On the Road to Astoria, Oregon

Saturday August 20, 2022

We left Tillamook on Wednesday- destination Astoria, Oregon. We only have a 60 mile travel day through some very beautiful country.

The highway hugs the coast for a ways. Rockaway Beach (1300 souls), home of the Old Growth Cedar Preserve which features a large cedar, The Big Tree, which is estimated to be 500-900 years old. The community was established as a seaside resort in 1909. As an aside, the Pronto Pup was invented at Rockaway in the late 1930’s.

We soon reach the Nehalem River and its Bay. The basin is beautiful with dairy farms along side the river contrasting with the forested hillsides. The town of Nehalem is tiny at 355 souls and it appears to be thriving. It thrived as a logging, fishing and shipping town but logging has wained.

According to The Oregon Companion by Richard H. Engeman, Arch Cape in 1912 was a “remote hamlet…at the end of a wagon road from Seaside, Oregon.

Arch Rock with Hug Falls

Prior to 1938, U.S. Route Highway 101(Oregon Coast Highway), which was completed in 1936, ended at Arch Cape, just south of Arch Cape Creek. In February 1936, the Oregon State Highway Commission began work on a 1,228-foot tunnel through the Arch Cape headland. According to the July 1937 issue of Western Construction News, at the time, it was the longest tunnel on the Oregon highway system. Work was completed in March 1940. Prior to the building of the new highway and the 1228 foot long tunnel (circa 1940) through the Arch Cape Headland, the only way by automobile around Arch Cape was to drive around on the beach at low tide.

Cannon Beach is a city in Clatsop CountyOregon, United States. Its population was 1,690 souls at the 2010 census. It is a popular coastal Oregon tourist destination, famous for Haystack Rock, a 235 ft (72 m) sea stack that juts out along the coast. In 2013, National Geographic listed it as “one of the world’s 100 most beautiful places.

William Clark, one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, journeyed to Cannon Beach in early 1805. The expedition was wintering at Fort Clatsop, roughly 20 miles (32 km) to the north near the mouth of the Columbia River. In December 1805, two members of the expedition returned to camp with blubber from a whale that had beached several miles south, near the mouth of Ecola Creek. Clark later explored the region himself. From a spot near the western cliffs of the headland he saw “…the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean…” That viewpoint, later dubbed “Clark’s Point of View,” can be accessed by a hiking trail from Indian Beach in Ecola State Park.

Clark and several of his companions, including Sacagawea, completed a three-day journey on January 10, 1806, to the site of the beached whale. They encountered a group of Native Americans from the Tillamook tribe who were boiling blubber for storage. Clark and his party met with them and successfully bartered for 300 pounds (136 kg) of blubber and some whale oil before returning to Fort Clatsop.

Clark applied the name Ekoli to what is now Ecola Creek. Ehkoli is a Chinook word for “whale”. Early settlers later renamed the creek “Elk Creek”, and a community with the same name formed nearby.

US 101 used to run through Cannon Beach but a tsunami generated by the 1964 Alaska Earthquake washed away the bridge and flooded portions of town. Consequently, the highway was rerouted to higher ground.

Cannon Beach is a tourist resort destination. Because of its proximity to Portland, Oregon, it is particularly known as a weekend getaway spot for residents and tourists. Chain stores have been discouraged from building in order to preserve the local economy and small-town feel. Artisan shops and local restaurants line the streets of the town.

Seaside is a city of 6457 souls. The name is derived from Seaside House, a historic summer resort built in the 1870’s by railroad magnate Ben Holladay. In 1806 a group of men from the Lewis and Clark Expedition built a salt making cairn at what is now seaside.

The town was incorporated in 1899. A fella by the name of Gilbert, a real estate developer built a beach cottage in 1885 and added to in 1892. The Gilbert House still stands and does business as the Gilbert Inn. Seaside was pounded by heavy traffic when we drove through. We couldn’t figure out why……..

We arrive at Lewis and Clark Golf and RV Park just after noon. The office lady had called us while we were on the road to verify that we were indeed still going to honor our reservation made in February. Well, yes we are and we are enroute. We arrived shortly after noon only to find the office closed until 1pm. As we turned to return to the RV a lady came to the door and invited us in to register. Perfect timing! We check and settle down in site A10, a pull in that has us facing the golf course. Perfect! We’ll enjoy this park for sure.

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