Friday, September 11, 2015

Day 9-Astonia Shipwreck/Cascade Locks

Last night our neighbors got a little rowdy, wasn't sure if they were fighting or just talking loud, eventually I was able to just turn over and ignore it. We wanted to get moving early this morning so when I naturally woke up at 7:00, I decided to lay there with my eyes shut for a half hour relaxing before deciding to get up, brush my teeth, and pack. We didn't bother to eat breakfast before getting on the road. It was a typical Washington day this morning; overcast, cool, foggy, and no sign of sunlight poking through. We passed through many shore towns that advertised selling fresh fish, logging plantations, and many bridges before crossing into Oregon. Slowly the weather switched from dreary and high contrast to blue skies and sunny. We arrived in Astonia, and pushed through to Fort Stevens State Park to see the Peter Iredale Shipwreck; the ship was a four-masted steel barque sailing ship that ran ashore October 25, 1906. It was a gorgeous day to be on the beach; blue skies, light sand, and the waves crashing in front of us. We walked over to the remaining steel structure and began taking photos in between other people doing the same thing. There was a game of volleyball going on nearby, and other people walking the beach shore. We stayed no longer than a half hour before deciding to find the Lewis and Clark Forest waterfall I had found online. I typed the forest into the GPS and we headed about 15 minutes down the road, we arrived within the forest; but it didn't look like the other parks we had visited. There were residential areas and lack of ranger stations to ask questions. We drove for awhile before ending up at a two way stop sign vetoing the idea and looking for a nearby Walmart. We needed to re-supply on a few things and figured we should get them before heading to the next campground. Seems the nearest Walmart was about an hour and a half away; the campground destination near Oneonta Gorge was about a little over 2 hours away, and the distance between the two was about an hour and a half. We would be going a little out of our way to go to the Walmart; surely there must be grocery stores along our route; we decided to stick to that option. There was a gorgeous snow capped mountain in the distance; Mount Hood, and man was it beautiful as we exited the highway to grocery shop at the local Safeway. We got more kielbasa, bagels, and eggs, cheese, yogurt, avocados, chips and salsa, zucchini, pepper and onion, Sweet Baby Rays, water, a rotisserie chicken, and a small styrofoam cooler. At the checkout line, the cashier asked us how our day was going and if we had visited the Goonies house while in Astoria; had we known it was maybe? We nodded we hadn't and then he proceeded to tell us that the owners don't really allow people on the property and are quite unfriendly about it. Wouldn't you think about that before buying a house in which people would frequently want to visit? In short, if you don't want people visiting your home; don't buy one that is famous in that way. He wished us a nice day and we repeated the gesture. Only having about a 25 minute drive left, we got to the first campground early afternoon; yes I repeat first. It was right off the highway and close amenities to Oneonta Gorge where we would be hiking. It was your typical in the woods, low amenities park campground without a view. As we drove around we realized the tent sites were walk in which meant we would leave our car parked and walk out stuff in; only other problem was, they were all reserved. We decided to check out the KOA just 15 minutes further. Enroute to the KOA we passed by a quaint little town as I quickly read a sign that read "family campground" to my left, that looked very pretty I thought. We arrived at the KOA and it was your typical KOA setup, right off the road, lightly wooded campground, shower/wifi privileges for $30 a night. We decided, what the heck; the other place is only down the road, let's go check it out. Sure glad we did because it was cheaper than the KOA, and beautiful! We talked with some regulars about the procedure, and obtained information on the "waterfront" hook up/water sites as opposed to the tent sites next to the bathrooms in full sun. The sites we were interested in were $28 a night, cheaper than the KOA! We booked two night and picked out slot 6, the last one available with a view. The grass we set up on is separated with a road and boat launch below before the river canal and finally a man made island that has a small walking bridge across. The awesome factor; the view of Bridge of the Gods just a few hundred feet down river. For those of you that don't know; Bridge of the Gods is part of the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) which, like the AT, people thru-hike. Another reference is the Cheryl Strayed book Wild, or now movie; in which she ends her journey on this very bridge and later meets her husband. As you can see it was a great surprise to end up camped here. We set up our tents, and had already witnessed a flow of hikers coming in. I decided to re-organize my side of the car, which I like to do from time to time to ensure things don't get too far out of hand. (You will see a photo below before the organizing process of the back driver's seat.) We then feasted on our rotisserie chicken, avocado, and chips and salsa before taking a walk over to the island to catch the sunset. It was a much needed chill evening, and I was about to make it even more luxurious. Since Anna had downloaded the Twilight ebook on her phone and began re-reading, I decided to watch it on Netflix. I pulled my tent over to where the outlet hookup was, got in my tent with my laptop and earphones, and un-guiltily enthralled myself into the teenage drama; loving every second of it. When the movie ended, I searched "New Moon" you know, for tomorrow night and all. Netflix regrettably told me it was not available online, only through DVD; damn. I'll have to check Amazon Prime I thought as I switched off my computer and re-aligned my tent to where it was before. I climbed in and called it a night, tomorrow we check out Portland!

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