Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

May 27, 2020


On August 13, 2017, with my brother-in-law Rohit and his wife Rita, we went to Astoria, Oregon & Long Beach, Washington. On the way, we enjoyed pastoral scenes along US Highways 26 West & 101 North.

Pastoral scenes along US Highway 26


Pastoral scenes along US Highway 26

A little south of Seaside, we witnessed a chase scene back and forth, between a police car and a motor-cyclist. It stopped traffic on both sides. 

Police pickup chasing a motorcyclist two cars ahead in right lane

On the way, we passed through Seaside, which according to the official website, has “historically been one of the Oregon Coast’s most visited and popular oceanfront resorts.” 

Businesses along Highway 101 North 

Businesses along Highway 101 North 

South-bound traffic on Highway 101 South was even now practically at a stand-still.

Traffic at stand-still on Highway 101 South

Anyway, it took us about three hours to reach Astoria, the first settlement white-folks established west of the Rocky Mountains.

We were very hungry by the time we reached the Astoria Column. Therefore, the first order of business for us was to have lunch, which my wife, Kundan had packed for us.

(L-R) Rohit, Kundan & Rita enjoying lunch at Astoria Column

Chairs and tables outside the concession stand, which we used for our lunch, had images of the Astoria Column engraved on them.

Astoria Column images on furniture at concession stand

After lunch, it was time to explore the Astoria Column.

Astoria Column, Astoria, OR

Erected atop Coxcomb Hill, the Astoria Column was dedicated on July 22, 1926, as a symbol of westward expansion of the United States. It gets 400,000 visitors each year.

The Astoria Column reminded me of the Qutub Minar, at Delhi and the Vijaya Stambh at Chittorgarh, Rajasthan , both in India.  But while the Astoria Column is a symbol of commercial expansion, the I ndian counterparts were representations of military conquests.

Qutub Minar, Delhi, India
Vijay Stambh, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India

Astoria Column was the last of the 12 historical markers erected starting from St. Paul, Minnesota. It was a project of Ralph Budd, president of Great Northern Railroad. Like other tourists.

Rohit and Rita went up the 164-step spiral staircase to reach the top of the 125-ft high Astoria Column. Later they and Kundan posed for pictures in front of Astoria Column.

Kundan posing for a photo in front of Astoria Column

Astoria Column is believed to be based off the Trajan’s Column, in Rome, Italy. Completed in 113 A.D., Trajan’s Column is well known for its spiral bas-relief, which is an artistic description of the epic wars between the Romans and Dacians, which took place between 101 and 106 A.D.

Trajan's Column, Rome, Italy

The Astoria Column’s spiraling frieze was done by the Italian immigrant artist from Milan, Attilo Pusterla. Some of his frescoes appear also in the New York County Supreme Courthouse, the Senate Banking & Commerce Committee Room and in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Canada.  

The frieze on Astoria Column depicts several significant events that occurred in the region surrounding Astoria, OR.  These events include Captain Gray’s discovery of the Columbia River in 1792; arrival of the ship Tonquin in 1811; and Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1804-1806. Each of the events depicted on Astoria Column contributed to the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana and Wyoming becoming part of the United States.

Artwork closest to the base depicts forest around Astoria, Oregon. It includes a beaver, the animal hunted for its fur, and used in the lucrative fur trade, in which Jacob Astor was engaged.

Events depicted on Astoria Columns

Glass exhibits on the Astoria Column grounds describe experiences of Lewis & Clark upon arrival around Astoria, and the route they had followed to reach here..

Glass exhibits by Astoria Column about Lewis & Clark Expedition

On the way down from the Astoria Column's Coxcomb Hill, we encountered a deer.

A deer we saw on the way down

Then we went across the long Columbia River Bridge to Long Beach, WA. I will write about Long Beach next time.

May 24, 2020


On the way back from Oregon Garden, on August 12, 2017, we stopped at a café for some refreshments in Downtown, Silverton, Oregon.

Cafe, Silverton, OR

Nearby, on a wall, there was a large mural depicting the history of Silverton, Oregon.

Silverton history mural

Situated along the 45th parallel, Silverton is a city of about 9,000, about 12 miles northeast of Salem, OR. It is named after Silver Creek, which flows through the town from better known and more popular Silver Falls. Farming is Silverton’s major industry.

One of several Silver Creek falls

Astronaut Donald Pettit was raised in Silverton. Born on April 20, 1955, and a chemical engineer by profession, he is a veteran of three space flights. He was aboard the International Space Station for a total of more than 369 days. Also he was involved in a six-week expedition to find meteorites in Antarctica.

