Long Beach - Grays Harbor, Washington
"US-101 technically has two southern ends. There's one in California in downtown LA at the East LA Interchange and one in Olympia, Washington. The highway loops around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, reaching its northernmost point at Port Angeles."
The first time I saw the dingy, unappealing International Terminal at San Francisco Airport I thought it was sad that this was the first many travelers saw of America. It's how I feel about the Washington Coast. After the neat, clean and lively little beach towns of the Oregon Coast, Long Beach doesn't make the best first impression for our most northwestern state. Sand Castle RV Park is a good example.
|After our beautiful river front site, our new place is challenged in the "view" department.|
Long Beach is called the longest beach in the world, but Google says it's the second after Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Probably the longest one we'll ever see :-) The little town is packed with tourists - Saturday and Sunday the sidewalks are overflowing rivers of people.
In a previous visit to Astoria, Oregon, we made the drive to Oysterville Sea Farms at the recommendation of good friends Eric and Laurel (Raven and Chickadee) It's a delightful little spot on Willapa Bay, offering excellent fresh and smoked seafood, and stunning views across the marshes.
We return on a sunny afternoon to pick up salmon and oysters and enjoy the unique vistas.
|Clammers on Willapa Bay|
|Classes were held at the site from 1860 to 1957, this Oysterville Schoolhouse was built in 1907.|
|Not long into the wildlife refuge trail I can feel the bugs biting me - of course they completely ignore Bill.|
|So much beach!|
|Her first time getting in the water - not a fan.|
|Beware the stare!|
|The fog moves in and out.|
|Here I come!|
|Low, low, low tide.|
We venture into the little town a couple times for eats and brews, and a 30 minute wait in line for very good (not Buttercup-good, but good) ice cream. It's much busier than we like, but it is summer on the coast, and like us, people want to be where the weather is perfect.
|As yummy as it is pretty - seared ahi at Lost Roo.|
|The largest frying pan in America - because.|
|A couple places have sand castle art out front.|
|The boatmen look a bit like coconut monkeys, but it's still pretty cool - and amazing how it stays together for days.|
On our way we stop to explore Cape Disappointment. A wild and beautiful area, the state park is popular with beach-going families. I couldn't get a reservation for this visit, but I'd love to stay here in the future.
|Cape Disappointment Lighthouse from Waikiki Beach|
|The kayaker paddled into the large cavern - how cool!|
|Fort Canby bunker - the center is built on top, just to the right.|
|The interior feels haunted - and very chilly.|
|A friendly woman points out this hungry eagle enjoying lunch on a distant limb. Gotta love a zoom lens!|
|Where the Columbia River reaches the Pacific Ocean. The goal of Lewis and Clark's historic expedition.|
|In addition to several documents and drawings, the chronological story of the expedition includes art pieces based on the experiences recorded in Lewis and Clark's journals.|
Prairie Meadows Burning, by George Catlin
|Lewis and Clark Foggy Morning on the Missouri River, 1804 by Gary Lucy|
|Captain Clark, Buffalo Gangue by John Clymer|
|Bear at Three Forks, Montana by Robert Reynolds (the information plaque notes that everyone thought the animal looks more like a dog, and nothing like the massive bear that treed a member of the party).|
|Lewis and Clark in the Bitteroots by John Clymer Their winter travels through these mountains were noted as the most perilous of the journey.|
|They collected plant specimens in pressed plate boxes like these, including 174 new to science at the time. It's amazing what they carried with them over land and water.|
|All of their journals were published, and have been read by millions. Our daughter-in-law's father said that reading them was "the closest thing to time travel". I really need to read them.|
|Excellent from the crust to the goat cheese!|
|My ship finder app isn't working, but both of these ships are from China.|
|A quick stop at Fort Columbia for a final look across the Columbia.|
From Long Beach we continue our "new to the motorhome" section of Hwy 101, including a beautiful drive around the east side of Willapa Bay.
|Above the layers we see (and hear) an approaching flyer.|
|Great way to see what is otherwise hidden.|
|A very different shoreline.|
|North of Moclips is Quinault Tribal Land, with no public access. We take a quick peek - it's a beautiful area.|