Monday, August 12, 2013

Vacation, Day 1 - Bend to Astoria

Now with photos from my "real" camera!

We managed to get most everything packed last night.  I set my alarm for 6:30 this morning, showered, packed the last few things, made a batch of hard boiled eggs and loaded a final load in the dishwasher, and we got out of the neighborhood a little after 8:00 a.m., which was good, as we had a full day ahead of us.

We headed toward Salem over Santiam Pass, then somewhere north of Salem, stopped for our first restroom break, and found FOUR geocaches in a not-too-big loop around the perimiter of the rest area.  It was actually quite scenic, as rest areas go.

After we got off I-5 and back onto smaller highways, we saw a couple signs for farms that sell blueberries.  Nathan LOVES blueberries, and can eat literally pints of them without getting ill.  We stopped at a farm that did have U-pick, but just got a couple pints of already-picked blueberries, looked at the sheep and fowl, and got back on the road.

Then we arrived in Seaside, and we were hungry and it was past time for lunch, but we headed first to the ocean, and at the spot I stopped, there weren't any picnic facilities, so we just grabbed a geocache and put our toes in the water and headed back to the car.

We figured we might as well just head to the Lewis & Clark National Historic Park rather than find a spot to eat in Seaside, so we did.

When we got there, we saw that there was a woodworking demonstration already going on, and a flintlock demonstration later in the afternoon, both of which we wanted to see, so again, no eating for us (luckily, we'd been snacking on and off all day).

We did a quick tour through the visitor center.

We watched the woodworking demonstration.

We did a quick walk-through of the fort itself.

Then headed on a short walk to see where the expedition landed their canoes.

This is apparently the spot they landed in their dugout canoes.  All those pilings wouldn't have been there, though--they're from logging.

There were originally two snakes (canoodling?) but one slithered off as soon as we arrived.

You can take a ranger-led canoe paddle along the river to hear more about their expedition from that angle.
Beginning with the last trip, Nathan's taken a big interest in eating berries along the trail.  I pointed out that red huckleberries are safe to eat (though SOUR!), and told him the adage about purple/"blue" berries always being safe to eat (though not necessarily tasty), red being maybe, and therefore ONLY if you know for sure, and white always being poisonous.  So he's been happily munching on red huckleberries, Oregon grape (which he freaked his dad out by eating at home with him), etc.  On the walk, he saw some purple berries that were new to us, and wondered if they were purple huckleberries.  I didn't know, but said they could be, though the bush didn't look much like a red huckleberry bush.  Well, after checking the pictures they have back at the visitor center, I think what Nathan ate was Salal, and he was NOT impressed.  Though sources indicate they're edible, and indeed delicious, the berry he tasted was apparently incredibly bitter.  He immediately spit it out, and spent the rest of the walk looking for things to put in his mouth to get rid of the taste, drinking (and spitting) my water, etc.

Then we watched the flintlock demonstration.

This ranger's name was Shawna.  (Though I'm not sure how she spelled it.  We'll assume she spelled it the "right" way.)

After donning her safety gear (bright orange ear plugs, then period hat and eyeglasses (though hopefully made of shatterproof material rather than glass), Ranger Shawna demonstrated moistening the wadding...

...and sending it down the barrel to swab the sides of the barrel from any stray gunpowder.


She let kids feel the heft of the gun after the demonstration, and I asked if I could take this picture.  You can see the piece of flint held in a clamp on the lower left side of the picture, the pan that holds the initial charge just above the hammer mechanism, then the steel that the flint strikes just above that.

Then we had just under an hour before they locked the gates to the park, and there was a cache just 1/4 mile away.  As the crow flies.  I think it was more like a half mile each way on the trail, but we made it to the cache, found it (my 150th!), and got back to the car with time to spare.  I even JOGGED!  It's amazing how much easier my lungs can handle exercise at lower elevations, I can't jog even a few steps at home.

Huge banana slug!  Should've included Nathan's finger or something for size comparison.

I wanted to take pictures of the Peter Iredale wreck at sunset, which I'd looked up before leaving and noted that it was around 7:30.  So we had a bit of time for dinner, but couldn't go too far, so we ate at a little diner restaurant thing near Fort Stevens park.  It was terrible.

