Coastal Oregon is as impressive as one might expect, featuring dramatic cliffs, ghostly beaches, and lush forests. We began our southward trip along the coast in Astoria, a sweet and unassuming town, across the water from Fort Stevens State Park.
We chose Fort Stevens State Park as our spot for a couple of nights and were very positively surprised. Besides its historic value, the park offered the shade and comfort of mature pine, spruce and hemlock trees, with quick beach access via paved bike paths and walking trails. Young elk grazed near by, unfazed by us humans.
After carrying our bikes all across the country, we finally got to use them! We rode diligently on the first path we found, pushing forward, past rows of Pacific Red Elder, Oregon Crabapple, Coast Rhododendron, and luscious ferns.
We stopped to catch our breath and decided to take our bikes up and over the huge dune that stood between the parking lot and the beach. Note to self: bikes don’t roll smoothly in sand and up the hill…. Our efforts were rewarded with a magnificent view of the ocean and a wide quiet beach.
On our way back to the the camp, we admired a WWII Red Cross Jeep, proudly owned and driven by a veteran.
As always, after a great effort, food is in order. We drove into Astoria in search of local fare. We strolled on the boardwalk in the old port and savored a bowl of chowder and freshly-baked bread at the Astoria Brewing Company, while people watching.
We strolled through town, admiring old buildings and the impressive Astoria–Megler Bridge, the longest continuous truss bridge in North America, connecting Washington and Oregon across Columbia River.
Back at the camp, we figured out a shorter path to an even cooler beach: Peter Iredale Shipwreck Beach. The four-masted steel barque sailing vessel ran ashore in 1906, on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River. Our two dogs were largely unimpressed, however. Their first trip to the beach was just an OK experience, and Roxie, our doxie, did not appreciate the salty water – which tasted nothing like the bath water to which she was accustomed….