Hawaii and the Nebraska State Fair

Leaving Portland, we headed for Astoria, Oregon – known for having lots of quaint architecture. Its reputation is deserved, and we saw plenty of interesting homes.

Towering above them all, is the Astoria Column…

Astoria was to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 1911. They wanted to build a memorial on the line of Gustave Eiffel’s Tower in Paris. Instead, they ended up with an electric sign on the top of the hill, reading “1811 – 1911.” But plans for the monument still percolated, and during March and April of 1926, the tower was built. But not finished. It was to have artwork on the exterior honoring the natives of the area, the Lewis and Clark explorers, and fur trader John Jacob Astor, for whom the town was named.

To quote the official account: Attilio Pusterla was the artistic genius behind the 525-foot-long mural that wraps around the Astoria Column. Pusterla was an Italian immigrant known for his expertise in sgraffito, an engraving technique used by potters for centuries. Applying the artwork proved to be an arduous process. Workers devised a mobile scaffold that encircled the Column and dangled by ropes from the viewing platform. After laying down a dark base coat, Pusterla placed the drawing over the wet plaster. He next blew colored powder into the holes poked in the outline of each figure. Lifting the drawing away from the plaster, he could see the outlines he’d made. Then he added a lighter coat of plaster, and finished the image by incising shadows and outlines.

He was a temperamental perfectionist, and would often destroy one day’s work when he saw it from the ground and start over. It was feared he would not have it finished by the July 22, 1926 scheduled dedication date. The fears were well grounded – but the dedication party was a huge success even if only 3 of the bands around the top were completed. He finally finished the mural in October.

The views from the top are spectacular! And other excitement too… I heard not only are you allowed to throw balsa airplanes off the top, you can buy them in the little shop at the base for $1. So I carried the little craft carefully up the 140 some stairs to the top, watched others attempt flight and learned from them, then gently threw it into the prevailing wind and watched it sail forever! Great fun! It stuck high in a tree, like those below. (I hope to never grow up!)

We also saw the famous “Goonie House.” What? You don’t know the Goonie House? Are you just trying to make me feel better? Because I told the folks imparting this must-see landmark to me that I’d never heard of it. “You know, from the movie “Goonies!” Still at a loss, I was told I must watch that movie so I could appreciate the site. So I have to report, the movie was quite stupid… the only redeeming factor in the movie was that it’s an early Steven Spielberg production, and you can see traces of what he would later enlarge in the Indiana Jones movies. We traipsed up the hill to see the house anyway.

It was fun to see both Elk and Deer roaming the streets in town!

The Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is just south of Astoria. It features a remake of Fort Clatsop, where Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark arrived, concluding their exploration of a route to the Pacific Ocean. It had been over a year since the start of their journey, in Illinois on May 14, 1804. President Thomas Jefferson had just completed the huge Louisiana Purchase the year before. It was time to explore the newly acquired lands. The main goal was to establish routes across this great land.

I am very happy that Jefferson was also very interested in the natural world. He asked Lewis to document any new or interesting plants or animals. He specifically asked to know what seasons they grew in and where they grew.

When we got to the fort, we joined a Ranger led tour of interesting plants in the park, including the many plants which Lewis is credited with detailing the first time. In addition to imparting incredible botanical knowledge, the tour wound through lots of gorgeous scenery. 😉

Later we decided to track down the wreck of the Peter Iredale. We have been privileged to dive on several wrecks over the years, and I just figured this famous wreck would be, like the others, underwater! I was really surprised to see you could not only walk out to her, but walk her length as well.

The Peter Iredale was a four masted bark, built of steel in Maryport, England in 1890. She was headed for Portland, from Mexico, in October of 1906. She was caught in fog, and strong currents and a heavy southeast wind drove her onshore at Clatsop beach. Local rescue teams got everyone off safely, but later if was found if they’d waited till tide was out, they could have walked to safety. The years haven’t been good to the poor ship…

This photo was taken 19 days after the grounding

Now all that remains are the skeleton of the bow, a few rail markers along the starboard side, and maybe the remains of the aft mast.

It’s a bit easier to walk in a wreck than dive in it, but I miss all the fish!

[Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory is an amazing Marine Research Lab owned by Walla Walla University. It is right next to a Washington State Park, on the beach. Following is an account of how we ended up there!]

Hi! This is Cherryl. I never write here, but since these are my classmates I am going to! I got a Facebook message from Benadyne (Pascal) telling me about the 50 year reunion for the class of 1973 from Hawaiian Mission Academy. She noticed from this blog that we weren’t too far away, so she let me know. It started on Sunday! (The day I got the message!) We decided we wanted to go and how to make it work. We had reservations ahead for Labor Day weekend, so we’d have to come back to this area, but we could go for a few days. (Thanks so much for reaching out Benadyne!!)

When I was 9 years old my family moved to Kailua, Hawaii. We left 6 years later in 1971. I loved Hawaii. Grade school was at Kailua Mission where we went barefoot all the time except to church. Grades 5-8 were there. Lots of these people went to that school! My folks worked at Castle Hospital with some of these kid’s parents. Most of them I hadn’t seen since the end of my sophomore year of high school. The rest of these people I met at HMA during my 2 years there. I went to Monterey Bay Academy in California while they stayed and were official graduates of HMA.

Rosario Beach Marine Station is owned by Walla Walla University. An incredible place to earn part of your degree! Laura (Sakaino) worked here in the kitchen a lot of years and got the arraignments made.

This is Laura giving a lesson in making gluten. She is a great cook! I’m going to try to make this.

The guys that did music were great. The quartet sang “Let not your heart be troubled” in high school. Then just picked it up and did an awesome job 50 years later!!

Kenny, Don and Dougie played incredible Hawaiian music. I loved it.

Jon Kono was our fearless leader and jokester.

This is Bruce again… We all hiked over and around these amazing bridges over Deception Pass.

Below is a figure of Ko-kwal-alwoot. There is a long story about her, but let’s just do the condensed version: She is the guardian of the Salmon that brings life to the people living here.

The walks around Rosario Beach are gorgeous.

Laura was in charge of all the wonderful food, and she did famously! We ate like kings! On the last day, Cherryl and I volunteered to help in the kitchen, and the menu was Lasagna. I love the stuff, and was excited to be making this gigantic batch! I got to mix up two huge bowls of cheeses for the stuffing stuff. Whatever. Great fun! But we had to leave before noon that day, and it was served that last night. Hope it was good!

I know it’s common to end with a sunset picture, but I have something UNCOMMON to share! Our daughter, Becky, decided to enter some of her yummy baked goods in the Nebraska State Fair. She entered six different deserts. All of us were hoping she’d get a ribbon or some acknowledgment of her baking prowess. She didn’t get a single ribbon. She got SIX! One 4th place, two 2nd place, three 1st place, including two 1st of the whole division! Awesome! We are so proud of her! And she looks pretty happy in these pictures too!

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