Friday, July 6, 2012


in the land of kites
Another rainy drive up the coast brings us to Long Beach, WA. We are staying at another 1000 Trails preserve.  This was not our first, second or third choice of locations. It is the only place on our route that we could book with less than 60 days notice over the 4th of July.  The positive thing about this park is the location.  There is a walking trail to the beach that intersects with the Discovery Trail, a paved walking and bike path that runs north and south through the dunes.  The town of Long Beach is only a few miles north, and Astoria, Oregon is a half hour drive to the south.  Real fireworks (not the sissy safe and sane ones) are legal here so we will be able to enjoy the professional display in Long Beach and the anarchy of individuals blowing up the beach.  Woo Hoo!

The not so positive, is everything else. Crowded doesn’t even begin to describe this place. Someone in the past had the bright idea to double the occupancy on the cheap. They split the sites and changed the utilities to service 4 spots from one hook-up location.  That leaves half of the visitors hooked up on the wrong side, and it being a holiday week, only wrong side hookups are available. Our view from the dining area is the ass of a huge diesel pusher and the first must-do is to drive into town and purchase 20 additional feet of sewer hose.  

The park has Wi-Fi (available only in their micro trailer/clubhouse) and one evening, while checking e-mail and waiting for our laundry to dry, we meet Sandy, who has just completed a three-month tour as a docent at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.  She is a veritable wealth of information on the history of the area and we are fascinated. Turns out she also spends time in Yellowstone every year and gives us a lot of tips about the park.  Then we discover that she will be staying in the same campground where we are booked, this coming September.  We look forward to seeing her again.

Foraging is pretty good here on the peninsula.  We find really fresh (as in picked an hour before) baby greens, a tasty loaf of banana bread, strawberries, raspberries, black berries and fresh veggies at the Friday Farmers Market in Long Beach, fresh roasted Sumatra beans from the Long Beach Coffee Roasters and more veggies and some tasty BBQ sauce from Big Daddy’s at the Saturday Market in Ilwaco.  Another week of fine dining on fresh regional products and our taste buds are happy.

It rains on and off all week and we find that there is a lot to do here both in and out of doors.

The town of Long Beach has an old fashioned feel with hi-tech sensibilities. This is a walking beach community at the western end of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Nineteen QR codes are posted throughout the town and a quick scan with our QR reader app gives us information about historical sites of interest. (Very Cool!)

two headed calf
A must do item on our list-o attractions is to visit Marsh’s Free Museum. Marsh’s sets the bar for roadside attractions. This is an uber collection of the weird and unusual merged with a novelty/souvenir store. We spend well over an hour taking photos and gawking at odd inventions, giant cooking utensils, strange taxidermy and the piece de resistance of The Weekly World News fame, drum roll please… JAKE THE ALLIGATOR MAN!
Columbia Maritime Museum

Of course, there are the other museums.  In Astoria we visit the fascinating Columbia River Maritime Museum.  We tour the Columbia Lightship; learn about the economic importance of the river and the dangers of the bar where the Columbia meets the Pacific.  There is also a current special exhibit of fifteenth through seventeenth century maps that have never been seen outside of Europe.

cranberry bogs
In Long Beach we visit two museums. The Cranberry Museum (yes there really is one) is located at the north end of town and is part of the Pacific Cranberry Research Foundation.  We do a self-guided tour of the cranberry bogs and learn a lot about production and cultivation. 

Japanese Kite
The World Kite Museum and Hall of Fame is located at the south end of town.  They have a great collection of kites from around the world, including military kites, used for gunnery practice and one that could shear wings off of WWII planes with the piano wire that was used to fly it.

We drive through Cape Disappointment State Park stopping to view the incredible scenery.

On the first sunny day we pull out and unfold the Montague bikes. (finally) We ride for nine miles through the dunes along the discovery trail.

In Ilwaco harbor we chance upon an inspector checking for clipped salmon and scanning sport fishermen’s catch. This is a nice follow up of our visit to Trask Hatchery where we witnessed clipping and learned about data implants in hatchery salmon.

Painted Lady

Also in Ilwaco, we stop at The Painted Lady Lavender Farm.  This is a family affair. Daughter, Sherry Housley AKA The Butterfly Lady gives us an in-depth, guided tour of the edible gardens and quaint outbuildings created and decorated by her parents Dwight and Susan (the youngest seventy year old we have ever met) Wallace. Sherry also proudly points out the beautiful iron gates, fencing and furniture created by her brother. They invite us to come back in a week for a gypsy music concert, but unfortunately we will be leaving on July 5th

this is one scary clown
in the parade
ka boom
Our final day in this location is the 4th of July, (second sunny day in over a week for those who are keeping track.)  At noon, we drive about 11 miles north to Ocean Park and witness a true small town 4th of July parade complete with politicians, police, fire fighters, belly dancers, kids on red white and blue festooned bicycles, clowns, a marching band and the local shopping cart drill team. And finally, fireworks on the beach.

Now for the bad news... On our pre trip inspection, we discover a huge dent in the middle of the back, under the center running light. @%#&*$!!!  So we call our insurance and notify them of the mystery dent. Looks like we’ll be doing more than sightseeing in the near future.

And so ends our sojourn along the pacific coast, now we make a hard right turn and head east.

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1 comment:

  1. We're down here on the Oregon coast and know just how you feel about having a fabulous kite day at the beach! It's just pure heaven to practice our aerial lifts oceanside! Great blog--we so identify! Thank you!


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