Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Moving Day to Fort Stevens, Sea Lions and a Shipwreck

Location: Fort Stevens State Park (el. 25 ft); Hammond, Oregon

(click pictures to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 Cell Phone)

Happy Easter

Yesterday was moving day and I moved up the Oregon coast as far as you can go before getting into Washington state. The total mileage was about 135 miles with about half of that length within site of the ocean and the other half inland. It was two completely different landscapes that changed back and forth as I drove. 
Crossing the Yaquina Bay Bridge for the last time as I leave South Beach

The Pacific Ocean can be distracting sometimes. It is a beautiful sight

The inland portion of the trip. Mostly dairy country.

The view from an overlook with a large enough pull-out for Freedom and Liberty. This is looking south

Looking out to sea. The clouds were cooperating today and looked great.

Looking north. I met a nice young couple from Canada that were planning to do some traveling in the future.

I caught the gull at the right spot with the bright clouds behind it

I'm camped in Fort Stevens State Park and will be here for 5 days. It is in the extreme northwest corner of Oregon and close to both the Pacific and the Columbia River. The fort was built in 1863 as a result of a boundary dispute between Britain and the U.S. It's main purpose, with two other forts across the river in Washington, was to guard the entrance to the Columbia River. A little more than 100 river miles upstream is Portland, Oregon which is a major port for the U.S. The fort was closed and abandoned in 1947.

Fort Stevens is also the only "military" installation located within the continental U.S. to come under fire during World War II. It happened on June 21, 1942 when a Japanese submarine surfaced and lobbed 17 rounds from their deck gun into the fort. There were no injuries and the only damage was to the backstop on the baseball diamond. I guess they didn't like baseball. The American gunners were not allowed to return fire for fear of giving away the position of their guns. I assume if more damage had been inflicted, we would have returned fire. This type of submarine event was not unprecedented. Earlier that same year, a submarine lobbed shells into an oil field near Santa Barbara, California. Remember, Doolittle's Raid over Tokyo was in April of 1942. Maybe these two submarine events was in retaliation of the raid. 

My campsite, tucked neatly under the pine trees.

After getting set up I went to see the remnants of the wreak of the Peter Iredale. It was 4 mast steel/wood sailing ship that ran aground, back in 1906, on the beach about a 1 or so from the campground. It was heading to the Columbia River and while waiting off shore for a pilot, it was hit by strong winds and current which pushed it ashore. The impact of hitting the beach was so strong it snapped 3 of the 4 masts. The life station to the north rescued all hands. After salvaging the cargo, the ship was left to deteriorate. It immediately became a tourist attraction and remains one today. 

The temperature was in the low 60's with a nippy breeze blowing. I used my windbreaker and was comfortable. There were very few people on the beach area.

The remnants of the wreck of the Peter Iredale from 1906

A little closer

The last view of the wreck

Looking south along the beach. Notice the headlands in the distance. 

It was about 3 hours after high tide. The little girl to the right was looking everywhere for treasures.

Just another view of the water

It was neat the way the waves were rolling in. It was in slow motion most of the time.

This woman was having a great time tempting the waves. She was laughing out loud and it made me smile.

I drove into the town of Astoria which is a moderately sized town on the banks of the Columbia River. I got a very nice smoked chicken plate lunch with "smoky potato salad" and cole slaw. After eating, I walked along the river bank for a while and found some sea lions taking a nap. Some were branded like cattle and I was puzzled. I googled it later and found the reason. Apparently some sea lions have been eating protected fish up-stream at the Bonneville Dam. The dam has a fish ladder for salmon and steelheads to be able to swim up and over the dam, but due to the number of fish and the size of the ladder, they must wait in line. The smart sea lions have learned they can catch the fish easily while they are hanging around in line. So, the government steps in. The government believes there are only some sea lions doing this, so they trap the ones doing it and brand them with a number. If they do it again, then they are hunted down and relocated or killed. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. In the picture you can see some of the branded ones.  
The sea lions taking a nap. About every minute or so, a couple will set into to "barking" then go back to sleep. The bridge in the background goes to Washington state.

Seafaring cargo ships waiting to go upstream to Portland.

Before calling it a day and heading back to the campsite, I went to the tip of the campground. It is located at the south jetty that protects the mouth of the Columbia River. 

This is looking south along the coast. The rocks in the foreground is the jetty

Looking along the jetty out to sea

To the left of the jetty is the Pacific. To the right across the dirt is the entrance to the Columbia River.
It was a good day. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.


  1. While in the area, I suggest you make a 20-30 minute back-track to Seaside and Cannon Beach. Seaside is cool 50's era downtown with Broadway leading directly to the beach and the Lewis & Clark statue marking the end point of their western exploration. For lunch or dinner, be sure to try Dooger's clam chowder (on Broadway, of course). Cannon Beach is a more upscale little town with great art galleries and shops. However, the views from the walkable beach are great. Be sure to include Haystack Rock in your photos; both morning and sunset times are fantastic.
    My wife and I honeymooned there more than 25 yrs ago and still return often.

    1. Thanks for suggestions Anonymous. I will see if it fits my schedule

  2. I think the Evergreen Museum in Tillamok is worth seeing. The Columbia Gorge stats just east of Portland and is a very dramatic place to see. Lots of campgrounds on both sides of the Columbia as you head east.

    1. Thanks Barney. Ainsworth State Park, east of Portland, is my next campground