Saturday, June 30, 2001

June 30: A ship on the Columbia, and a new desk for me

I love this photo of a big tanker passing my apartment in Astoria. I love how the clouds appear to create a focal point over the ship. We're having such beautiful sunny days. Having lived so long in California, and then spent hot summers in Colorado, I'm loving the fact that the beautiful sunny summer days here are mild and pleasant. Sometimes it even feels cold. I did pick the right location for someone like me!

Here the ship passes under the bridge on its way out to sea.

I bought myself an assemble-it-yourself desk at Fred Meyer. Oh my god, is it heavy! I'd promised myself I wasn't getting any more press board furniture, because it weighs a ton. But I looked around, and this is what was in my price range. It's a lot of desk space for what I paid and it looks pretty. It took me a couple of days to screw it all together, and I had to bring it down the stairs from my car one or two pieces at a time. As big as the moving truck was, I'd had to leave my computer desk in Colorado. It was one of the more replaceable items. There's my computer on the right and - believe it or not - a typewriter on the left. It's for typing labels for shipping items from the gift shop. I'd given it to my mom, but she wasn't using it, so she shipped it back to me for labels and forms.

Friday, June 29, 2001

June 29: Along the River Walk, Astoria, Oregon

I'm discovering new and interesting parts of Astoria every day. It's pretty cool having a new town and time to just mosey around and find out what it's about. I love the texture on this red building on the waterfront. I keep trying to think what the texture reminds me of. It almost looks liquid.

This is a less kept-up part of the river walk, but it's charming and safe enough in the daytime. The red roof in the distance is a platform built for viewing the river.

Turning inland to face town from the red building is the Burger King drive-through and parking lot and a typical view of some Astoria houses. Astoria is very picturesque, but there are so many power lines and phone wires. This is one of the rare vistas without them being too obtrusive.

Thursday, June 28, 2001

June 28: The view from my apartment

Here's a ship passing on the river in late afternoon light. The hills on the other side of the river are Washington. This was taken from my back deck (the fire escape, but spacious enough for several chairs, potted plants, etc.). I still can't believe I have this. There are a few steps up from my back door to this landing, and then a few more steps from the landing to the apartment above me. There are four landings for five apartments, so somebody technically doesn't get one. The people in my apartment before me seem to have used the bottom landing, so I've taken it over. This works for me, and I rationalize because (unbelievably to me) the guy in one of the apartments said he'd never been onto the landing in the several years he's been here! It's hard to believe, but at least those who want a deck (landing) will get a private one.

You can also walk down the stairs into the yard. It's not a yard that gets used much, but I like it, and I like the large bushes that grow here. One of the first days in my apartment, I saw a raccoon outside my window. How cool is that? The welcoming committee had made me feel very welcome, indeed. It would be kinda nice if you could just walk down to the water, but you have to go around a block or so to get there.

This is also taken from my deck looking northeast (approximately) toward town. The spit of land you can see is Tongue Point. The hills across the river are Washington.

Yikes! This is looking down from my landing. I'm still reveling in the lush green after living in the desert for so long. The blue building is the back of one of the two motels just below me on the hill.

Monday, June 25, 2001

June 25: The docks at the new Maritime Museum, Astoria, Oregon, and sunset over the Columbia River

When the sun is out even part way, the days are usually exceptional. I had a good time discovering a new part of my new town - the docks along the Columbia in the area where they're remodeling the Maritime Museum.

It's too bad these came out a bit dark. I tried tweaking them, but I can't seem to do much without burning them out. I wanted to keep the sky colors and the clouds. Shooting with digital is now my preference, and someday I want to get a better camera. I think you can tell, though, it's beautiful here. The seagulls like to perch on the old pilings. It's peaceful, and there's always something to look at and learn about.

This just shows another view of the docks and the old pilings. You'll see more of the ship on the right in a minute.

Here's the Astoria-Megler bridge from this location. It stretches the 4 miles between Astoria and the Washington side of the river.

Here's another view showing the expanse of the river to better advantage. It feels almost like an ocean here.

I love it that we have a river-front trolley we can ride for $1.00. I never think to ride it, I'm usually walking. The fence is part of the construction at the museum.

Here's a poor view into the sunlight, but I wanted to include the sign.

Here's some Astoria that's exciting because it's so unfamiliar and powerful-feeling. Look at the size of that anchor! I guess it's hard to tell, because we need a person for scale, but there's a bench behind it. It's big! What a nice thing to have here where people can enjoy it. Behind it is the Light Ship Columbia, which is now part of the museum.

Here's the light ship again and the buoy right in the dock next to the museum.

And another view. The museum is on the right with the unusual roof.

Some info about the light ship and buoy. Life on the river here is not static.

