Posts Tagged With: lighthouse

Cape Disappointment was NOT Disappointing

Cape Disappointment – what an unfortunate name for such a beautiful place! On July 6, 1788 explorer John Meares named Cape Disappointment because of his disappointment about not finding the Columbia River. Ironically Cape Disappointment is on the northern side of the mouth of the Columbia River.

We visited Cape Disappointment when we stayed at Fort Stevens in Oregon. Cape Disappointment is actually in Washington, but Fort Stevens was the closest we would be to it so we crossed over into Washington before actually “moving” there with our house.


Astoria-Megler Bridge to Washington

Don’t worry, I was not driving while taking this picture. We were actually stopped for one lane traffic due to road work on the bridge.

This park has 2 lighthouses! The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was built in 1856 to watch over the entrance to the Columbia River.


Cape Disappointment Lighthouse



View of Visitor Center from lighthouse

The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse came into view too far south to warn ships approaching from the north so a 2nd lighthouse (North Head Lighthouse) was built in 1898. This is the only location on the west coast with 2 lighthouses within 2 miles of each other.


North Head Lighthouse

North Head Lighthouse is under construction while Washington State Parks restore it to its original 1898 look.

We learned a lot about lighthouses while visiting the Oregon coast and later the Washington coast. Each lighthouse has its own unique signature or light pattern so ship captains can verify their location. The North Head lighthouse’s signature is 2 white flashes of light every 30 seconds. Yaquina Head Lighthouse that we toured a few weeks earlier in Oregon had a pattern of 2 seconds on, 2 seconds off, 2 seconds on, 14 seconds off. I thought it was very interesting how each lighthouse is unique and how ship captains use these signatures for navigation. I’m sure this was especially useful before the GPS was invented.

The Visitor Center had a lot of interesting information about how lighthouses work and also a lot of cool Coast Guard exhibits.


While we walked between the lighthouse and the visitor center we found a lovely little cove nestled between the cliffs. It was so warm there being sheltered from the wind so we spent a long time just enjoying the beach here.





Cute little driftwood forts were built on the beach too!


Mr. Meares probably had no idea that the “disappointment” name would last for over 2 centuries, and I wonder if he ever found out that he really was so close to the Columbia River. I would definitely not call this place disappointing. 🙂

Categories: Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

San Diego and Cabrillo National Monument

Since Tucson was so hot we decided to cut our time there short and follow our friends to San Diego for some cooler weather.  It’s funny, every time we say good-bye to them we end up meeting them again somewhere else.  We were not able to stay in the same campground this time, but we were only about 15 minutes away.  Our first night in the area we went over to Coronado Island to visit them.  The kids liked playing in the San Diego Bay and kayaking.  This was right behind their campsite.





I enjoyed the spectacular sunset.  You really can’t beat the beautiful sunsets on the west coast.


We stayed at a beautiful RV resort in Chula Vista just on the other side of the bay from our friends.  Not a bad place to spend a few days!




I decided to attempt a bike ride from our place to our friend’s site on Coronado Island.  It was 20 miles round trip.  I rested for a little bit at Michele’s RV before heading back.  That was a hard ride and the only thing that kept me going was the beautiful view like the one below.  My aching legs were not very happy with me when I got back that evening.


My favorite thing we did while in San Diego was visit Cabrillo National Monument.


I don’t think I could ever get tired of looking at the amazing beauty of God’s Creation.  I am so thankful to be able to see sites such as these.

A view of San Diego across the bay from the national park.


We hiked around the cliffs and tide pools which was incredible.



The boys loved watching the waves splash against the rocks.















After the hike we toured the Old Point Loma Lighthouse which was in service from 1855 until 1891.


It turned out the lighthouse being up so high on the hill meant fog and low clouds hid the light from ships, so a new lighthouse was built at the bottom of the hill.


The kids filled out the booklets to earn Junior Ranger badges while learning about Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the Spanish explorer that this park is named after.


They also enjoyed trying on some really heavy armor at the visitor center.


After finishing our visit at the national park we drove over to see La Jolla (pronounced La-Hoya).  The boys loved the tide pools and feeling the waves splash on them.





We loved visiting San Diego!  Such a beautiful area and near perfect weather.

Categories: California, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at