July 24, 2001

7/24/01 Fort Stevens

61.6 / 5100 miles

I was able to sneak out of camp without waking Bruce or Laura. Another wet, misty morning. Lot's of fog. The views from the beach of the surrounding shoreline cliffs reminded me of those Japanese woodblock prints with half the world hidden in the clouds. It was hard to get comfortable gear wise. On the uphills, you got hot and sweaty under the jacket, but then you got very cold on the fast descents.

Was unable to see Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach because of the mists. When I stopped for lunch at Seaside, the sky was just starting to show herself. At the Seaside Turnaround, the end of the Lewis & Clark Trail, I met Paul Moskovity, owner of a bike shop in St Louis called Re-Cycled Cycles. We talked about bikes of course, and of places we had in common.

Lewis & Clark in Seaside, OR

By this time, the sun was really coming through but the wind was also picking up speed. Most of the day had been on busy Hwy-101 but the route called for back roads all the way to Fort Clatsop National Memorial.

After what seemed like a long climb through thick forests, I suddenly came upon heavy road construction. The road looked to be widened but the surface for now was loose rock, for the next three of four miles. One of the signal people asked where I had come from. he must have radioed it to everyone because all the workers I passed yelled "Virginia!"

Good thing I have a mountain bike

Two dogs came out to great me today, barking loudly. I slowed down and gently talked to them like I always do. But this time, I felt their teeth graze my calf muscle. I yelled "No!" and they lost interest as I kept riding. Close call indeed.

Fort Clatsop was where Lewis & Clark wintered when they finally reached the Pacific Ocean. A replica of the fort was built and staff answer questions dressed in buckskin clothing. While taking a break in the sun outside, several people stopped to ask about my trip. When Beth and Jay Lillie heard I was planning to stay at Fort Stevens State Park, they invited me to dinner at their campsite. Great!

Fort Clatsop

The park is about ten miles off-route but I thought it would be a cheap alternative to a hotel in Astoria. The only problem getting there was crossing Hwy-101. Kind of hard getting a quick start when pulling a trailer but I made it safely across.

Fort Stevens was built at the end of the Civil War to protest the mouth of the Columbia River. In 1942, a Japanese submarine fired seventeen rounds from it's deck cannon at the fort. No damage was done but you can imagine the panic it caused with people thinking there was an invasion. There is a museum but most of the structures are gone except the concrete bunkers for the gun batteries.

After getting cleaned up at camp, I went in search of the Lillie's campsite. It wasn't hard because their church group occupied what seemed a half-dozen of the sites in one area. Jim recognized me first and began introducing me to everyone. Jay was raised in Portland and is retired military. Beth is a CPA from New Jersey who met Jay when he worked in Washington, DC. And they have two children, Katherine and David. Dinner was great and there was lots of it. Almost had a hard time getting back to my campsite because of darkness.

It was wonderful to be with people this evening but I'm back in the hiker-biker area alone again. It's amazing, that among these hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of campers I feel so alone. Not sure if I'll ever get out of this funk. Just try and take one day at a time I suppose.