Freeway Free in Oregon – the Columbia River Maritime Museum
[AKA: Travels in a Tiny Trailer – Day 4]
If you are going camping in a tiny trailer, and you left your bikes at home because the forecast call for a 99% chance of rain, better hope you can find some indoor activity to pass the time! If you are camping at Ft Stevens State Park you are in luck, because you are only a short drive from the quaint town of Astoria, [more on this later] and its Columbia River Maritime Museum.
The CRMM is an amazing little museum with exhibits including early navigational charts, an IMAX theater showing films from Jacques Cousteau and others, a comprehensive map of shipwrecks at the mouth of the Columbia River, and a sea-sickness-inducing recreation of what it is like to be on a Coast Guard cutter going out to rescue mariners during a Pacific storm.
If you are going to spend some time in a small museum on a rainy weekend, it helps if Executive Director happens to be an old friend from college. Dr. Samuel E. Johnson and I had more than a few memories dating back to our freshman year Ballroom Dancing classes together. (I took the class to fill a Physical Education requirement; I suspect Sam took it because at that time the ratio of men to women at our college was officially 3.5 / 1, and it was chance to meet girls.)
In addition to being a very good dancer, Sam is an accomplished raconteur and a dedicated evangelist on behalf of his museum. Sis, Bro, C and I spent a couple of hours being fascinated by a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum, coupled with stories of plans for the museum’s future expansion and enhancement.
If you go, plan to spend a couple of hours exploring, especially if you take in the IMAX film. You might not get the hands-on tour, but you won’t be sorry for the visit.