ships in the Columbia River viewed from Astoria, Oregon

Astoria, Oregon

I never had heard of the idyllic little town of Astoria, Oregon until the planning stages of the Trans Am Bike Race. But after I did, I started noticing occasional references to it in random places.

For example, there was the April 15 Marketwatch article that listed Astoria as one of “10 costal towns where you can afford to retire.” A friend also mentioned she visited Astoria on a road trip back in 2013 and how beautiful it was.

So I was looking forward to arriving there after a 1.5-day ride on Greyhound which turned out to be quite the tour with stops in Salt Lake City, Idaho Falls, Boise and other places. It seemed, however, that many other people were too—all hotel rooms within a 15-mile radius of Astoria were booked for the Friday night a whole month in advance.

I thus resorted to to find a sofa to crash on. This turned out to be fortuitous as I got to meet Corey and Heather Harn, two native Oregonians who were super friendly and welcoming. They could even be considered Astoria experts, being the owners and lead contributors of a well-written blog called

One of the first questions I had to ask them was “What are the Goonies?” alluding to the Goonies celebration signs I saw all over town while I was there.

Corey informed me that back in the 1980s, a movie called The Goonies was filmed in Astoria. This weekend was the 25th anniversary celebration, with people from all over the world coming to partake in it. That explained why all the hotels were booked.

In addition to talking with Corey and Heather about the Goonies, their travels to Korea, Palo Alto, and other places in the world, there were a few other activities I got to do in this gorgeous city by the sea.

One was walking around downtown and along the pier by the Columbia River. There was a recreational trail that went along the pier, past a thousand seals, and over to the east side of Astoria which had many lovely, well-kept homes.

Another was calorie loading, which I commenced with delicious fish and chips from the Bowpicker on Thursday and giros from a falafel truck near the Bowpicker on Friday. My final real meal before the Trans Am Bike Race was a pasta dish from Fulio’s Pastaria with Corey and Heather on Friday night.

I also met many of the 40 cyclists racing in the Trans Am Bike Race. A bunch of us met at the Astoria Tower (which entailed a short but steep climb) followed by beers at the Fort George Brewery.

Lastly, I had many moments to relax by the Columbia River and enjoy the gorgeous—and dare I say perfect—weather, which did not feature the rains the Pacific Northwest was famous for but lots of sun and moderate temperatures. Despite the completely full lodging situation, the town didn’t seem overrun by tourists, and I was frequently surprised to find places to sit down and admire the view were completely vacant and available.

Astoria, as it would turn out, was my favorite town during the entire journey for the Trans Am Bike Race. Granted, part of that may be due to having a fresh body and relaxed state of mind; fond memories of hanging out with Corey and Heather for one brief evening; and laughing and talking over-optimistically with the other racers. There was also the excitement and anticipation of beginning the race in the wee hours of Saturday morning, which Corey even came out for to photograph and witness for himself. He later wrote about the start and posted a Day 10 update on his blog.

But the biggest part of the reason Astoria was my favorite place was how picturesque and tranquil Astoria is. As Corey wrote on Astoria Rain, “Of all the places he has visited, he admits that Astoria is among the most beautiful on the planet.” I concur with this as well, even if it risks even more complete hotel sell-outs in the future.

