Canada 21, 24th July 2006

I got out of my campsite without problem and looked at the coast. It was misty.

I found some nice views.

Tom once caught me out, when in error I sent 2 pictures of the same waterfall taken from different places. I promise you, these are different rocks.

I know there are some people who get my email who only look at the pictures. So there you are. North West Oregon.

I went to the Astoria Maritime Museum. It sets out to be a major "theme" museum. Unlike the Albuquerque balloon museum, it just scrapes in. It has all sorts of stuff including a model of the Golden Hind, Sir Francis Drake's boat. Now this would not be very interesting except I am related to him. Not directly you understand, he is not a blood relation,and actually it is a very tenuous connection, it needs a couple of marriages to connect, but the relationship is there.

Someone has pointed out, that if I continue with this level of relationship, then I am related to about half the population of the UK. Maybe. But this relationship, with Sir Francis Drake, is documented. The others are not.

I climbed the Astoria column. The tallest pre-stressed decorated concrete tower in the world. 165 steps to the top. I didn't count, the donors of each step are listed! Superb view from the top, a photo cannot do justice to such a view.

I looked for somewhere to park for the night, I'd seen a couple of likely looking spots from the tower. When I got down I found the access gates were locked. I found a neat spot in a park, but Astoria has a city ordinance forbidding sleeping in a vehicle so I thought better of it. There are no RV parks in the city so they are not looking out for anyone's interest. Someone told me Astoria used to be an unwelcoming place, but it's now getting better. OK. I guess there is still room for improvement.

I had the idea of crossing the bridge (4.21 miles long) across the Colombia River mouth to Washington to a rest area, to park up for the night, but first I headed a little inland to look. I saw a sign, Rodeo, and followed it, since it was the way I was going. I got stuck behind some traffic and noticed they were following a sign, Rodeo only. So, OK, I thought, I'll go to the rodeo. I don't know why I went, I'm not really a

Rodeo enthusiast, Well, I think the riders were a little more skilful than last time. As well as bareback riding there is bareback bull riding, lassooing a calf and tying it's legs so that it cannot get up, and team calf catching, one lassooning the neck another a rear leg. But the cowgirls carrying the sponsor's flags did not ride so fast. Actually one of them fell off. But the barrel racing where the cowgirls make a shamrock type course around 3 barrels was fast enough. It was all OK.

Simon I am sure will be amazed (gobstruck we say in Yorkshire) to discover that the rodeo organisers have actually got it organised, and most of the competing cowgirls are actually the wives of some of the competing cowboys and are not 8 year old children, awaiting the attacks of aged paedophiles, as he once imagined.

After the rodeo it was late so I just struck out over the bridge to Washington state, and pulled into the rest area that I had seen marked on the map close by the end of the bridge.

In the morning I recrossed the bridge to visit Fort Clatsop. Once you get past the name, enough to stop almost anyone visiting, the place is fascinating. It's a reconstruction of the Winter quarters of the Lewis and Clark expedition with lots of information about the expedition. It kept me absorbed for over 3 hours.

Perhaps I should start to rate museums on the length of time they can keep me there.......

There was a demonstration of the type of rifle that would have been carried on the expedition.

This is one idea of what the fort would have looked like.

It rained a lot while they were there, something like 106 days out of 126. There is between 100 and 130 inches of rain per year here. Apparently - fortunately - not now, in July.

This is a view of Astoria going back.

I took a trip on the trolley along the riverfront. It was quite fun! Took over an hour and only cost a dollar.

Then to the Heritage museum. I only had 30 minutes before closing time. Whilst not one of the top museums I have visited, and it didn't have the huge collection of old items found in some museums, it had some stories to tell. It had the story of the oppression of the native Indians, it had the story of the Finns, who were a large part of the new immigrants, many returned to Katrina in Russia on the promise of wealth to find it was not there, it had information on the Klu Klux Klan told in a way I had not seen before.

I talked a long time with the lady who was in charge. I then passed her on a street corner after leaving. Then I met her while we were both parking in Safeway. Finally we managed to make our separate ways, and I crossed over the bridge to stay in the same rest area again. It is a rather fine view looking over the estuary to the lights of the town along the waterfront opposite.

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in the USA

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