Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cruise Day Five

I'm writing this blog as if I wrote it the days it all took place when in reality I'm writing this then Monday after the cruise was over. Enjoy...

Got up a little early and had breakfast at the Windjammer with the in-laws. Headed off the ship and stood in line for the bus for the historical excursion. We were herded onto local school buses and introduced to our driver who went by the name Mother Goose. Our tour guide or the voice of the trip was a man named Bill.

We first headed over a low bridge (the small one in the picture of the bridge and mountain), through a neighborhood and down a road to Fort Clatsop and the Lewis & Clark museum in Astoria. We watched a movie on the Clatsop people and their view of Lewis & Clark expedition team and the winter they spent with them.

The ranger there talked a bit and led us out a door, down a trail to a replica of the Fort which was built on the exact spot where the original fort stood. I didn't feel like I got enough time to explore the fort before Victoria and her parents were ready to move on. I shoulda said something. It's not their fault. We just sorta progressed past all that. I just tried taking in as much of the surrounding forest as I could. I love the Northern California/Orgeon coast with all the redwoods and cedars.

We hopped back on the bus and out to the Maritime Museum which was cool. Yet another place I wish we could have had more time. There was a Coast Guard cutter and a ship called the Columbia docked next to the museum. They had a Coast Guard rescue boat and a few other boats on display inside along with all kinds of old nautical stuff along with sheets of labels from Astoria's old canning past and double guns from boats that were running in the world wars.

After an hour or so we hopped BACK on the bus and up a narrow winding road to the top of a hill where we saw the Astoria Column. The hill was high and narrow enough that you could walk around and see the landscape for miles. I tried taking pictures of some of the rolling hills of trees, the river, the flowers, etc and I just couldn't capture it. I can't come up with the proper adjective to describe it. Breath-taking? Awesome? Beautiful? Nothing seems to fit.

On the way back the bus offered to drop us off "downtown". Astoria's downtown district would make Santee look like a large city. Small little shops off the street, narrow streets, hardly any traffic lights, lots of homes and steep hills that reminded me of San Francisco. We walked down 12th to Baked Alaska for lunch. I had fish and chips. WONDERFUL. The service was pretty good too. Victoria seemed to enjoy her sandwich since it was gone nearly as soon as the plate touched the table. Sheesh!

As we walked out of Baked Alaska, we JUST missed the trolley. We could see the ship from where we were so we decided to walk back. Seemed like it was MAYBE a mile away. Took us about 20 minutes to get back so it was probably a little more. We just walked on the trolley tracks, since the trolley was headed in the opposite direction, there's only one of 'em and they don't go very fast at all. The tracks often were on wooden bridges or pier like structures where there was nothing but a single layer of boards and pylons between us and the water which was MAYBE two feet below the wood. I loved that. Victoria did not. She often sped up ahead of us to rush over a bridge because it made her nervous.

When we got back to the boat, I headed up to the top deck to get pictures of downtown and the bridge. My immature side kicked in and I thought it'd be funny to catch a picture of the last people on the boat and even hoped that maybe we'd leave someone behind and I'd catch a picture of them rushing to the boat as we pulled away. I'm a bad person sometimes.

I enjoyed watching the guys untie the mooring lines. Front, then back and then the side. All was going well when they pulled the first line off the side. Then the ship started to naturally pull away from the dock, pulling the last line REALLY tight. I saw them backing away from the line and someone scream out "It's gonna burst!" Then the ship pulled back towards the dock so they ran up real quick and pulled the line off. I just stood there staring and thinking, "I'm gonna see something freaky here." I told you I'm a bad person sometimes.

We did end up leaving a couple people behind but I never got a picture cause they just didn't make it back to the ship. Later that night I stood talking to Lorand about photography and San Francisco, had a few drinks at the Schooner Bar with the family and headed to bed since Victoria was the next day and THAT's the city I was really looking forward to.


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