Keep the Show on the Road! Posted April 7, 2013 Report Share Posted April 7, 2013 The Columbia River is one BIG body of water, and that is especially apparent as it approaches the Pacific. The Washington Ocean Beach Highway between Longview and the bridge across the Columbia to Astoria, Oregon is not a terribly old road. It was completed in the 1930's. Segments of it existed before then.It is a beautiful two lane drive that follows the Columbia River shore for many miles, and often crosses wide valleys and lowlands formed by the streams and rivers that enter the Columbia from the North. The history of the road is of course tied to the history of the river. Dotted along its length are the campsites of Lewis and Clark as they approached, and then struggled to reach, the Pacific Ocean.Tiny riverside hamlets and small towns appear and almost as suddenly disappear in the rear view mirror, unless of course you take the time to stop. Sheila and I drove the highway last weekend. It has been about 30 years since I last took the road. Not a lot has changed, except the loss of the grand old salmon cannery buildings......which I regret. One remains, but you risk being shot if you try to approach it. The only way to see it today is from the water. This website tells its story:http://www.cathlametchamber.com/altoona.phpAnother thing that has changed, and it was almost inevitable. Retirees and escapees from urban areas have taken over. It isn't easy on them, because many come from California and are not prepared for months of overcast skies and dreary days in the winter. You can know it will happen, but living it is another thing. Just call it an acquired taste.The good news is that these transplants may have a greater interest in the history of their communities than the natives. Weather beaten buildings abandoned by locals are seen as opportunities to create museums and community attractions. Little used waterways are great for kayakers, and old hotels become bed and breakfasts, catering to other escapees from the hectic big city life. The general store gets the boutique treatment and the abandoned waterways provide moorage for your pleasure boot.When we stopped at the village of Skamokawa (point B on Google Map below) I stepped out of the car to take a photo of the general store (above). Before I had the camera focused, Lance greeted me and told me about the store and community. I can't resist the opportunity to visit with a local, especially one who is so enthusiastic, so Sheila and I got educated, and in the process were guided to the local sights. Thanks to Lance.Here Lance is (below) pointing out a photo in the general store of the old town before there was road.The old town site on the river in the picture that Lance is pointing to above has changed (of course!). The view below of the site shows what it looks like today. The building that looks like an old hotel is now a nice B&B.The old Redmen Lodge Hall (below) had the school downstairs and the lodge upstairs in the old days. It perches on the hillside above the old town. It is now a very nice local museum, staffed on the day we visited by a nice and knowledgable....you guessed it....., California transplant.We drove on to Astoria, and stopped at the Baked Alaska Restaurant for a bite to eat. I know we are a burger and beer gang here, but I have had to revise my diet a bit. I ordered the Shrimp Bisque and Garden Salad, and I can honestly say I didn't miss the burger and beer. And the view matched the meal.There is much more to share about this little road trip, but it will have to wait until I have more time.DaveKeep the Show on the Road! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.