Now I'm back in my apartment on Bond Street at the other end of town from the Maritime Museum. Look at the lovely sunset colors. I took this and the next two pix from my balcony.

Wow, look at the colors. This is spectacular. I'm still astounded at my luck at finding this. I can't believe they lowered the rent because it had been vacant for a few months. I guess it was waiting for me!

Saturday, June 23, 2001

June 23: Venturing further - to Hammond, Gearhart, and Cannon Beach

This is the entrance hallway in my new apartment. I really can't believe the space I have in this one-bedroom place. The hall is practically another room, and certainly serves as one as far as having somewhere to put my things. The apartment is as big as some two-bedroom places I've seen. The pic is taken just after entering the front door. The passageway on the left goes to the living room. The first folding door on the right goes to a walk-in closet, big by any standards I've lived with before, and beyond that with red bags and scarves hanging from it is another folding door going to the bedroom. However, I'm doing something that's worked for me in the past. I'm turning the living room into a bedroom. In this case, it's the bedroom/art studio, and the supposed bedroom is my office and the online gift shop. It feels spacious and calming. (Posting this from the future, it's good to look back and see this. I got busy, my place collected things, and I'm looking for the serenity I had when things appeared to be simpler. It's a good reminder.) Just before moving here, I'd read that it's bad feng shui to have the front door and the back door exactly opposite, so I'm buying something on eBay to remedy that. I see some feng shui as superstition, but if you view it as energy movement in space, it makes tons of sense. The remedies I've tried always feel right. I can thank Kate for this, too. She introduced me to Feng Shui for the West.

I've driven over the bridge toward the beach, but rather than going to the beach, I took the road north to Hammond. This is the Columbia River from Hammond, and the low, dark hill in the center of the photo is Astoria. It's kind of a gloomy day, but I'm enjoying seeing what's around me.

I took this from Hammond also, looking west toward the mouth of the river. The hills you see in this photo are in Washington.

I guess this area would be called Gearhart. It's almost exactly between Gearhart and Seaside. I've driven south now on Highway 30 (also called 26 and 101) and come to a picturesque slough. Beyond the second body of water is the beach and the ocean. It's still surprising to me to find forest settings and vegetation near the beach.

This is the same slough looking south on Highway 30/26/101. I feel anchored by mountains and large bodies of water, and here we have both. The closest mountains aren't that high, but they do have forest and that makes a difference. The mountains behind Santa Barbara never felt very real to me when I lived there.

I've gone all the way south to Cannon Beach. The picture is taken looking north from the beach in front of one of the large hotels rather than south to the famous Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach is one of the places I'd thought of living, but costs are high and the town seemed to be more of a tourist destination than a complete in-depth town. It's pretty here, and it makes me lonely to go to nice places and want to share it with someone. I'll be taking an art class at the college in September, and I have my work and all my Internet connections. I'm forcing myself to be more outgoing and talk to people. That's probably a good thing. The beach at this location is wide and flat and I really prefer the beach closer to home where the forest and grass come closer to the water.

In all, I've chosen a remarkable place to live. No regrets!

Wednesday, June 20, 2001

June 20: Sunset and the Astoria-Megler Bridge

This is a classic view here in Astoria - sunset and the Astoria-Megler bridge. I'm still amazed that this is what I see right out of my own living room window. It's breathtaking and calming, and I'm starting to feel at home here. I loved the sunsets over the high desert palisades and mountains in Colorado, and I'm going to love them here, too. What a sight. The lighted sign of the Rivershore Motel below me is visible in the dense black.

Tuesday, June 19, 2001

June 19: Tapirs and candles, settling in

I'm getting some of the important things arranged in the apartment - my tapir collection and plants, and some other comfort pieces like candles. I've never been very good and deciding where to put things and how to arrange rooms, but some areas are coming out nicely. Remember the big stack of boxes I packed my stuff in for moving? They were efficient, but little did I know they would also make good furniture after the move! It looks like I've used some of them under this fabric. Later I moved those boxes elsewhere and put plastic bins in their places by this window to store my collage and other art materials and supplies. I hate blocking the access to windows, but it was basically a good compromise. I had stacks of fabric-draped box furniture in various places. They made a great headboard for the bed, too. On the left you can just see the corner of the wooden racks I used to store cassette tapes. I love music!

These tapirs are part of my personal collection and have come from many sources. Some were made for my online tapir gift shop, and others from tapir contacts who wanted to send something nice. I brought my work with me: The Tapir Preservation Fund and its Tapir and Friends gift shop. I had to make the adjustment to a new town and state, but I didn't have to look for a job.

