Sunday September 13th….
You skip the picnic to your WLHS 40th reunion at Sunset Park in West Linn because the siren call of the Oregon Coast is to strong for your weak will……and.
From the Portland Oregon area: Get up early, mainline a double or quad latte at the nearest coffee bar then go to a Safeway, get some Tillamook Greek Yogurt for breakfast. Head out route 26 and the Sunset Highway which is named for the 41st Infantry Division. Put Andrea Bocelli on for music, turn it up pretty loud as you ascend the coast range. Almost cry because the music and scenery is so gorgeous. Stop for gas and get a piece of Marion Berry pie and eat it in the parking lot. Continue towards Cannon Beach and Tolovana Beach Park to hike on the beach. If you have to poop at the park don’t go in the bathroom it is scary. Cute rabbits with big floppy ears are living in the brush at the park. Hike on the beach. Take at least 10 obligatory Hay Stack Rock photos. Lots of strange alien looking jelly fish on the beach.
After the hike you go to the cute little coffee shop The Sea Level Bakery for a latte. On impulse you head south for the Tillamook Cheese Factory the Terminus of the Queso y Vino Camino Real Pilgrimage Trail. Enjoy the drive to the factory and go on the self guided tour. Buy cheese for the cooler and at least one cool T-shirt per person.
Then head North to Mo’s Chowder House in Cannon Beach for lunch. You order a bowl of the chowder, a Henry’s and then the Marion Berry cobbler a la mode. The chowder is excellent you still think it is great, but you have not yet compared it to the chowder in Astoria later on in the day. The beer is cold, the view excellent and your sweetie is cute, the day is perfect so far. The Cobbler filling is awesome but the inner foodie says they need to re-think the cobbler top crust, you are partial to crisps anyway.
Head North to Astoria Oregon. Go thru Seaside Oregon and spot a sign for Tuna Fish and Chips, you resist the urge to stop at Grizzly Tuna. Remember that you ran the Seaside Trail’s End Marathon there 4 times. Go past Warrenton and Fort Steven’s State Park. Fort Steven’s is where your father played monster with you and the siblings in the old gun batteries.
Go across the bridge into Astoria. It appears that the Astoria Column is being renovated. You drive into the parking lot of the Cannery Pier Hotel, you are pleasantly shocked it is not on the water but over the water.
The interior of the rooms is gorgeous, there is a small deck overlooking the Columbia River and the Bridge to Washington. The clawfoot tub in the room is a pleasant surprise and the bathroom appears to be twice the size of my Dorm room at the University of Oregon. Caroline, the sweetie, and I enjoy a California Lodi Zinfandel on the rear deck of our room with a baguette, Tillamook Cheese again and a pepper encased charcuterie thing.
Zinfandel and Petite Sirah are the dark slutty underbelly wines of California. Remember Friends don’t let Friends drink Virginia Wine or overpriced Oregon Pinot Noir’s.
The repast is over I head downstairs. I spy the free bikes to ride on the rear deck of the lobby while cruising and exploring the downstairs lobby, happy hour is at 5:00 PM. I head out on the Astoria RiverWalk. I am slightly drunk and driving a beach cruiser with an alligator squeaker to beep at the pedestrians, the wind is at my back. There is a trolley thing that runs down the center of the Riverwalk, there are massive bike tire eating gaps almost everywhere that must be negotiated. They should really change the name of the Astoria RiverWalk to the Cycle Trail of Death. Lots of museums and what looks like cute little restaurants on the RiverWalk. I ride almost to the end of the RiverWalk turn around and realize I can barely move against the wind and the alcohol in my bloodstream.
I return to the hotel to get ready for Happy Hour and an evening on the town. Happy Hour appeals to me here since there is unlimited wine and appetizers. They are serving a Rex Winery Pinot that is quite nice. I notice the antique old cars in front of the hotel.
We decide on the Buoy Beer Company on the RiverWalk as the start of a Pub Crawl after recommendations from the hotel staff, they also tell us that rides are free to the restaurants in the hotel antique cars. Me and the sweetie head out at about 6:15 PM in a 1958 Biscayne, too cool. After a short drive to the Buoy Beer Company, I tip our driver Dick and we head in. We find Sea Lions under the floor on a deck staring back up at us, I want to take one home.
We decide to sit at the Bar. The beer is cold, the spiced Pistachio’s awesome and the chowder is much better than Mo’s. The giant picture window in back of the bar looks out on the Columbia River and we chat with a young women named, Heather, who left her home and her husband in St. Louis on a trip to the Pacific Northwest…
Next day travel notes:
Grizzly Tuna in Seaside Oregon turns out to have tuna fish and chips that are as good as well made halibut fish and chips which means they are incredible. Remember cod is bait and friends don’t serve friends cod.
Author is Ted Aschenbrenner the staff writer and Manager of Ted’s Pagan Tiki Shack in Manassas Virginia a Faux Tiki Bar.