Day 5 of 10 - 2019 Pacific Northwest Road Trip - Long Beach to Cascade Locks
Coming from SoCal, a land with lots of people, heavy tourism, abundant signage, and a good deal of regulation, Long Beach wasn't what I expected. Simple infrastructure, a lot less signage, incredibly easy going. Though the area does seem to get tourism, our visit here seemed rather offseason. As the sun began to rise, we had the ocean, the cliffs, the trees, and the past––the solemn lighthouses of old––to ourselves. Everything was silently still, seemingly half asleep itself, aside from the distant crashing of the waves below.
We visited the North Head Lighthouse first before driving down to discover the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Among the oldest of the west coast, this lighthouse, we found, was now a blend of history with modern life. Just as the sun rose, we came across the lighthouse's new residents––the US Coast Guard––busy about their work with the coming day. The blend of current and times past was an odd one, and it felt as though we weren't supposed to be there, as onlookers where others were working. Though it seemed we were hardly noticed, I still felt as though we were disturbing some routine. We lingered very little, then headed back down the half driveway, half winding dirt trail of ferns and trees.
Were I to go again, I'd be curious to look over the visitor centers, learn more of the history, spend time among the beaches, and (perhaps the only time I'd ever say it) revel in the summer tourism instead of feeling an alien in a small town of locals. After breakfast and a photo by the World's Largest Frying Pan, we spotted Marsh's Free Museum and wandered in. This place was brimming with oddities and historical items. A fun spur-of-the-moment stop.