oregon

A dramatic sculpture on the main street of Joseph, Oregon...
A dramatic sculpture on the main street of Joseph, Oregon...
The website for Joseph, Oregon refers to itself as the "Little Switzerland of America" due to its location nestled in the Wallowa mountains of northeast Oregon. That image would seem to be at odds with the distinctly American West sculptures that line the main street of this picturesque little town.
The town itself is named after a historical Native American tribe leader.

One of Joseph's street sculptures...
Another of the sculptures found
along the main boulevard of Joseph, Oregon...