Trees Trees and More Trees — The Evergreen State – Day 92

Trees Trees and More Trees — The Evergreen State

Day 92 – July 1, 2003 – Tuesday

Astoria, Oregon to Port Angeles, Washington today — on Highway 101 almost the entire way.

I saw a lot of trees today — Washington is full of them. The welcome sign said: “Washington — The Evergreen State.” Good motto.

I saw the northwesternmost point in the Continental United States, I think. Other sights today were the Astor Tower, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, a lot of trees, several lighthouses, the World’s Longest Beach, lots of trees, the World’s Biggest Frying Pan, the World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame, and a whole lot of trees.

I drove around Astoria before crossing the bridge to Washington State ? The Evergreen State. The big sight to see is the Astor Column (I’ve also seen it called The Astoria Column). It is a tower overlooking the Columbia River on Coxcomb Hill. The 125-foot tall column was built in 1926 with financing by Vincent Astor, the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor (the first millionaire in America), and the Great Northern Railway. It was built to commemorate the city’s role in the Astor family’s business history. It stands atop 700-foot tall Coxcomb Hill, so it is way up there. The Column includes an interior spiral staircase that leads to an observation deck at the top. There is a fabulous view from the top of the hill at The Astor Column.

There is detailed artwork covering the entire Column. The brochure calls it a “spiral frieze” (which I mistakenly thought was a treat at Dairy Queen), and it is almost seven feet wide, and 525 feet long. Painted by Electus D. Litchfield and Attilio Pusterla, the mural shows the early history of Oregon with a focus on Astoria’s role including Captain Gray’s discovery of the Columbia River in 1792 and the Lewis & Clark Expedition. I was able to get a good closeup of the detailed artwork, but I guess only the painters and a few birds get to see it all because the mural is on the outside of a 125-foot tall column atop a 700-foot hill.

I was interested to learn that at the time of his death in 1848, John Jacob Astor was the wealthiest person in the United States, leaving an estate estimated to be worth at least 20 million dollars. According to the latest Forbes rankings, he would be worth $110 billion in today’s dollars, making him the fourth wealthiest person in American history.

I saw some Victorian homes in Astoria. The most impressive was the Flavel House Museum. This home was built in 1885 by Captain George Flavel, a Columbia River bar pilot and the area’s first millionaire. This is a magnificent example of Queen Anne-style architecture with period furnishings and artwork, and it sits on an entire city block. It is a gorgeous home, but I bet it could be really spooky-looking at Halloween.

I then drove over the looong bridge between Astoria, Oregon and the coastline of Washington state near Ilwaco. State #25 for us. Did I mention that the Welcome to Washington sign said Washington is the “Evergreen State?”

I stopped at the Visitor Center at the Washington border, and Jiggs was very helpful. He was a fountain of information. I asked him about all the trees, and he told me more than I ever needed to know about trees…but I enjoyed it.

The Washington coastline near Ilwaco is very beautiful.

In the town of Chinook, I passed by Washington’s first salmon hatchery — established in 1893.

Ilwaco is the Centennial Murals City, so I photographed a couple of the murals. Since 1986, 18 Pacific County walls have become canvases for colorful and historical murals. The murals, which are the work of 14 artists, string from Tokeland to Chinook to Ocean Park and were painted to commemorate the Washington State Centennial in 1989.

I walked along the shore to the North Head Lighthouse in Ilwaco. I was able to take some good photos of the coastline and the North Head Lighthouse.

Just down the road was the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center which was a work in progress. It had artists’ renderings of what the displays would be like. There wasn’t much more to see. Surely they were running way behind schedule. The Lewis and Clark Expedition left in 1803, so 2003 is the bicentennial, and half of 2003 was gone when I visited on July 1, 2003. The folks out west can be glad that those operating the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center were not the ones leading the expedition as the west may have never been settled.

I got a photo of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Ilwaco. The only thing this area has more of than lighthouses is trees.

Long Beach, Washington had a number of interesting and enjoyable sights. In addition to some nice trees, the World’s Longest Beach is in appropriately-named Long Beach, Washington. I walked down the beach a bit so I could say I had truly been there. I took a photo of the sign that says “world’s longest beach” and a photo of the beach that goes on forever. It looks like it really could be the world’s longest — we know some cities, states, and countries are prone to exaggeration.

Then I met Sharon and Kay at the World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame. The World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame is the only American Museum dedicated exclusively to the history of kites, kitemakers and famous kite fliers. I had never stopped to think that there were famous kite fliers other than Benjamin Franklin.

