The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
In the conifer forests six miles south of Astoria and three miles east of US-101, and part of the extensive Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, the Fort Clatsop National Memorial (92343 Fort Clatsop Rd., 503/861-2471, ext. 214, daily, $3 per person during winter, $5 per person during summer) is a credible reconstruction of the encampment Lewis and Clark and company constructed during the winter of 1805-1806. Now the centerpiece of the sprawling, multi-state Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Fort Clatsop has been fully (and in many ways more accurately) rebuilt after a 2005 fire destroyed the first (circa-1955) replica. The fort itself is joined by a range of exhibits in the visitors center. A longer (13-mile round-trip) trail leads to the coast. Summertime costumed rangers help conjure the travails of two centuries ago. The expedition spent three miserable months here, mingling occasionally with the native Clatsop and Chinook tribes but mostly growing moldy in the incessant rain and damp while being bitten by fleas, sewing new moccasins, and making salt in preparation for the return journey across the continent.