A day off after six solid days of riding– Big Yeah, no biking today. It was a day of chores–bike cleaning and laundry and picking up a few critical supplies at the local bike shop, then on to some site seeing fun in Astoria. The weather was spectacular–not like the rainy days we have had on the bike for the last 3 day.Astoria is a port city situated near the mouth of the Columbia River were it meets the Pacific Ocean. This means, from this point on we are on the Pacific Ocean heading south. We just need to keep the ocean on our right and we are going the correct way. Astoria was named after John Jacob Astor an investor from NYC whose American Fur Company founded Fort Astor–though Astor, himself, never set foot in the town. In 1912, John Jacob Astor and his wife had been on an extended honeymoon in Egypt and Paris and, in the spring of 1912, decided to return to America as First Class passengers on board the brand new Titanic. The wife survived, John Astor died, as you know the ship sank.
A great point of interest, here, is the Astoria Column, a tower 125 feet high, built on a hill above the town, with an inner circular staircase that affords a panoramic view of the town, the surrounding lands, and the Columbia flowing into the Pacific. The tower was built in 1926 with financing by the Great Northern Railway and Vincent Astor of the Astor family, the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, in commemoration of the city’s role in the family’s business history and the region’s early history. The visitor association sell balsa wood gliders for $1, which you can sail off the top of the column. Robin and I climbed the tower, and of course each bought a glider to sail off the top. I am sure the surrounding forest, paths and trees must be littered with thousand of these gliders.
Next, we moved on to an afternoon of food and wine and a walking tour in Astoria from a local. Five other fellow riders joined us and we visited six venues, and I was hammered by the second. I am guzzling water, tonight, to combat dehydration in preparation for tomorrows ride! But, it sure was fun, tasty and interesting. We sampled Oregon wines, whites and red–mostly Pinot Noir. One of our riders is a wine maker in Northern California, Pug Wine. Check them out! We also went to a distiller of hard spirits, whiskeys, vodkas and infused coffee liqueur. Food was local melons, cheeses, and more exotic samples with roasted brussel sprouts wrapped in bacon, fresh salmon fitters and local vegetables sautéed and fried. For the finale we went to a chocolatier that was established over 100 years ago. A great experience with Eat Astoria Food Tours
There is a 4 mile bridge that connects Astoria on the south side of the Columbia River with Washington State on the north. The completion of this bridge was the last piece of Hiway 101 to complete in 1966. We saw four large commercial container/cargo ship in the mouth of the river. Every boat over a certain size is required to have a Bar Pilot from Astoria on board to guide the ships safely through the narrows of the Columbia Channel. These four boats are from Korea and have dropped off their cargo. Their return cargo is likely wheat or other food products. Each ship is required to be repainted and certified for food quality transport. These ship are waiting their turn for this service.
So, this completes an enjoyable day off. I purchased a nice merino wool base layer to wear in this cold weather. Clearly, I did not bring enough warm clothes. On the past couple of days I have worn almost everything I brought with me, just to stay warm on the bike. I also purchased a new CO2 inflator, my current one sent the CO2 into the atmosphere and not into the tire–grrr. Perhaps it was pilot error, but I decided to find one easier and more reliable to use, which I did. Here’s hoping I don’t get a flat and I don’t have to use it, but I am ready if I do have to.
And, in conclusion for this great day, as we get ready to really head down the Pacific Coast, I’ve discovered the “s” on my keyboard is slipping and less responsive than the rest of the keys. Slightly annoying, yes, deal breaker, no. If you notice a word or two with a missing “s” this why.
Good Night to all and a good day to you, tomorrow.