The major attraction that I went to see in Long Beach was Marsh’s Free Museum. W.W. Marsh, Sr. went broke raising rutabagas is North Dakota, so he moved to Long Beach, Washington and opened a candy shop and ice cream store. A few years later when the passenger liner Admiral Benson went aground in the fog near Cape Disappointment, the enterprising Wellington Marsh, Sr. sensed a business opportunity and hurriedly opened a temporary hamburger stand to feed the curious onlookers. It was a beginning that would have Marsh return to the Peninsula in 1935, after owning a tavern in Gray’s River. Marsh’s Free Museum was born. Marsh’s Free Museum was originally known as Marsh’s Seashell Factory and Antiques from 1937 to 1952. Originally across the street from its current location, Marsh’s Free Museum soon became known as a place that might purchase that weird stuff found when cleaning out the attic.

One of Marsh’s Free Museum’s many advertising slogans is “a place where troubles are forgotten and laughs and smiles are free.” I laughed and smiled.

If you want to see a shrunken head (one of three authentic specimens on the West Coast), or a complete human skeleton (found in a closet at Marsh’s), Marsh’s Free Museum is the place to visit. How long has it been since you’ve gazed into the eyes of a Yak, a Lioness, a Seca, or a Russian Boar? These are just a few of the hundreds of stuffed and mounted animals that adorn the wall or watch from their posts in the rafters. Known for America’s largest collection of glass fishing floats, one as large as a beach ball, the Museum is also home to a world class collection of sea shells. And to impress this point, more than 1,000,000 free sea shells are given to visitors every year. From the bizarre; a two headed calf or an eight legged lamb…to the old and unusual; mechanized antique gaming machines and peepshows, there is no end to the marvels one uncovers in every nook and cranny. Where else can you watch a peep show, play baseball, have your fortune told, shop for antiques, stretch your imagination, even test your love quotient? From petrified dinosaur dung to a 1940 “Wendell Wilkie for President” poster and a human tape worm in a bottle, if you haven’t seen it at Marsh’s, then, you haven’t stayed long enough…. It was my kind of place!

I met Don and Dan at Marsh’s. I met Yvette and Rebekah just across the street at the world’s largest frying pan. I also visited Long Beach’s Lewis & Clark memorial.

The Hungry Harbor Grill in downtown Long Beach had good clam and chips and slaw for lunch.

I met Randy at a gas station in Long Beach. He gave me a pen as a thank you for buying gas gift, so I took his photo and gave him a bigger tip than I would have given had I not received a free ballpoint pen. I am about out of beads. Boz ordered more, and she will be bringing them when she returns to the trip in Seattle.

There was a fairly pretty blue sky today, so I was able to get some nice coastline photos.

South Bend, Washington had a sign proclaiming it to be “Oyster Capital of the World.”

I saw a lot of Christmas trees today. Pointy-top evergreens.

A sign just outside Raymond announced that I had entered the Raymond Wildlife Heritage Sculpture Corridor. I?d never heard of this. I discovered that steel sculptures of wildlife and people have been placed along Highway 101, State Route 6, and throughout downtown Raymond. The sculptures were designed by local artists in 1993 to reflect the heritage of the area. Loggers, Native Americans, elk, and bear are some of the subjects portrayed. I continued to see them as I drove along, some more elaborate than others. There were a lot of them.

Olympic National Park was on the drive today. Talk about a lot of trees!!!

Humptulips. Funny name. There is a town named Humptulips, and I drove past it. I did some Internet research about the name. The name Humptulips may have come from a local Native American language, meaning “hard to pole,” referring to the difficulty local Native Americans had poling their canoes along the Humptulips River. According to other sources the word means “chilly region.” Another possibility is that Humptulips was the name of a band of the Chehalis Tribe. So, no one seems to know for sure where the name came from.

The largest spruce tree is supposedly in the Quinault Recreation Area. I guess I saw it. There were too many trees to be absolutely sure, but I am confident that I at least saw the top of it. Lake Quinault is the “Valley of the Rain Forest Giants,” and the Big Spruce Tree is one of them. The World’s Largest Spruce Tree has a circumference of 58 feet 11 inches, a diameter of 18 feet 9 inches and it is 191 feet tall for a total of 922 American Forestry Association (AFA) points. A very large tree near Seaside, Oregon has claimed to be the United States largest spruce tree; it has 902 AFA points. The American Forestry Association declared them close enough to be CO-champions. But a little bigger is still bigger. Those darned folks in Seaside!

