Portland to Seattle, the Long Way
Part of: Olympic Peninsula Road Trip
Last Sunday I drove from my home in Portland to my aunt's house in West Seattle, where I'll be staying for a couple of days before continuing north to explore the Olympic Peninula. It's just over a three-hour drive between Portland and Seattle on Interstate 5, but I hate freeways. I'm much more of a back-roads kind of gal. Plus, the whole goal of this trip is to explore Washington and its history, so I might as well start as I mean to continue.
So I took a very scenic route to Seattle: west on Highway 26, north on Highway 47, and meandering northwest on a few other highways to Astoria. After a brief stop to top up the gas tank (since they are barbarians in Washington and make you pump it yourself), I continued on Highway 101 across the Columbia River to Washington, then meandered through forests to the ferry near Port Orchard, where I crossed over to West Seattle. Overall travel time, not counting stops: about 6.5 hours. Totally worth it. The route was beautiful and I frequently had the road all to myself.
The Astoria-Megler Bridge carries Highway 101 (the Pacific Coast Highway) across the Columbia River near where Lewis and Clark camped in 1805. The bridge itself is barely historic (completed in 1966), but it is quite beautiful and exceptionally long - according to Wikipedia, it's "the longest continuous truss bridge in North America."
On the Washington side of the bridge are many historical sites associated with the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1805. Most of the sites are west of the bridge, but I turned east this time - I'll try to visit the others on my way back.
One of the sites east of the bridge is the wonderfully-named Dismal Nitch, where the expedition had a very dismal time indeed for four days (November 10-14, 1805) while they huddled up with minimal food and waited out a nasty storm.
The site includes a small rest area as well as historical markers, so it's easy to park, enjoy the great views, and be thankful you're not Lewis or Clark.
To be continued...