If I'd eaten there alone, I'd chalk it up to them being more about the seafood and less about the vegetarian dishes, because my first choice would have been a veggie burger, but they don't have any (they have regular burgers, or I wouldn't have just asked out of the blue).  All their salads come with meat all over them, so even if I got them to make one fresh, it would still cost an exorbitant amount for just veggies, so I ordered the fetuccine alfredo without mushrooms.  Nathan ordered the salmon "special" for $19.99.  Both meals came with an option of soup or salad--I got the salad, Nathan got the soup.  His soup was okay, according to him, but my salad was disgusting.  First of all, it was salad from a bag.  They made it exciting by adding mushrooms (which I'd JUST ordered my meal without, so you'd think they'd consider that and not add mushrooms to my salad, but whatever), a hunk of cucumber, and a carrot stick that had clearly been floating in water for who knows how long.  Speaking of water, there was a substantial puddle of water under the salad.  I mopped it up as best I could, spread the dressing (it came on the side), and ate a few bites, but just couldn't stomach it, so I didn't finish.

Then our food came.  My alfredo was BLAND, so I asked for parmesan cheese, and she brought a jar of powdered stuff.  I found salt on a neighboring table (we weren't given/offered any), and salted that bowl of pasta.  The pasta itself was still mushy, which of course I couldn't fix, but at least the sauce tasted better now.  It also had no pepper in the sauce, that I could tell, but plenty of an odd mix of herbs, both fresh and dried, that made it taste kind of weird.  Whatever.

Nathan's salmon was TINY.  Twenty bucks for this:

I asked him how it tasted, and he said so-so.  Awesome.

But we made it out to the Peter Iredale, not only in time for the sunset, but WAY before sunset.  Apparently the sunset table I looked at was incorrect.  Oh well.

At the parking area, there's a LOT of loose, dry sand.  I'm not sure if the asphalt ends, or if the sand just covers it up (it probably depends on which area--there's probably some of both situations).  Just as I was worrying about getting stuck in the sand in my front-wheel-drive car, the car in front of me DID get stuck.  A bunch of men appeared to push it out, though, so I drove around them, gingerly, and without losing momentum, and managed to park AND get out of the parking area again later without incident.  Whew!

This one would be an outtake, 'cause the kid ran through while I was taking a photo that wasn't supposed to have people in it, but once I saw it, I kinda liked the red shorts reflecting in the puddle, so I'm keeping it in.

Stay tuned for a different angle on this piece of the ship further down

Here's that piece of ship I mentioned above, with the camera looking from the lowest edge (water pools up until it reaches that depth), across to the other side.

Nathan was climbing around in the bow of the ship, and a random lady asked him if he was going to stand there like in Titanic, and Nathan (who hasn't seen Titanic), did this impression of a DEAD passenger instead.

I should flip this to be a mirror image of itself, because I liked how the object and the shadow make a check mark, but it's backward, in my opinion.

I love the texture some of the rust has!  I have a photo of the rust from this ship blown up and framed at home, actually.

Nathan saw that another boy had climbed all the way up on top of the wreck, so of course he had to do so, too.  I wasn't thrilled at the idea, but decided to let him go ahead and do it.  Just prayed he wouldn't get a rusty cut (though he HAD just had his tetanus booster) or broken ankle when he jumped down.

NOW he does a pose, but he calls it Napoleon.

(Feigning fear, not actually afraid)

See, Mom?  I told you I could jump off without getting hurt.  (Though wet sand IS harder than he anticipated.)

I asked if I could pet these dogs.  The St. Bernard was SO huge, but so sweet and fluffy and fun to pet.

For the sunset photos, I cranked the aperture of the lens WAY down (big  f/number, small aperture), and put a star-8 filter on to make the sun "burst."

Of course, Nathan continued to goof off throughout my sunset photos.

When I first saw "I [heart]...," I assumed it would be someone's name.  So it cracked me up to read this note.

This dog (also featured in the photo above) was SO intensely happy chasing the ball.  Not just intense about getting the ball, but just oozed happiness with every exuberant step.

Because my "sunset" photos were actually a while before the sun left the sky (I had to take them before the sun disappeared behind a bank of clouds at the horizon), when I went around and turned my back to the sun, there was still decent light.

Nathan saw the "I [heart] cows" message, ad changed it to better suit his interests.

And added a drawing to demonstrate

And even sculpted a toilet to really get the idea across.

Then, while waiting to see if the sun would peek out from behind the clouds before setting for real, I took photos of Nathan goofing around some more

The sun never did reappear.  But after leaving the wreck site, we drove north toward the South Jetty, and I thought I saw a head in the grass, but figured it was a log or stump or something, but JUST as we passed it, I realized what it was, and turned around to catch a couple photos of it.  Here's the best one, though it's out my car window, so still not the best, but what can you do.

From there, we drove back to Astoria, checked into our hotel, swam at the hotel a bit (well, Nathan swam, I saw all the clumps of hair in the pool and chose not to), showered (I'm liking the showering at night thing while on vacation, so we can just get up and go in the morning), and went to bed, with a little time thrown in for working on this blog and the photos and such.

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