Thursday, July 2, 2015
Chapter 20 - Issaguah to Portland, Oregon
Our drive down from Seattle to Portland reminded us of the Indianapolis 500 Speedway. Four lanes all filled with cars, trucks, and RVs all traveling (except for one) at speeds in excess of the 70 mph speed limit. Even when the highway dropped down to three lanes, it did not change my level of stress which was on a hot boil from the onset and ready to explode. Furthermore, through most of the four hour drive the scenery was boring as it was highly commercialized. No beautiful mountain peaks; no fields of corn, wheat, or grape vines. This was not a good introduction to our next three days which we had planned to spend at the Jantzen Beach RV Park located on Hayden Island in the Columbia River just north of Portland, Oregon. One thing that we definitely were not going to do was to visit busy downtown Portland. The Jantzen Beach RV Park was very highly rated which very much influenced our decision to stay there instead of at another park in a more rural setting. In hindsight, we probably should have selected a park closer to the Pacific Coast but our dye had been cast. Not surprisingly, considering the approaching 4th of July weekend, the park was full although there was plenty of room between the RV spaces, the park was well landscaped, and the facilities offered the full gambit of activities from swimming pools, fitness room, billiard room, laundrymat, etc. and there were lots of nearby stores. We will make the best of it and it should mean that we will have a chance to slow down before our visit with my sister Joan on July 3rd.
Last night Kathy and I decided to drive the 90 miles (without the trailer) over to the city of Astoria located on the Columbia River near its mouth on the Pacific Ocean. This area is known not only for its beauty but also because it was near the location where the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1805-1806 and more importantly, it is the location where the Pacific Fur Company owned by John Jacob Astor began its fur trading operation in the northwest in 1811. Their fur trading post they named Fort Astoria obviously after the company's owner. Astoria has the distinction of being recognized as the first permanent settlement on the Pacific Coast. The photograph above was taken from a site overlooking Astoria
Our final stop in our trip south on Hwy 101 was to be the Ecola State Park where we hoped we would be able to see some great views of the Pacific Ocean and the rocky Oregon coastline. We were not only not disappointed, we both agreed that the views from this park were something so wonderful that they would never be forgotten. No photographs can capture what the human eye can see but if we are to choose only one photograph to hang on the wall of our Estero home, this will be the photo.
We drove back to Portland on Hwy 26 which took us across some beautiful Cascade Mountains with our highest point reaching just over 3,000 feet. Traffic was relatively light and the winding road through the mountains was a pleasant way to end the day. Unfortunately once we reached the outskirts of Portland, the traffic came to almost a complete halt. The final ten miles back to our RV Park took us an agonizing 45 minutes. Boy were we happy to get back. We quickly made the decision that tomorrow we will travel no further than a few miles from home. We must prepare mentally for the awful drive through Portland on the morning of July 3rd. We only hope that the coming holiday weekend will keep everybody off the roads.