Monday, June 23, 2014


Two summers ago we went on one of the best vacations EVER. We visited the Oregon and Washington Coasts. 


In Astoria, Oregon, we made the obligatory visit to the Goonie house. Yes, that's right. The Goonie House.


Was any movie better than that one in the 80s? Huh, huh, huh? I dare you to name one. Pirates, treasure, old ships, romance, mystery, adventure…sigh…they don’t make them like that anymore.  

Oh wait…pirates, treasure, old ships, romance, mystery, adventure…I think I might have just described my upcoming book, SHADOW OF A LIFE. Hmm…  (Insert shameless plug.)

Anyway, after visiting the Goonie house, we decided to go Letterboxing. If you don’t know what Letterboxing is, you should check out Atlas Quest. It’s like Geocaching, only more family friendly. Our letterboxing adventures took us to a cemetery where we learned the following haunting story.
"Steamships were still rare in 1852, so the General Warren, with its plume of black smoke, attracted a lot of attention from the towns it passed on its journey down the Columbia River. Grain filled the cargo hold and 52 people enjoyed the lavish appointments that adorned the interior. At the bar crossing, they picked up river pilot Captain Flavel to steer them to open sea. Once in open water however, conditions became precarious and water filled the cargo hold and the topmast blew off. The decision was made to turn about for the relative shelter of the river. Captain Thompson requested a bar pilot but it was late in the afternoon of the following day until conditions permitted Captain Flavel to reboard the struggling vessel. The pilot felt that it was too dangerous to attempt a crossing but the panicked crew and passengers pleaded. Absolving himself of any responsibility, Flavel moved forward. Progress was slow and the ship began to deteriorate. Captain Thompson ordered the ship run hard aground. This was accomplished and volunteers were called for to take the remaining lifeboat to find help. Volunteers were slow to respond as the men felt that certain death awaited them. Captain Flavel, with his superior knowledge of the river, piloted the boat. Miraculously, within 3 hours they were making their way back to the stranded ship. 
But it was nowhere to be found. 
It had broken up and there were only bits of lumber where a once grand ship had been. Forty-two bodies were recovered, among them a newly married couple, found still clasping hands with her wedding ring still on her finger."

(Taken from our personal Letterboxing notebook. Someone carved the stamp by hand!)

To find the letterbox, we were sent on a treasure hunt…in a cemetery. The air was windy and you could smell the water of the Columbia River as we walked through the cemetery in search of our treasure—er, letterbox. 

We found the letterbox hiding behind a creepy mausoleum. Long story short, we stayed too long and it started to get dark. The creepy mausoleum started emitting scary shadows and we all freaked ourselves usual. (I mean, the kids were scared. I would NEVER get scared.)

We ran back to the car. Fast.

I never saw any of the ghosts associated with the ship, but they’ve definitely stayed on my mind. 

I love ghost stories!

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