Saturday, September 3, 2011


Good spacing at Lewis and ClarkIn our working lives, Labor Day was somewhat bittersweet – the last summer holiday weekend.  At our house, my large vegetable garden was completely out of control by Labor Day, plants toppled over, dried out, yet producing madly, well beyond my ability or desire to continue harvesting.  Soon the huge maple in our front yard would drop a smothering load of leaves on the small lawn.  In the workplace, vacations were over and everyone buckled down once again… in other words, a time to GET BACK TO WORK!

As retired, fulltime RV’ers, Labor Day is one of our favorite holidays – once it is over.  National parks clear out as kids head back to school.  Weekend campers return their sleeping bags to shelves in the garage until next summer.  For us, it means a return to spontaneous travel, knowing we are likely to find a campsite at any park we choose to visit – no advance reservation required. 

But first we need to get through the holiday weekend!

Though we often choose an Elks Lodge to settle into for a holiday weekend, this year we decided to splurge on a high-end (for us!) RV park, Lewis & Clark Golf and RV Park in Astoria, Oregon (click here to read our review and see photos).  Astoria, celebrating it’s Bicentennial this year, is situated in northwest Oregon, where the truly mighty Columbia River meets the Pacific ocean – the farthest point of Lewis and Clark’s explorations.  The area is saturated with national and state parks, historic sites, and hikes, anchored by a charming small town filled with museums, shops and historic buildings.  Though we have seen the highlights on previous visits, I’m sure we will be leaving many sights unseen once again when we pull out on Tuesday.

Lost Black AngusWe broke the trip from Eugene to Astoria into short legs, spending Thursday night at beautiful L.L. Stub Stewart State Park (click here to read our review and see photos) on the Vernonia/Banks State Trail near Banks, Oregon.  We’d heard nothing but good reviews of L.L. Stub Stewart State Park, a fairly new state park that happened to be on a route we’ve never taken - Hwy 26 from Portland to Hwy 101 on the Oregon coast - so we were looking forward to our short visit.

First day/first leg: traveling north on I-5, we hit a HUGE traffic jam, both northbound lanes of interstate 5 at a complete standstill.  We have a CB that comes in handy at times like this (and remains off the rest of the time) and we heard that both lanes were closed due to an accident.  According to CB chatter, an accident occurred at the spot where the Oregon Highway Patrol has holding a memorial for 3 OHP officers who died at that spot ten years ago. 

I later looked up a news story about the accident (which you can read here): “More than 100 people, including family members and half a dozen police and fire agencies, gathered Thursday just off Interstate 5 for the dedication of Oregon’s first highway memorial sign..” remembering two OHP officers who lost their lives in a traffic accident at that spot 10 years ago.  Ironically, the event was timed to kick off a safe driving awareness campaign over the Labor Day holiday – instead, it was delayed when a Subaru hit the back of a pickup truck as the truck driver slowed at the memorial site.  I wonder if the placement of subsequent highway memorial signs will be handled differently?

Another traffic jamSecond day/second leg: another accident, on a narrow winding stretch of Hwy 26 (the most narrow portion of the highway, which was a very good road).  This time, traffic flowed unimpeded in our direction, but a long, long traffic jam snaked up the hill in the eastbound lane, blocked by a crumpled pickup truck being loaded onto a wrecker.  Be careful out there!

We settled into a beautiful site at Lewis and Clark Golf and RV Resort at 1 pm, then spent the next few hours reading volumes of area information we’d been given at check-in – followed by a delicious dinner at Bridgewater Bistro, tucked in along the waterfront under the towering Astoria-Megler Bridge that crosses the Columbia, connecting Oregon and Washington.  Excellent way to kick off the holiday!


  1. Although we are not full-timers, I certainly can relate to your description of the Labor Day GLAD when it's over! Hope you have an opportunity to enjoy all the many historical and scenic sites in the Astoria area. We did not get enough time in the Fort Stevens area and are headed back that way sometime after Labor Day. Looks like you have a nice spot for the weekend.

  2. We've driven Hwy 26 from Portland to the coast many times but never in our RV. We'll have to check out the new park next time. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Laurie...I know you usually try to eat healthier, but we tried this place: in Astoria for albacore tuna fish and chips when we were there, It was different, but good.

  4. What a perfect description of my exact feelings about Labor Day then and now.

    Sounds like a great place you are in. I add every place you stay to my list for a future travel in those areas.

    Many thanks!


  5. Oh Laurie, the link to the Bridgewater Bistro made my mouth water, and it's Gluten Free menu is heavenly. Jim and I are GF as much as we can be, and that is a lovely place. Thank you so much.

  6. you are now in my favorite oregon town of astoria... love that cozy little town...

  7. Perfect description of our thoughts on Labor Day. Love the 'lost steer' sign and wonder at the irony of the traffic jam. Interesting.

  8. BTW, did you decide you headed south too early?

  9. We agree 100% ~ Labor day = less kids and people in the parks and campgrounds... "YEAH"
    Have fun & Travel safe

  10. Love Astoria, especially Market Day in downtown Astoria. Great Chinese food at Golden Lucky.

  11. Barbara: we're meeting friends near Seattle next week. When we met you in Tootle, we knew we had about 3 weeks before we met up with them, and wanted to get our maintenance work done in Eugene, so decided to squeeze it in before we went back to Seattle. Also gave us more time along the coast during the warm weather of August. We've been back and forth and up and down OR/WA all summer this year!

  12. Is it Tuesday yet?!
    Our lovely park has turned into a crazed fishing block party & the smell of cooking fish or boiling crabs is over whelming! :)
    Enjoy Astoria! Even though we don't golf we really liked the RV Park you are staying at!
    Happy Travels,

  13. You are so right about looking at Labor Day a different way. This is just about the end of our second year of full-timing so we are now noticing all those things you "seasoned" FTers know. We love kids but as glad when we can enjoy the surroundings of a park in "peace and quite"...LOL. We are headed to the NE next spring/summer. You are doing a great job of setting our route. Thanks for the free travel info. Enjoy the ride.

  14. Oh my, accidents on the highway are a nuisance -- they also sometimes hurt!

    We are so hungry to get back up into the Pacific Northwest! We know that is still within our reach, but we have to stay closer to home for a couple of years. Keep showing us the beautiful places you visit -- even if we've seen them before, we'll enjoy them. And isn't Highway 26 a neat route? Did you happen to stop at Camp 18? A wonderful and colorful place to eat.

  15. We loved Astoria. We stayed at the same RV Park May 2010 and really enjoyed it. Mike wasn't too keen about their little golf course, though. LOL

  16. enjoy the weekend!!, weekenders are packing up soon!..and none too happy about day we won't have to!!

  17. Its peaceful and quiet here in our CG this was definitely full of weekenders...lots of families with kids and through the park and between the RVs at 11pm every stress is not that they will damage the rig..but that they will damage themselves in the dark...
    Stay safe...

  18. Yep, it will be nice now to not worry about full campgrounds!