Astoria, Oregon is a pretty significant historical site. During the winter of 1805-06, Lewis and Clark wintered at the mouth of the Columbia River after traversing the vast frontier of Western America. After traveling nearly 4,000 miles they built Fort Clatsop as a place to winter before heading back to the United States. It was a rough winter for the Corps of Discovery, but the National Park is a great place to visit (although we didn’t stop there this trip, Sue and I visited the fort last time we were in Astoria).
We did spend an hour or two in the Columbia Maritime Museum. If you’re ever in Astoria, this is a must see. I came away with a greater appreciation for the history of the region and the incredible service provided by the members of the Coast Guard. The Columbia River is one of the nation’s great waterways, but also one of the most dangerous to enter from the sea. The Coast Guard takes rescue seriously, and the Columbia is a great place to train with the best.
We enjoyed Astoria so much, we got a late start, but had a wonderful ride down the coast. We stopped in Cannon Beach for lunch and found the place to be filled with people. Morris’ Fireside Restaurant looked appealing, and didn’t disappoint. My halibut melt was incredible. The atmosphere was charming, the service was pretty quick and the lunch was great.
If you’ve seen the movie Goonies, you know we had to check out Haystack Rock and the beach before climbing back on board the bikes. Cannon Beach is probably the only place where we saw a lot of tourists—and we did see a lot of them there.
You can’t pass through Tillamook without stopping at the cheese factory. We didn’t take the tour, but did have a delicious scoop of ice cream as we realized there was no way we were going to make it to Coos Bay before late. We decided to alter our plans and find a place to stay in Newport (only a couple hours away) and spent the night in a beautiful Best Western with a wonderful ocean view. After a luxurious soak in a hot tub and a bowl of tasty clam chowder, I fell asleep and don’t think I moved all night.
The ride from Tillamook to Newport was some of the most beautiful riding of the trip. Twisty canyon roads broken up by the pastoral landscape of dairy farmers made this stretch one of my favorites.