#Travel: Cornering #Oregon – #photography

portland-astoria-loopOregonians know well the distinctive shape of their state. It’s found on key chains, souvenir shot glasses, business logos, decorative plates and innumerable wood-carved thingies. I feel bad for states like Colorado that have an outline about as exciting as a rectangle.

Colorado, Wyoming and Utah are the only states which have boundaries defined solely by lines of latitude and longitude. (Thanks for the arcane knowledge, Wikipedia!)

After hearing about all of the sunny and warmer days that have been happening on the Oregon coast, this weekend my wife and I decided to go see for ourselves. The plan was to leave cold and foggy Portland behind and go all the way around the NW corner of that unique Oregon shape.

Here are a few photographs from the trip. I’ve left them full-size to they can be clicked to enlarge.


The Portland Oregon skyline on the way out of town.

We headed north out of town followed the Oregon side of Columbia River. Sometime after passing the town of Rainier and a big ass bridge, we pulled over and found some ancient ruins.


I assume, of course, these were built by aliens. Even google seems to have no information.


The ruins weren’t far from this river shack. Maybe the occupant knows the history? But duck mating sounds came from within so we gave the place a wide berth.


Looks like some freshwater shellfish.


Arriving in Astoria, we immediately loaded up on fish and chips at the classiest boat-based food cart we could find. The Bowpicker! Our stomachs were about to embark on a three-hour tour, a three-hour tour.


Here we see the Astoria Column as viewed from a distance. As a child my parents once tried to force me up this thing. Naturally I cried like a baby and was excused. I’ve never been to the top. I hear there’s a cast iron spiral staircase that takes people 125′ to the top. It was built by a relative of John Jacob “Jack” Astor IV who died famously in the Titanic disaster. (That has nothing to do with our trip, though.)


This is a big boat that was floating in the Columbia River.


This is a smaller boat that seriously took a wrong turn. Maybe they had the fish and chips.


This part of the Columbia River is extremely close to the mouth that feeds the Pacific Ocean. There were lots and lots of these big ugly monstrosities ruining what otherwise would have been an awesome view. Lewis and Clarke and the Corps of Discovery came through here once and probably saw less of these things.


After a brief stop in Seaside, Oregon, which is essentially a tourist trap with one massively clogged street and lots of empty streets, we hurried south, finally arriving at Cannon Beach. I was heard to exclaim, “Where the hell is it?”


The sea was angry that day, my friends. (Not really, but it kind of looks like it.) Off in the distance you could see Tillamook Rock Light, a now deactivated lighthouse, nicknamed Terrible Tilly, probably because someone decided to built it on a rock offshore. Construction took 500 days.


The quintessential tourist shot of Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock. In 1846 a cannon washed ashore, but I’m sure that has nothing to do with the name.


Oregonians like to bike everywhere.


Suddenly eye felt like eye was being watched.


It was a baby bunny rabbit.


14 responses

  1. Snoring Dog Studio | Reply

    What a nice trip. I’m not so far away that I couldn’t get there and enjoy it, too. Some day.


    1. Did I mention the roads were quiet and smooth and very little traffic. I was fun. We picked out lots of things to explore further. We’ll meet you there for the $7.50/pound salt water taffy and $16/pound fudge. Those things always seem to wash up on the coast. We saw a cool looking crab shack but had already eaten the fish and chips, so maybe next time.


      1. Snoring Dog Studio

        Sounds great – I haven’t been to a coast for ages, so I’d love the scenery.


  2. The best part of my day so far was seeing that bunny shot. Thanks!


    1. You’re welcome! We didn’t have chairs so we walked up near the rocks to rest on a giant piece of driftwood. My wife spotted the bunny hop in a hole. So I climbed up the rocks and peered in the hole and there was the bunny looking right back at me. Apparently it wasn’t a very big hole. Later he came out and put on a show for us. Everyone else was looking at the waves. 🙂


      1. You two always have the best fun to be had outside of a vodka bottle.


  3. I love posts with maps! 🙂

    Looks like a great trip. The Beloved was a post-doc in Eugene and has been hankering for a trip back. It is percolating to the top of our list. Consider yourself warned.

    When I was little, my family took the Great American Roadtrip from New Jersey to the West Coast and back. I was six and the three things I distinctly remember were: Glacier National Park, the opening of the Columbia into the Pacific, and getting to pull a slot machine in Las Vegas.


    1. I’ll activate the Oregon Border Patrol. We have one but it’s usually used to stop California beers. Hopefully we’ll nab you when you try to cross.

      Eugene is a lovely area. Check out the Saturday Market if you ever get the chance.

      Memories from six are dicey things. Good memories. 🙂


  4. I think I remember seeing “alien ruins” like that at Harpers Ferry WV …


    1. I thought loading Google Maps and loading the little photographs on the map would help identify what used to be there, but Google had changed the maps and I can’t figure out how to make it do anything. Dammit.


      1. Darn that Google! Just when you figure them out….!


  5. My mom and I used to go to Cannon Beach as a kid. Fun memories–kites & rented bikes. I went out to the Oregon Coast about two years ago to look at a cobra lily (darlingtonia califorinicus, I think) preserve near Brookings or Gold Beach.

    I’ve never heard Oregon praised for it’s shape, but hey, I’m all for Oregonad pride. In recent years, I’ve mostly driven THROUGH Oregon, unfortunately–not stopping more than a night.

    I love that the exit numbers on the 5 in Oregon are by mile–makes it so easy to track your progress. 308 miles.


    1. Oh, the shape is huge around here. I’m sure people from rectangle states won’t understand. 🙂 You see the Oregon state outline all over the place.

      I grew up exploring the entire Oregon coast. Maybe we made sandcastles on the same beach at the same time?

      We know the section of coast from Brookings to Gold Beach very well.


  6. Hey I am traveling through Oregon. would like to stop at those ruins. Do you remember the cross streets for it? Or what someone should look for to find it?


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