Monday, April 26, 2010

Road Trip: Washington Coast

This weekend we took a quick trip down to the Washington Coast for a little exploring. 

View WA Coast Trip in a larger map
The day was blustery and rainy as we headed south. Traffic was sparse and we left I-5 at Kelso and followed the Columbia River West. To the Coast!

We stopped along the way to read some sign boards and moseyed through Fort Columbia. 
Foremost among our activities was a trip to Chinook, Washington, where Chris' grandfather lived and worked as a fisherman and where his parents (Chris' great grandparents) lived for many years. 
Chinook (population 457), is a small fishing village, with many of the families being of Swedish decent. Chris' great-grandfather was himself an immigrant from Sweden. Judging by the number of '-stroms' that we saw on the street names and in the cemetery, he was in good company. 
The small harbor. Chris and I had a long conversation about whether we could live in such a small town. Short answer: no. 

The school
An enterprising young person, funding their education
We headed up to the large nearby town of Ilwaco, toured the museum, the harbor, and the high school. Then we headed to the cemetery (population: 3,000 souls). We were looking for Chris' great grandparents. After searching row upon row of headstones, we were getting desperate. We'd almost walked the entire cemetery and only had a few rows left. 

And then, in the very back, beneath a flowering rhododendron, next to the forest, we found them:
Chris' great grandfather, Arthur.
And his wife, Sophia, who died in childbirth, along with her son.
And the greatest surprise of all, Chris' great-great grandmother: Clara. She was one old gal: 1848 to 1944. What a treasure. A very, very good day, indeed.
After our foray into family history, we headed north to Grayland Beach State Park. 

This is what we were calling home for the night:
Yurt 114. Secluded and quiet. 
A couch, table, bed,  heater, and light. Chris calls it glamping [glamorous camping]. My parents call it credit card camping. I call it easing-into-spending-the-night-on-the-cold-hard-ground-with-only-a-thin-air mattress camping. 

For camping, it was pretty plush. But my guilt eased as soon as we turned the heater on and broke out the champagne. Life was good. 

That afternoon we strolled over to the beach for some exploring and kite flying. 
I haven't flown kites in years. 
It was so much fun. 

I stopped to admire the flora and fauna..
While Chris worked on rolling in 300 feet of string. He'd let his kite soar pretty high. 
It took a long time to rewind. 


Like I said: admiring the local flora and fauna. This was about as exciting as it got. 
Oh, sweet dunes. 
A good place for wind farms. 
The next morning, we took one final walk on the beach
and headed up to Westport for a quick stroll around their lighthouse. 
And some car yoga (also known as Chris-stretching-his-back). 
On our way out of town we took a nice stroll through John's River Wildlife Area
This little guy didn't really make up for the lack of elk, but well, he IS a slug. Not much of a comparison. But that's ok, it wasn't raining and the scenery was beautiful. 

Then it was back in the car to head home. A nice, quiet weekend. 


  1. I love that area of OR/WA coast! And love the yurts. Neil and I used to stay out at Cape Disappointment outside of Ilwaco in the yurts there. And Westport is right by where Lila lives now (she's in Aberdeen). We've been into Ilwaco so many times, but I've never thought to look up Neil's relatives before! What a find!

  2. Stephanie,

    I also posted a few additional pictures in our picassa web album, including one of Neil's grandfather's childhood home. It's on the main street in Chinook so you've probably zipped by it several times.
    Here is the link:

  3. Eh, let me know if the link doesn't work. It was proving troublesome for me:

  4. Thanks for the pic of the house! Neil asked if you guys had found their house, so he'll be excited to see it! We feel kind of guilty for all the times we've been to Ilwaco and never thought to look for graves or anything. :) When we return to Portland for good, I think we'd really like to go see it all again with fresh eyes! Thanks for posting the pics!

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