Monday, June 18, 2001

June 18: Beaches and old buildings - Exploring the area and thoughts on preservation

I hate it when I have to write a post all over again. I started this last night, thought it was saved as a draft and it wasn't. I went to have a bite at Andrew and Steve's, which serves fish and chips, breakfasts, etc. Kate and I came here once, and it probably felt familiar and friendly to me.

I'm now writing this blog in 2009, and I'm using the not-too-good photo above because it shows something. The gray, corrugated building has been refurbished. There are codes for what you can and can't do to historic buildings here, and I'm not sure how this building falls under the code, but I expect that it cannot be significantly altered. The idea is to preserve the feeling, sense, look, etc., of historic Astoria. I have mixed feelings about this. The building has recently been completely re-done inside and out. There are new doorways, new siding, new insides. Yes, it's still low and gray. I'm glad they didn't turn it into a high-rise, which is happening along the river in some places, and is deplorable, but the feel of the original building has not been preserved. It's very nice, upscale, user-friendly, and attractive. I like the building. But it does not preserve the feel of old Astoria, for what that's worth. This happens everywhere. The town I grew up in is an example of a butchering that should never have taken place. It had character when I was growing up. Now, it's so unattractive and uninteresting, I hate to see it. I won't go into it here, but sometime I will. I'm not against new, beautiful buildings, but I do love history and historic, classic buildings. We're losing them and we'll continue to do so, and the latitude given under the "historic preservation" laws is not always on the side of honest preservation. It's better than nothing, but is it enough? Well, anyway, I'm including the photo above as a historic reference.

The other day, Kate and I had discovered Oregon's beautiful beaches on our visit to the Peter Iredale. It was so astonishing to me, I decided to go back today. One of the most amazing things about Oregon's beaches that may not be apparent at first is that every foot of the coast was set aside for public access by a former governor named Oswald West. What amazing forethought he had! I grew up in California where I saw how individual ownership of beach access blocked the public from its use. I love what Oswald West Did for Oregon and for the world. Oregon's beaches are among the most beautiful on Earth. Above, we're looking south toward Tillamook Head, which I later hiked with Lee.

You can actually drive down onto the beach, but you need to check the access carefully, because in some places standard cars like mine can get stuck. I parked higher on the land and walked down to the sand.

What can I say? It's beautiful, nearly empty (since I'd lived so long in California so long, this was almost unbelievable to me; a gorgeous place like this on a summer day would have been completely overrun down south).

Plants and flowers with a sand dune and blue skies. Nice. The weather wasn't too hot. I was falling in love with my new home, and this beach was only a 15- or 20-minute drive away.

Sunday, June 17, 2001

Jun 17: The view from my apartment

I took these two photos to show friends and family what the actual view was from my windows. I'm still in awe of this place. It would be nice not to have the clutter down by the highway, but really, are you kidding? This is amazing. People would pay thousands of dollars a month for a situation like this in some big cities and I'm paying $400 a month, which includes some of the utilities! This is looking west toward the mouth of the river, which can't be seen from here. The bridge is the Astoria-Megler Bridge which crosses the Columbia, 4-point-something-miles to Washington on the other side.

This is looking out from a north-facing living room window onto the river and some abandoned docks. There's a small house trailer out there, and the dock itself is fenced off. I can see the huge tides rise and fall in the area between the shore and the first set pier. The hills on the other side of the river are in Washington. At the top right of the photo is the railing of my fire escape/deck. It's sooooooo nice to stand or sit out there and get the real panoramic view. Oddly enough, you can't get directly to the river from here, you have to walk a few blocks to a street that goes down the hill, then cross the busy Marine Drive, which is an extension of Highway 30, so it gets all the traffic coming up the coast to Portland. Then you can find your way past the warehouses to the River Walk, which goes clear through town and up to the cannery area on the east.

Saturday, June 16, 2001

I love living here!

What a beautiful place to live! I took these photos from my back deck overlooking Marine Drive and the Columbia River from my apartment at the top of Bond Street. I had traded one beautiful location, Palisade Colorado, for another, with an entirely different character and just as much beauty.

I consider myself lucky, but it's not all luck. I've chosen to live in beautiful places, and that means making choices that other people might not make. Looking for an apartment I could afford was difficult. There were so few available that weren't trashed or too expensive or had other things I didn't like. I WAS lucky the day I found this one. And frightened that I wouldn't get it, but I did.

Breathtaking views like this one, and simply the luxury of being able to stand on MY back deck in such an incredible location made me feel that whatever hardships I'd been through in the past few years, things had worked out. I love it here.

