When my husband first decided to join me for a week on my adventure, I mentioned that much of the week would be focused on following the Lewis & Clark’s trail. Years ago I had read Stephen Ambrose’s book Undaunted Courage and I assigned this book as required reading to my good-natured husband. Although he didn’t embrace the book in the same manner as I had, he appreciated gaining a deeper understanding of the magnitude of the Corps of Discovery’s trek from St. Louis, up the Missouri River and across the Rockies to arrive at the Pacific Ocean. This was a great achievement and inspiration for generations of Americans; Lewis & Clark executed the ultimate road trip without the roads.
We drove from Portland the two-hours out to Fort Clatsop, stopping first at Cannon Beach. I had been to Cannon Beach fifteen years before with my college roomate(misspelling intentional as this is how we refer to each other) and wanted to show my husband, Haystack Rock which stands majestically along the shoreline. Clark, with Sacagawea and others, had visited Cannon Beach to see a beached whale in January of 1806 and I was pleased to be able to tie it all together. In addition, I wanted to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean one more time before I, officially, headed East. From Cannon Beach we drove north and east to Fort Clatsop, another wonderful National Park. There is a nice little museum with artifacts from the era, two movies-one on the entire journey and the other focused on the Corps’ difficult, rainy winter of 1805-1806, and a replica of the Fort. I was moved by the courage and determination of these men when I saw the fort; a small but sturdy outpost along what is now called the Lewis and Clark River.
I was visibly excited as we traveled east. There were still another 13 states and 4000+ miles to travel, but it still felt like I was starting for home. I would continue to savor the trip but this was the furthest I would be from our Boston apartment and turning east felt profound after seven weeks on the road. I could only imagine the Corps of Discovery feelings as they headed east after two years ‘on the road’, an awful winter in Clatsop and traversing the unknown.
We stopped in Astoria, Oregon along the Columbia River for dinner at a great local spot, T. Paul’s Urban Cafe. This four-burner eclectic restaurant was started by two locals who had returned to Astoria after spending time in Seattle and Portland; they brought some big city food ideas back to their hometown. We ordered the nightly special, a local fish pan-fried with pesto linguine and fresh stir-fried veggies. My husband enjoyed the local Fort George Brewery IPA and I saved room to order the four berry cobbler for dessert. We were well-fed and happy for our return trip to Portland.