I stopped to powder my nose in Forks, Washington. Dawn said “I like your necklace” as we passed on the street. She became the proud owner of her own beads. Cody and Andrew liked the flames on the PT Cruiser.

The Forks Timber Museum had a major collection of saws and a logger memorial with a giant logger wooden statue. The museum displays exhibits depicting local history dating back to the 1870’s. It was constructed in 1990 by the Forks High School carpentry class. The signs say the 3,200 square foot building “provides a fascinating look back into the local history of the timber industry.” The displays include an ancient cross-cut saw, chain saws used by lumbermen, a bunkhouse showing where they slept and how they lived, and books and videos of who these men were and what they did. Outside, there’s a memorial garden. There’s even a fire lookout tower and nature trails. A fitting stop on a day with trees, trees, and more trees.

I saw tree stumps left after trees had been harvested. I saw many of these today, and it looked to me like the land was not being managed properly. One of our online travelers emailed to advise me that this practice was proper, and that the stumps would be removed after they served their purpose. I did note that the professional timber companies posted signs along the highway to show how the forests are managed.

The rest of the day was a search for the northwesternmost point in the Continental United States. I had been to the southeasternmost and southwesternmost points, and I hoped to add northwest and northeast.

I went to La Push, Washington because some research indicated it could be the westernmost spot. I then made my way to Cape Flattery.

I saw the famous Running Fish Statue in Clallam Bay, Washington. I saw the boat in harbor and the Makah Indian Museum in Neah Bay, Washington.

I ultimately saw something that very few people have seen — Cape Flattery — what I choose to believe is the northwesternmost point in the Continental United States. The Trail was built by the Makah Indian Tribe with two Federal grants. It provides a view of waves crashing against rocky shores and of Tatoosh Island, a former Makah fishing and whaling camp, and lots of trees. I was told that visitors can sometimes catch a glimpse of puffin, sea otters, seals, gray, orca and humpback whales and other marine life.

It was a very beautiful spot, but it was a long drive and a LONG hike to get there and back. As I entered the trail, I saw a family of five heading back to their car. I asked if it was worth the hike, and the parents said yes while the teenage children all rolled their eyes in unison. I don’t recommend it for the normal tourist — only for crazy folks like me who want to say they were at the northwesternmost point. I kept driving and driving and driving to get there, and I finally reached a parking area and a sign. It was then a 22-minute hike down to the end of Cape Flattery, and a little longer uphill on the return through the rainforest.

It was really beautiful there. I was able to get some wonderful photographs, including the Cape Flattery Lighthouse.

Then I photographed a gorgeous orange sunset at Cape Flattery. I was able to photograph it from several vantage points — some of the best sunset photos from the trip. I especially enjoy “chasing the sun” at the end of the day when there are a few clouds in the sky to make the sunsets more dramatic.

I may have actually failed in my plan to visit the four “most” points. There are conflicting reports about the westernmost, and I lost my sheet with the information, and I couldn’t get anyone on the cell phone to help. I had been at Cape Blanco, Oregon (one of the claimants to be the westernmost point), but I had read that a place in Washington was actually westernmost. So, I looked at the map and visited two of three Indian reservations that are far west — La Push and Cape Flattery near Neah Bay. I checked Yahoo, and it appears the third Indian reservation could have the westernmost point — Cape Alava. Disappointing. It was getting dark after Cape Flattery, and I never even saw a sign for Cape Alava. I will say, however, that a number of sources say that Cape Flattery is the westernmost spot, so I’m goin’ with it.

I saw more firework stands on the Indian reservations here than I’ve seen in the rest of the country. I stopped at Ill Eagle Fireworks.

Random Comments:

Washington is state #25, though the trip is 75% behind us.

Today marks the start of Week # 14, and the fourth month of the trip. I’d like to say April 1 seems like it was just yesterday, but it is tiring to travel this much.

I haven’t mentioned it lately, but I am always on the lookout for flags everywhere I go. I usually take a number of flag photos each and every day. I have done a good job of getting a photo of a license plate in every state as well as a good selection of flag photos from each state.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
Astoria Oregon — The Astor Column — Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center — Long Beach Washington — Worlds Longest Beach — World Kite Museum and Hall of Fame — Marsh’s Free Museum — Worlds Largest Frying Pan — Raymond Wildlife Heritage Sculpture Corridor — Worlds Largest Spruce Tree — Forks Timber Museum — Running Fish Statue — Cape Flattery