September 24 Astoria Column

The rain quit last night and we awoke to partly cloudy skies and some sun. We realized the views across the Columbia River and out to the Pacific would be considerably better than during yesterday’s dismal weather so we decided to take another spin up to the Astoria Column, a big spikey-looking thing on a high point above town.

We made an effort to stay off US-101 when possible, using instead the few back roads leading from our RV park in Seaside on the Pacific up to Astoria on the Columbia River. We arrived at the kiosk at the Astoria Column and were told we could use our $5 ticket from the last time we visited, back in about June because the tickets are good for the whole year. We told him we would probably be unable to produce a four month old ticket but really had no qualms about giving the park a little extra money because it is a gorgeous place and should be maintained for all. We could afford to chip in to this worthy cause.

Today’s better weather gave us an opportunity to enjoy some spectacular vistas from the large grass hilltop surrounding the Column. North of us we could see down into Astoria and the Columbia and across the river into southern Washington. The very long Astoria-Megler Bridge is at the edge of the view down the Columbia to the south spit and out to the Pacific. On the south of the park is a large estuary where the Lewis and Clark and Youngs Rivers dump into the Columbia River System just before it dumps into the ocean. There was water everywhere.

The Column itself is pretty interesting. It sticks up some 125 feet from the top of 600 foot high Coxcomb Hill and has a spiral stair inside that offers those with good knees to climb to an observation deck at the top. It was built in 1926. On the side of it is what they call a spiral sgraffito frieze that portrays a continuous scene of Oregon stuff like Indians, Lewis & Clark and other events and people in the last 250 years. It is sort of like a really massive paper towel tube with diagonal scene paintings on the outside. The frieze, if unwound, would be 7 feet high and 575 feet long. Somebody did a lot of nifty scaffold work to get this project done.

On the way home, we tried an alternate route back to Seaside and had driven quite a bit of the distance when we spotted a small orange sign at the roadside indicating the road was closed 2 miles ahead for a culvert repair. Stupidly, we went on, thinking that a culvert repair couldn’t take long (the sign indicated project start 6 weeks ago) but found that Oregon Dept. of Transportation did not lie so we turned around and backtracked for about ten miles. We eventually found a way through, arriving back in Seaside in time for me to dump our tanks and disconnect our water supply in preparation for travel tomorrow. We are ready to go on short notice in the morning.

There’s some pix. Click the link.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.