Sunday, July 19, 2009

End of the Trail

John Jacob Astor was a very successful and wealthy New York fur trader in the late 18th century who saw the great potential in creating a new fur trade in the undeveloped Pacific Northwest.

In 1810, he sent two parties of men to present day Astoria. One party traced the Lewis and Clark journey. The second party sailed by clippership around South America. By 1811, after much trial and tribulation, Astor had established Fort Astoria which has become the oldest settlement west of the Rockies.

Present-day Astoria, Oregon, shows both its history of ties to the sea and trade in some of the buildings at the docks and its focus on the future with the waterfront trolley. The trolley passes an observation deck, restaurants, and shops that beckon to tourists and locals alike.

Not far from the docks is the Astoria Column. Built in 1926, the 125-foot column atop 600-foot Coxcomb Hill was the last of a series of 12 historical markers erected between St. Paul, Minnesota and Astoria. These markers were the pet project of Ralph Budd, president of the Great Northern Railroad. He wanted to salute Astoria's explorers and early settlers for their critical role in the United States' expansion to the Pacific.

The Column's 14 25-foot-long scenes represent the triumphs, conflicts, and turning points of the Pacific Northwest. The Italian immigrant artist, Attilo Pusterla, used a bas relief technique called sgraffito, an art form that combines paint and plaster carvings, to create these scenes.

A short distance from the Column is this cement replica of the Ceremonial Burial Canoe of Comcomly, the Great Chief of the Chinook Nation (1763-1830).

During his lifetime he was a trader, navigator, and not only befriender of Lewis and Clark, but also benefactor of the early Astorians.

The ever-present fog (at least it was so during our stay in the Cannon Beach area) prevented us from making a photographic record of the view of the Columbia River and Youngs Bay from Coxcomb Hill.

We headed south from Astoria to the coastal town of Seaside with the fog as a traveling companion. About four blocks from the ocean, we saw this twosome on the Necanicum River in town. Even late in the morning there was lingering fog.

We headed to the beach to see just how the fog was affecting beach activity. A few ghostly figures were walking on the beach, two were involved in a type of volleyball activity, and a few were burying a member of the family in a mound of sand.

On this cloudy, misty, cool day a little activity on the swings was about it for beach play.

At the end of Broadway was the Lewis and Clark statue entitled "End of the Trail" to commemorate the journey of the first Americans to traverse the Continent to reach the Pacific Coast. This statue is in the center of the auto turnaround.

A walk along the beach would be along the two-mile-long promenade in front of the hotels, motels, and residences along the oceanfront. The “Prom” was originally built around 1908 as a boardwalk, and that original boardwalk was replaced with the cement structure.

The main street in Seaside is Broadway. This runs perpendicular to the ocean and is lined with shops, restaurants, and the usual resort souvenir shops, bumper car rides, corn dog windows, and two special shops that we had to visit.

The Buzz on Broadway doesn't just sell chocolate Twinkies. The have chocolate cherry, cherry, and orange Twinkies.

All we need to see are the words "soda fountain," and we're at a couple of stools. We each had a cone and asked about the bottles of soda they had displayed at the Flashback Soda Fountain.

Well, just a couple doors away was a store that had some 200 varieties of soda, many of which are only being made in small quantities by small bottlers.

We asked about Nehi Orange, which is no longer bottled, but we did find a dozen bottles that we wanted to taste again--or, in some cases, for the first time. Four of the dozen are shown here (right).

We're not sure what to eat with Moxie Blue Cream.

Our walk back to the truck took us past this residence. I thught the weathered appearance presented an interesting visual appeal.

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