Featured photo for 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 CouchSurfing.org 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 AstoriaRain.com.

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.

Photos not created by Felix Wong may be subject to copyright.
Rio Cafe, Astoria, Oregon
ships in the Columbia River viewed from Astoria, Oregon
Wet Dog Cafe, Astoria, Oregon
Pier 12, Astoria, Oregon
yellow and green mural on building in Astoria, Oregon
Astoria Column, Commodore Hotel
14th Street under construction, Astoria, Oregon
red flowers, Clemente's Cafe & Public House, Astoria, Oregon
log poles in water, Astoria, Oregon
log poles, pier, Astoria Bridge
Bowpicker Fish & Chips, long line, Astoria, Oregon
fish and chips, ship, Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon
Heritage Museum, Astoria, Oregon.
silver 2000 BMW Z3 2.3, brown house, Astoria, Oregon
Astoria City Hall, 11th & Duane Street, Astoria, Oregon
red 1950s Ford Thunderbird, white top, Lower Columbia Bowl, Astoria, Oregon
lookout tower on pier, Astoria, Oregon
vintage yellow Ford pickup truck, blue wave mural, Astoria, Oregon
white Volkswagen New Beetle, Chowder and Coffee House, Astoria, Oregon
sunset over Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon
Felix Wong, Ms. Pac Man, green ghost, Astoria, Oregon
white Never Say Die T-shirt, Hey You Guys We Have Goonies Sweatshirts sign, Astoria, Oregon
Norblad Hotel, cabin, cycling clothes, black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, Trans Am Bike Race
black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, anchor, Columbia River Maritime Museum
black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, Pilot boat, Astoria, Oregon
black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, pier, Astoria, Oregon, seals, ships
seals, boats, Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon
black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, old boat, Astoria, Oregon
black 2010 Litespeed Archon C2, boardwalk, red ship
purple Chrysler PT Cruiser, red and white building, Paradise Gallery, Astoria, Oregon
blue Columbia Landing townhomes, Astoria, Oregon
SpongeBob SquarePants drawing on white panel, Specialized Romin Evo Pro saddle
The Goon Dock official event headquarters, Astoria, Oregon
deer on road to Astoria Column
A cyclist walking up a hill to the Astoria Column.
Astoria Bridge, Columbia River, red ship, viewed from Astoria Column
Corey Harn, Heather Douglas, black Arrrstoria T-shirts
Felix Wong, black Litespeed Archon C2, blue white red cycling jersey, Trans Am Bike Race, Astoria, Oregon
Photo: Corey Harn