Lighthouse Road Trip – Day 7 – Wallapa Bay and the Mouth of the Columbia River

Yesterday was actually Day 3 for my PleasureWay Convoy, but 7 for my trip starting in Marin County.

From Westport we headed south on 101, forest on the left and the Pacific in the right. As you can see, it was raining, but no matter.

Entering Pacific County, we came to the north end of Wallapa Bay, where from pre-colonial times, locals have harvested oysters. This truck is hauling away the shells from a canning company,

I stopped in at Raymond, a tiny rundown town.

A metal artist has sprinkled sculptures of people doing various everyday things on nearly every roadside and corner. He has also cut rabbits, deer, and other animals from sheet metal, now covered with a rusty patina. It was still raining, so these photos are dark.

This old relic was built as a Sears Roebuck.

A monument to logging graces the center of town across from the post office.

At the south end of Wallapa Bay we turned to the coast to see two lighthouses that guard the entrance to the Columbia River. North Head Lighthouse is still functioning and open to the public. Built in 1893, its beam extends 17 miles out to sea. The light was originally lit with kerosene, which had replaced whale oil. The two buildings to the right housed 6 months worth of kerosene each.

There is also a short walk to a point that was used as a weather station and guard house during World War II.

North head is one of the windiest places on the coast and continues to be a place from where weathermen measure.

Here are some of our vans in the parking lot.

Just a couple miles south looms Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. The cape was named by Captain Mears in 1788. He was looking for the mouth of a great river hoping it was the Northwest Passage. How he missed the Columbia, we can only guess?

‘Cape D’ Lighthouse was built a few years before North Head, but boat pilots complained they couldn’t see it soon enough when approaching the river from the north.

This is also the location of the Lewis & Clark Museum. The self-guided tour describes their adventure, which culminated at viewing the Pacific for the first time here.

They also have one of the lenses designed by Augustin Fresnel that were used in most lighthouses after 1822. He used prisms stacked in the shape of a beehive to enhance the lights made from the kerosene flames.

From the museum we viewed the Cape D Lighthouse.

After reading about all of Lewis and Clark’s travel woes, it was amazing to see the Astoria Bridge spanning the entire river mouth from Washington State to Oregon.

Turning left after crossing the bridge and driving through the 19th century town of Astoria, I had 15 minutes to see the Columbia River Maritime Museum before it closed.

Finally we reached our home for the night, Fort Stevens State Park Campground — another good find by Tom O’Malley.

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