I’ve been buffing a little bit here and there lately. By hand it is pretty slow going—I really need to just buy a buffer. It looks really nice when that chalky top layer comes off, though.
We continued north to Astoria, where we drove up the hill through town—something we probably shouldn’t have been doing in this old bus—to the Astoria Column. A spiral staircase led us to the top where we found everybody throwing balsa wood airplanes off. Apparently you need to peruse the gift shop before climbing up in order to score the planes. When we went in afterward there was a lady sitting there putting together hundreds of these tiny planes. What a job. At a buck a piece they were flying off the shelves.
Back down the hill we went in search of a particular brew pub with an awesome IPA. Somehow in this small working class town we managed to miss it completely. We found a bookshop, wandered around a bit, and headed for a State Park on the coast.
It was Friday, and most normal people who understand what a weekend is had made reservations. We are not normal—the idea that a park on the beach in the middle of summer hadn’t even occurred to us. I swallowed my pride and pulled into the KOA across the road. Full. Christ, between the two there must have been four hundred spaces, and they were booked solid. We had to drive a few miles in from the coast to find a place for the night.
The next day we drove back to the Fort Stevens beach. We got there early to enjoy an overcast mist shrouded morning. That eventually burned off to give us a bit more of a summertime beach feeling, but really, the Oregon coast is no tropical paradise. Regardless, it’s a fun place to romp around for a day.
Later in the afternoon we were driving along when I spotted something I wanted to take a picture of. I pulled over and watched as the car behind me pulled over too. The guy had been driving me nuts for a few miles because he wouldn’t pass me even on long stretches of open road. When I’m doing 45 in a 60 I expect people to pass. It makes my life easier not having to worry about them behind me. Anyway, he pulled over and my first thought was that he was going to tell me that my brake lights weren’t working. Because with this bus that’s always my first thought. When someone honks and flips me off as they pass by I think, “Brake lights.”’
Turned out instead to be a fellow blogger/wanderer/gypsy/whatever. We’d just missed meeting up in Texas, and now by pure coincidence here we were meeting on the 101 north of Astoria. He’d passed us and turned around to follow and see if we pulled over before the next major turnoff. For some reason I felt compelled to stop and take these pictures a mile before that turnoff. Funny how things work sometimes.
He told us about a campground up the road a bit, so that’s where we headed. The camp was actually on the land of a catamaran builder. We dry camped along the Willapa River within view of two big cats under construction. The fifty-something footer looked like a hell of a boat. Now, if these companies could just cut the price of these by 90% we could all go cruising in style.
There were a bunch of blackberry bushes growing along the bank of the river. The kids stood behind me and ate them as fast as I could pick them. A hundred of them disappeared before I was finally able to fill up a bowl to bring home. Afterwards I decided that those little four dollar containers we buy at the grocery store should cost closer to forty—picking those things is a dangerous business.
Today we just tooled along in slow motion until stopping for the day at a State Park along the Hood Canal. As pretty as it is up in this area of the world, it just isn’t for us. Mid-July, sixty-five degree highs, drizzle, and the woods. Pretty, and yet dreary at the same time.
Sometimes it seems people put up No Trespassing signs just for the sake of putting up a sign. How many people were really beating through this forest straight uphill with machetes before this sign was posted?