Monday, July 2, 2012

Oregon: Part Three: Adventures in Astoria

It's really hard not to think of The Goonies when you're driving through Astoria. It's very picturesque and if a bunch of movies weren't already filmed there, you would write one. It's got that kind of vibe. Like hidden, but not hidden. And a past so rich you feel as though you are walking amongst ghosts. Wicked ghosts, because in 1880, Astoria was dubbed, "The most wicked place on earth..." 

We had driven through Astoria on our way to the Midsummer Scandinavian Festival and I became sort of obsessed with going back. 

Here is yet another photo taken from the passenger seat. I hope you can see why I love this little town so much:
Astoria kind of juts out into the Columbia River; we are driving a cross a very long bridge to get there. The other bridge you see in the photo, goes to Washington. It's like San Francisco, except they actually like visitors.

I don't know who he is, but WWII was very big up here. 
We decided to go to the Astoria Column first, since it was a climb to the top and I didn't want the kids to be tired. We thought we could just find it since it's a giant column at the top of a hill. But we turned right instead of left and found this instead:
I haven't seen a metal merry-go-round since I was a kid! We pulled over and let the boys play for awhile. I tried to find a law or any information as to why they are no longer, but all I could find were guesses like, "it was probably a liability issue," or "parents probably sued." I also found an article about how playgrounds now are too safe and without risk on a playground, kids miss a developmental step. The need to overcome obstacles, it's a part of life. They need to be thrown from a merry-go-round to become awesome. So I guess I now have two awesome boys:
They were so happy, it was almost impossible to get them to leave. No tower could compete with a merry-go-round. And, yes, I see the port-a-potty.
Next, John and I dragged two whiney boys to the incredible Astoria Column. From a distance it looks in need of repair, but up close you can see the design that swirls up to the top. Inside there are 164 swirly, twirly gumdrop steps. Since I am not a fan of heights or climbing, this was perfect for me!
Hartwell beat me to the top.
On the way down we saw people going up with small balsa wood airplanes. Hartwell asked where they got them and they replied, "The forest." These people had, like, 10 airplanes. What is going on? We walked over to the gift shop and discovered that you buy a $1 plane, climb to the top and throw it off! Super fun! Turns out the people with all the planes knew to look in the forest and get the planes people threw off for free! Instead of buying one for a dollar.

I bought one for each of the boys thinking they would throw them off the giant hill. Nope. Hartwell climbed to the top of the tower again with his plane and his dad! Cause I wasn't climbing again. There they are, getting ready to throw:
Bee did NOT like the height and instead contented himself with throwing the plane to the wind:

The boys went into the woods and found some more planes, because that's what you do, I guess. It was gorgeous and wet and muddy and green. I think that's the Oregon motto:
Hartwell is starting to like taking photos. I like to criticize his camera work. I think it will make him a genius. See? He's pretty good!
After the column, we trekked down to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. It was incredible. I recommend going without kids for at least an hour. And then letting them join you. Is that possible? We had a pee accident and there was a lot of walking to the car and then back. I sort of missed all the exhibits. The boys spent most of their time here, (I wish it had locked):
Outside the museum is a lightboat. Until the '70's it sat out in the ocean dead center to the mouth of the Columbia River. The area is so foggy most of the time, they need a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. The boys were able to go down and look at the bunks and the kitchen:
Hartwell is cooking for Bee:
Bee cooking for Hartwell:
For lunch we went across the way to Bowpicker Fish and Chips. Delicious! I could taste the beer in the beer batter. Plus? Who doesn't want to buy fish and chips from a boat?
Yum! (Don't tell John, but I let Hartwell get a Sprite!) I think he knows...
After lunch we waited for what felt like an eternity to ride the waterfront trolley. Totally worth the wait. Bee took and nap and I got to hear the history of Astoria. It's hard to see in the photo, but the seats actually flip directions. You pull on the brass handle and the back moves from left to right. Since the trolley doesn't turn around, you do. Here you can see that Bee wanted to face his dad.
The Big Red Shed. It's considered the most photographed building in Astoria. Why was it so overcast?!
The Cannery Pier Hotel. I want to go to there.
It was really lovely and fun. And the boys each went through two outfits. So I guess one could say, "Astoria is so fun, you'll pee your pants!"

Miss the first part?! No one starts at Breaking Dawn!

Oregon: Part One: Lewis and Clark and Pollards

Oregon: Part Two: Cheese and Crabs and Sharks better scurry...

Oregon: Part Four: Hugs and Voodoo

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