Friday, June 15, 2001

Jun 15: The view from Bond Street

I talked so much in recent posts about looking for an apartment and finally finding my wonderful apartment on Bond Street. Well, here it is! I'm standing at street level, and you can see the steep slope of the hill. The front door of the building is (of course) at the level of the street, then you go down two floors (4 flights) to my apartment, which is the only one on the bottom floor. The three windows at the bottom of the building are mine - two in the kitchen, and one in the living room. Others on the river side look out onto that view. I can see the bridge and the river. It's amazing. Above the ground floor are two more levels, so there are 5 floors in all. The apartments at the back of the building have the good view and the fire escape is so big, we use the landings for decks. They were probably built to do double-duty. I'll have pix of them another time.

Thursday, June 14, 2001

Kate goes home

I took Kate to the airport in Portland today, and she flew back to California on Alaska Airlines. I'd never seen this airline before - the one that has a picture of an Eskimo on the tail, but everyone thinks he looks like Bob Marley. I got to wait with her in the terminal. Remember when you could do that? I like terminals. It's deplorable that the actions of so few truly terrible people have affected so many. They probably didn't even have a security check at the airport today (I'm writing this from the future, and it's hard to remember that detail). You can see a slight reflection of the airport windows in the photo, and clearly the weather had changed quickly as it does here. The blue skies were gone again.

This was, of course, my first trip from Astoria to PDX - the first of many. Portland has a beautiful airport, and it's user-friendly, not too large, but big enough to eclipse the one in Grand Junction. I can't say enough about what Kate's help and presence had meant to me during the move. What an incredible friend. Now I was truly on my own to discover Oregon. I didn't know anyone in the state except my brother and his family, and they were several hours from Portland and further than that from Astoria. It had taken two hours to get from Astoria to PDX (1 hour east to Longview, and 1 hour south to Portland), and Gary, Beth and family were several hours further south of Portland on I-5.

Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Discovering my new world: 1. On the beach with the Peter Iredale; 2. Astoria's waterfront

I didn't take any pictures on moving day (June 12). Now I'd probably take dozens, but the digital was still new, the cards were small, and I was still pretty stressed, tired, and focused on getting the job done and returning the truck so it didn't cost me another day. On the 13th, Kate and I took the truck the hour's drive back to Longview and we were finally free of the hulking thing that kept getting us into trouble. Of course, it had also gotten us here, which was a total relief. I began to hate Longview at this point. It was flat with few landmarks, and I kept getting lost.

So we took my car and began to explore. I'm not sure how we found the wreck of the Peter Iredale that first day. Maybe Erby or Alex had mentioned it. It's a short drive of about 15 minutes, although I've never clocked it, but you wouldn't find it unless you either stumbled on it by accident or knew exactly where to go. You have to make some non-intuitive choices to get there. What an interesting thing to find on the beach! And, I was stunned by how beautiful Oregon's beaches are. I had not done a lot of research; I was more focused on rental prices and basic amenities. I'd not only found an incredible apartment in my price range, but now this astonishing beach. I also remember driving through a fern-filled pine forest on the way, and had been totally charmed and surprised by what I saw. I felt I'd settled in paradise. So much of interest and beauty was so close to home. The climate seemed just right for me. I loved it.

I often call the wreck, the "bones" of the Peter Iredale, and this photo almost looks like bones, yes?

The tide was out. You can see the waves through the ship's skeleton. Laurel wrote some things about the Peter Iredale, and I'll refer you to her blog for the history and pix of when it was a floating ship.

Very cool. Barnacles and rust. That's funny, I just found a photo of the Peter Iredale with that exact title on Panoramio. It shows the location, too. The barnacles are clearer than this picture with my old camera.

Oregon welcomed us with a beautiful clear day. It wasn't too hot, either, especially here by the water. I don't think I'd been to the beach during the eight years I lived in Colorado. This beach is not much for swimming unless you like wetsuits and cold water, but it's absolutely gorgeous. This picture is facing south. You can see two pieces of metal sticking up out of the sand. These are part of the ship's stern.

There's the bow end of the wreck again. What an amazing setting. I love being surrounded by living things, including grass and seagulls and small crabs.

Still pretty tired and deciding to take it easy, we returned to Astoria and treated ourselves to dinner out at Baked Alaska. Here's one of the views from the window.

And another view. These scenes would become so familiar, but these are my first pictures of them. The pilot boat is in dock, and the tall bit of land in the middle of the horizon is Tongue Point. The water is the wide expanse of the Columbia River. You can see the radio tower sticking up from behind the building. That tower would have great significance for me later, but at the moment it was just another part of the unique and charming scenery.

There's the radio tower again. We had a lovely dinner with excellent food, but we splurged and had their signature Baked Alaska dessert. I discovered during the night that for me, chocolate and alcohol don't mix! Weird, but true. I haven't been able to mix them since (and I have tried more than once :)