Northwest by North, Day 11: Straddling the Broad Columbia

The day started with the mundanity of laundry, and a delicious breakfast from Coffee Time, in the Portland suburb of Tualatin.  My spirit guide set me on the way to Astoria, bypassing most of Portland.  I made three pit stops along the Columbia, first at Sauvie Island, just west of the city.  Here, there are large family-run fruit and vegetable farms, and a thriving sport-fishing enterprise.

The second stop was in St. Helens, the largest Oregon town on the Columbia, between Portland and Astoria.  This is a busy port and a welcoming recreational center, especially for weekenders.  I was fortunate to find Hawaiian Islands Cafe, where it’s easy to connect with the Internet, using the town’s WiFi from the city’s riverside park.  They also have great food.

My last stop before Astoria was at Rainier.  Here, a long bridge spans the Columbia, to connect with Longview, WA.

I last visited Astoria thirty years ago.  Astoria Column was the town’s centerpiece then, as now.

The heat does this sort of thing, but you get the idea.  Below is a distant, but somehow better view of the Column, taken from the Riverside Park.

In turn, the column affords views of all four directions.  Here are two of them.

From Riverside Park, one also gets a clear view of the mouth of the Columbia River.

I then crossed the westernmost bridge spanning the Columbia River.

That was my day, crossing one of our great riparian systems.  It seemed a bit long to cross the Columbia, because there are repairs being done to the bridge, so it’s a one-lane structure, in its midsection.  That’s okay; the Columbia is not one of those places into which I’d want to go car-diving.

Tomorrow, more from Washington State:  The ocean beaches and Olympic Peninsula.

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