Battery Russell and Fort Clatsop

On Monday morning Abe and I packed up everyone early because Ammon woke up early. He probably woke up the entire yurt neighborhood, so we hustled to get everyone in the car quickly. With some hours before attractions opened, we went to the camp info center and talked to the most delightful information man.

He had no teeth, a jolly personality, and heaps of enthusiasm for his hometown. He convinced us that we had planned our itinerary all wrong and should spend the morning in Astoria. We altered our plans accordingly.

First we went to Battery Russell, which happened to be in the campground. Up until 9/11, it was the only place in the U.S. to have ever been attacked by a foreign power since…I forget the statistic. But apparently the Japanese fired on Battery Russell during WWII, and the captain in charge had everyone hold their fire. Because the U.S. did not return fire and give away the position of the fort, no lives were lost.

Today the fort creeped Abe and me out, although the kids seemed to find it interesting. It is completely abandoned, dark and dank, and a perfect place for people to do drugs and other things. I found a condom on the floor. Also, there are sheer drop-offs and warning signs to make sure your kids don’t fall down one of the drop-offs. We left pretty quickly.

Then we toured the also-now-closed army base there. It was inhabited by elk.

After saying hello and goodbye to our woodland friends, we headed to McDonald’s for a drive-thru breakfast. Our reliance on these quick meals is probably why I gained so much weight on the trip. Yikes.

Anyway, after driving through for our speedy breakfast, we headed to Fort Clatsop National Monument, where Lewis and Clark spent a terrible winter. It was so cold that they could not hunt except for a handful of days in a 175 day stretch (although my stats might be off because I am remembering this weeks later). They survived by eating maggoty meat. They only saw the sun six days in that whole winter (again, the stat is old and questionable in my brain).

The point is, they were a type of hardy that I can barely comprehend. The fort was very interesting, and I would have loved to have spent more time there. The ranger said we were the quickest tourists she had ever seen. (I thought we were speedy, but everyone else must spend an hour or more because I thought we did the place at least a little justice in our forty-minute stop!)

On the trail between the visitor center and the fort.

Lydia found an enviable stick which she was loathe to give up.

Mary is doing one of her power poses.

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