Under the advice of Patrick, the guy I met last night, I went to the other side of Astoria to check out the Column. Towering above the seaside city, the Astoria Column is easily the highest point in the oldest continuous settlement west of the Mississippi. It gave me a bird's eye view of the mouth of the Columbia River (a cool little side trip that most people that pass through don't get to see). The tower has a picture timeline of major events leading to the settlement of the area. From afar, it looks like chipping old yellow paint. But up close, it's remarkably unique.
Speaking of things people don't get to see, I happened to be in Astoria on the day they were celebrating it's 200th birthday. Naturally I decided to stick around for the parade. It was a great parade watching day, completely overcast and the thermometer never hit 70. There were a series of nice floats, marching bands, pageant queens (even Miss Oregon), and important local figures. I spent an hour standing on the sidewalk, lost in the moment. I was doing work on my Oregon Strawberry ice-cream (Oregon strawberries are the best! It was the second time I had Tillamook ice-cream; I needed another fix). I pretty much felt like a real Oregonian.
Armed with a state map of Washington I purchased from a gas station. I ventured across the bridge into the Evergreen State. The shoulder was limited and the pass spanned at least mile to the other side. It was an interesting 10 minutes to say the least.
Rambling through the unknown in Washington, I continued north on the 101. At about 6 I found myself in Raymond, kind of in a stay the night no man's land. There was only one motel and a state park that didn't allow camping.
I don't know why I did this, but I called the motel and asked if I could set up a tent on their lawn. I hadn't done that once the whole trip (although it was offered to me once, and I accepted). The owners obliged and I arrived later to be surprised by a better option. They had been remodeling the motel and had a room without a bed. So for $15 I decided it was a steal to sleep on the ground. I mean it turned out to be a normal motel room, TV, shower, outlets to charge my electronics; it just had no bed.
There was definitely no way to plan a day to turn out this way. I'm going to miss this, but I'm blessed to have something to miss.