Rio Cafe, Astoria, Oregon
The Rio Caf̩e in Astoria, Oregon.
ships in the Columbia River viewed from Astoria, Oregon
Ships in the Columbia River as viewed from Astoria, Oregon.
Wet Dog Cafe, Astoria, Oregon
The Wet Dog Caf̩e and Brewery in Astoria, Oregon.
Pier 12, Astoria, Oregon
Pier 12 in Astoria, Oregon.
yellow and green mural on building in Astoria, Oregon
Mural on building in Astoria, Regon.
Astoria Column, Commodore Hotel
The Astoria Column looming above the Commodore Hotel.
14th Street under construction, Astoria, Oregon
14th Street, which was steep and under construction, was the road the Norblad Hotel (where I stayed the first night) is on in Astoria, Oregon.
red flowers, Clemente's Cafe & Public House, Astoria, Oregon
Red flowers with Clemente's Caf̩e & Public House in the background in Astoria, Oregon.
log poles in water, Astoria, Oregon
Log poles in water in Astoria, Oregon.
log poles, pier, Astoria Bridge
Log poles and pier with the Astoria Bridge in the background.
Bowpicker Fish & Chips, long line, Astoria, Oregon
The Bowpicker Fish & Chips featured a long lunch line in Astoria, Oregon. The fish and chips were worth the line and cash-only policy, however.
fish and chips, ship, Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon
Enjoying the fish and chips in front of the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon.
Heritage Museum, Astoria, Oregon.
The Heritage Museum in Astoria, Oregon.
silver 2000 BMW Z3 2.3, brown house, Astoria, Oregon
A silver 2000 BMW Z3 2.3 in front of a brown house in Astoria, Oregon.
Astoria City Hall, 11th & Duane Street, Astoria, Oregon
Astoria City Hall on 11th & Duane Street.
red 1950s Ford Thunderbird, white top, Lower Columbia Bowl, Astoria, Oregon
A red and white 1950s Ford Thunderbird in front of the Lower Columbia Bowl in Astoria, Oregon.
lookout tower on pier, Astoria, Oregon
A lookout tower on a pier in Astoria, Oregon. I was surprised and pleased that no one was here.
vintage yellow Ford pickup truck, blue wave mural, Astoria, Oregon
A vintage yellow Ford pickup truck in front of a blue wave mural in Astoria, Oregon.
white Volkswagen New Beetle, Chowder and Coffee House, Astoria, Oregon
A white Volkswagen New Beetle at the Chowder and Coffee House in Astoria, Oregon.
sunset over Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon
Sunset over the Columbia River as viewed from Astoria, Oregon.
Felix Wong, Ms. Pac Man, green ghost, Astoria, Oregon
Felix Wong with Ms. Pac Man and a green ghost in Astoria, Oregon.
white Never Say Die T-shirt, Hey You Guys We Have Goonies Sweatshirts sign, Astoria, Oregon
A white "Never Say Die" T-shirt and "Hey You Guys We Have Goonies Sweatshirts!" sign in Astoria, Oregon.
Norblad Hotel, cabin, cycling clothes, black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, Trans Am Bike Race
The cabin I stayed in at the Norblad Hotel with my cycling clothes on the bed and my assembled Litespeed Archon C2 against the wall.
black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, anchor, Columbia River Maritime Museum
My black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2 with a large boat anchor at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon.
black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, Pilot boat, Astoria, Oregon
My black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2 in front of a Pilot boat in Astoria, Oregon.
black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, pier, Astoria, Oregon, seals, ships
My black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2 on a pier in Astoria, Oregon, overlooking seals and ships.
seals, boats, Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon
Seals and boats on the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon
black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, old boat, Astoria, Oregon
My black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2 in front of an old boat in Astoria, Oregon.
black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, boardwalk, red ship
My black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2 in front of a boardwalk and red ship in Astoria, Oregon.
purple Chrysler PT Cruiser, red and white building, Paradise Gallery, Astoria, Oregon
A purple Chrysler PT Cruiser in front of Paradise Gallery in Astoria, Oregon.
blue Columbia Landing townhomes, Astoria, Oregon
Blue Columbia Landing townhomes in Astoria, Oregon, supposedly starting at $249,000.
SpongeBob SquarePants drawing on white panel, Specialized Romin Evo Pro saddle
This SpongeBob SquarePants drawing on a white panel of a falafel truck in Astoria, Oregon appeared to jump onto my Specialized Romin Evo Pro saddle.
The Goon Dock official event headquarters, Astoria, Oregon
The Goon Dock official event headquarters in Astoria, Oregon.
deer on road to Astoria Column
Deer on the road to the Astoria Column.
A cyclist walking up a hill to the Astoria Column.
A cyclist walking up a hill to the Astoria Column.
Astoria Bridge, Columbia River, red ship, viewed from Astoria Column
The Astoria Bridge and a red ship over the Columbia River as viewed from the Astoria Column.
Corey Harn, Heather Douglas, black Arrrstoria T-shirts
Corey Harn and Heather Douglas sporting black Arrrstoria T-shirts in Astoria, Oregon.
Felix Wong, black Litespeed Archon C2, blue white red cycling jersey, Trans Am Bike Race, Astoria, Oregon
Photo by Corey Harn
Felix Wong and his black Litespeed Archon C2 in Astoria, Oregon, the day before starting the 2015 Trans Am Bike Race.