“ocian in view! o! the joy!” (sic), William Clark, November 7, 1805
Well, after traveling 4190.6 miles on my motorcycle I have stepped my foot in the Pacific Ocean completing my cross-country trip following the Lewis and Clark trail.
This is what it looked like to me:
On our way out of The Dalles area we stopped on top of what used to be water falls on the Columbia river. The falls are gone and in their place is a huge lock and dam with power generating capability. At this place you could clearly see Mount Hood in the background. Mount St. Helens is north of here unseen but very near by.
The ride through Portland as a “Sit down, shut up and hang on!” kind of trip. I honestly don’t think that we would have made it through the city without stopping and asking for directions had I not had the GPS turned on with an active route programmed into it. Every time it said to turn, I turned and didn’t ask questions. Dad and Chuck were right behind. We got caught up in a traffic jam on the west side of town that slowed our progress westward.
The four lane divided highway of route 26 did finally give in to it’s two-lane brother west of town. Still crowded but a beautiful and cooler drive every mile we went westward. By the time we got to the city of Astoria the temperature had dropped into the 50’s and we were all putting on warm and rain gear.
One place we stopped was to pay homage to the largest Sitka spruce tree in the world. I left the guy in the picture to show the size of the tree. It’s circumference is 56 feet! It’s 206 feet tall and over 750 years old. Amazing.
We went on to Fort Clatsop. Fort Clatsop was the winter fort Lewis and Clark built while they waited to go back home the next year after winter passed and the spring snow melted off the Rocky mountain passes.
Seeing one of their forts was always amazing. They were so small I don’t see how they inhabited them for long without going stir crazy. While we were there we got to see the firing of a musket gun by one of the guides there. Always fun to see a gun fire. Honestly I’m amazed they were able to kill enough animals to eat with these guns. Of course, they hunted with rifles not muskets so they are pretty accurate. But still, they are so prone to not work and when they do work it’s so delayed you have to be a skilled marksman to be effective with them.
The end of my trip wouldn’t have been complete unless I went to “Cape Disappointment” That’s where I wanted to end up when I first planned the route for the trip. So dad and Chuck obliged me and after leaving Fort Clatsop we did the 30 or so miles there. What fun. We made it. Our trip westward was finished. Dad and Chuck waited patiently while I did my thing; a common theme in my life.
We ascended the mighty Missouri, crossed the continental divide through Lolo Pass, descended the Snake river that feeds into the Columbia and empties into the Pacific ocean. We followed, as close as physically possible on motorcycles, the route Lewis and Clark followed on their outbound journey west in to, then, uncharted territory.
It’s been a lot of fun and it’s now time to return home. On the way home I will be driving 750 miles down to San Francisco and will work there next Monday. Monday evening I will start my 2700 mile trip back home completing my east coast to west coast journey.
Tonight we ate in a bar very close to the hotel. All I could stomach was a salad. That’s all I could see, too, since it was so darned dark in there I don’t know how they could not trip while they delivered food. We also saw an example of someone who should not drive after having a “few”. I pray that man made it home that day without hurting himself or anyone else.
Tomorrow we will be following Highway 101 along the Oregon coast. I will be stopping frequently to take more pictures and notes along the way.
— Main.JohnWesterman – Published 13 Aug 2004
Photos from today: