Sunday, September 9, 2012

DAY 19- Longview to Longbeach & Plenty of Cars...

I left the crummy Econolodge rather early.  The weather was cloudy, overcast and looked as though it could rain at any time.  I did a quick look at the Econolodge’s  “Continental Breakfast” and opted to just have coffee.  Nothing looked good and I questioned how fresh everything was.  I drove along the Columbia River on Hwy 4, a pretty drive.  I tasted the coffee after a while and OMG; can you say bad coffee?  The person who made it must not have been a coffee drinker at all.  It was that bad!

Photo- The drive along the Columbia River on Hwy 4.
I ended up stopping at a General Store in the hamlet of Skamokawa (please don’t ask me to pronounce this name!) It was right next to a little two room post office.  I thought while I was getting a coffee I would mail a couple of postcards too.  I tried the post office and it was locked.  So I went to the General Store and talked with the clerk as I got a cup of good coffee.  I guess that the postmistress had left out on her run and would be back later in the afternoon.  I guess I’d wait on the postcards.
Photo- The General Store where I got some good coffee and directions!

I continued to talk with the clerk and discovered a cover bridge near Hwy 4 that I was on.  She gave me directions to the turn off and said that it then again looped back into Hwy 4.  It sounded great to me.  She also told me of a couple other places to check out too while in Longbeach and later in Astoria all that were on my planned route of the day.
Photo- The covered bridge.
Photo- Signage for the Covered Bridge.
I found the turn off for the covered bridge and drove 2 miles to it on a winding country two lane highway.  It was fun driving across the covered bridge.  It was dark and had a distinct nose as you drive the car over the wood planking of the bridge.  It was one of another first for me; the first time I had driven a car over a covered wooden bridge. 

It was as I was trying to get back to Hwy 4 that I ended up getting a bit lost or so it seemed.  I ended up asking a farmer that was out by the road with his pit bull mixed dog named Spud.  I thought the farmer had said Bud, when I asked the dog’s name as I went to pet it.  The farmer corrected me twice and said that his name was Spud.  The farmer had a bit of a lisp.  “Oh,” I said, “like the potato!”  The farmer just looked at me like I had two heads.  I thanked him and continued on following his directions.  I ended up back on Hwy 4.
Photos- Art along the Art Interpretive Trail at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. 

Next I stopped off at the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge just off of Hwy 4.It is tooted as being one of the most pristine estuaries in the U.S. and has over 260 square miles of water surface within its boundaries.  It has several bird and fish species; as well as Roosevelt elk, deer, river otters, bobcats, porcupines, raccoons, and black bear. I took the two hikes they have at the Headquarters: the Art Interpretive; a ¼ mile boardwalk with art displays, and the Cut Throat Climb; 2/3 mile that climbs up and down in a valley area next to a ridge.  It was a wonderful hike and just amazing that it was such a short distance from the road but you felt like it was miles.
Photo- The Cut Throat Climb Trail at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.
Then, I got out to the stretch of land that had Longbeach on it and just wandered around.  I happened to stumble into the middle of the 29th Annual Rod Run to the End of the End of the World.  I drove by the fairgrounds area and there was a sea of fancy cars parked out on display.  There were tons of people and the road was backed up in both directions.
Photo- Backed up traffic and classic cars.

As I’m driving along, cars of all shapes and sizes are coming up in the other direction.  There were classic cars, old cars, Model T varieties, sports cars, and muscle cars; just anything you could imagine was there.  It was pretty amazing but what I thought was even more fun was watching the people on the side of the roads.  They were in chairs; whole families with their dog and kids in tow camped out with coolers and snacks.  The whole atmosphere was like the circus had come to town.  There was also a large abundance of misc. cars in all kinds of conditions that were parked along the road with for sale signs on them.
Photos- Car, car, and more cars!

I parked on a side street a couple of blocks over and I grabbed lunch; a bowl of delicious crab chowder at Captain Bob’s.  I sat down outside on a bench while I ate and also people watched.  It was all so fascinating.
Photo- Cape Disappointment.

Then, I swung by the beach for a bit.  After all, it's the longest beach being Longbeach.  Then, I moved onto Cape Disappointment about 4 miles from Longbeach.  It’s the lighthouse that served the area where the Columbia River goes into the Ocean a very treacherous area of water to navigate.  It was a short hike of ¾ mile out to the lighthouse.  I took a few pictures but now was getting to a point where I had enough sightseeing for the day. 

It was time to head on.  Off to Hwy 401, to the 5 mile bridge that crosses the Columbia River and also serves as a go between the state of Washington and Oregon.  About 2 miles out of the Washington side is when you are actually crossing into Oregon.  They have a sign above as you go through on the bridge.  Goodbye Washington and Hello Oregon!  And thus, I’ve finished one state of the lower 48.  I might need to pick up my pace a little bit now; but we’ll see.
Photo- Hello Oregon!

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