Astronaut Donald Pettit
Astronaut Pettit demonstrates microgravity

And every year, in August, Silverton celebrate its most famous citizen, Homer Davenport with a parade and many other community activities. Born in Silverton on March 8, 1867, he became one of the highest paid political cartoonist in the world, even though he had no formal art training.

Cartoonist Homer Davenport

Davenport's cartton about President Roosevelt 

One of Homer Davenport Days races in Silverton, OR

Silverton was also made famous by Bobbie the Wonder Dog, lost by a Silverton family during their road trip to Indiana in 1923.. After an extensive search, they could not find Bobbie. Broken- hearted they returned home without their beloved dog. 

Bobbie, the Wonder Dog

To the family’s pleasant surprise, six months later,  Bobbie returned home after walking 2,500 miles. He became an instant celebrity, and subject of many newspaper articles, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not! In 1924 Bobbie played himself in a silent film, “The Call of the West.” He received hundreds of letters, and many ribbons and keys to cities. Also he was honored with a jewel-studded harness and collar. 

Abook about Bobbie the Wonder Dog

   A movie poster about Bobbie, the Wonder Dog

After tea/coffee and a few pictures around Silverton Downtown, we returned home.

By the way, at the link below, you can watch a 1.5-minute video about Silverton, narrated by one of the city’s mayors. 

May 22, 2020


On August 12, 2017, with my brother-in-law Rohit and his wife, Rita, my wife, Kundan, and I went to the Oregon Garden, in Silverton, Oregon.

Oregon Garden Entrance

Oregon Garden is spread over 80 acres. As the map below shows, it features several specialty gardens. 

Oregon Garden Map

Its specialty gardens showcase the diverse botanical wonders of Willamette Valley and the Pacific Northwest. 

They include Conifer Garden, Honor Garden, Hughes Water Garden, Jackson & Perkins Rose Garden, Lewis & Clark Garden, Northwest Garden and Sensory Garden, and a Pet-Friendly Garden.

 There were a large variety of flowers, when we visited the Garden. Some flower beds were lined along the pathways.


There were plants depicting topiary art and parts which could entertain children as well as adults. 

Topiary Art
Flowerpot Family

Besides, there is a Butterfly Garden, which is also human-friendly!

Butterfly Garden: (L) Rita & Rohit; (R) Pritam & Kundan

We also found deer roaming in the garden.

Deer at Oregon Garden

All the irrigation needs of the garden are met with the filtered wastewater of  Silverton. Thus Oregon Garden is only one of the few installations in the United States that reuses wastewater for its water feature.

The water garden of Oregon Garden is like a maze with numerous paths and bridges. For its environmental friendliness, it was recognized with an award by the American Society of Landcape Architects in 2002.

Water features at Oregon Garden

The garden also hosts weddings and other events.

Weddings at Oregon Garden

Oregon Garden has an amphitheater, which hosts concerts and other events. Sam Bush played in the amphitheater in 2006.

(L) Oregon Garden Amphitheater; (R) Sam Bush perfromed here in 2006

Also there are always special events, like quilt shows, and auto shows at the garden.

It took about two years to complete it before it opened, April 17, 1999. Other features, such as the Rediscovery Forest, Natural Resources Center and the Gordon House, were added later.

Set in a grove of oak trees, Gordon House now sits on the grounds of Oregon Garden. It is the only house designed by Frank L. Wright in Oregon.  Designed in 1957 and completed in 1964, it was moved here from Wilsonville, OR, in 2001. It was one of the several houses he had designed as middle-income family homes, which are single story, without a garage or much storage. Built with native materials, they usually have flat roofs; allow passive solar heating and natural cooling and lighting. 

Gordon House

The garden is open year-round. April through October, it offers a tram to provide a complimentary 30-minute tour of the Garden.


(L) Tram Driver; (R) Tram Conductor

Initially the Oregon Garden had financial difficulty until Moonstone Garden Management took over its operations in 2006. They purchased additional 11+ acres from the City of Silverton to build a 103-room Oregon Garden Resort. Built in 2008, and complete with a lounge and restaurant, it sits near the garden's water feature, on the top of the hill, overlooking the garden's Rediscovery forest,

Oregon Garden Resort

Oregon Garden has a gift shop. Also it offers memberships. Membership applications are available at the Information Desk.

Oregon Garden's Gift Shop

Membership Desk

After enjoying the garden for a few hours, we ended our visit with a picnic lunch.

Our Picnic Lunch