It seemed fitting to begin our van adventure by heading from Troutdale to the mouth of the Columbia River. We had started our trip west in St. Louis on November 15, about 111 years after Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery made it to the Pacific Ocean. Near Astoria, on the Netul River, they built a fort named Clatsop for the local Indian tribe and moved in on December 10. This was their home for three months as they reprovisioned for the long trip back east.
We stayed in three beautiful State parks on the northern Oregon coast–Fort Stevens, Nehalem Bay, and Beverly Beach– and explored many other beautiful beaches and promontories in between. Each had its own personality and distinct features from rocky headlands and pounding surf to wide expanses of sand gently sloping to the sea. We often stopped for the day as the sun set and were treated to spectacular interplays of color, clouds, and reflected light.
From Newport we headed inland to visit friends in Eugene and spend what turned out to be our only night outside the van in three weeks.