in the northwest corner of Oregon, is one of the endpoints of the TransAmerica trail, and my starting point.  It is near the location of Lewis and Clark's winter camp on the Pacific, Ft. Clatsop.  They were here from November of 1805 until May of 1806.  As you might imagine, L & C bicentennial festivities are heating up.

Founded in 1811, Astoria is America's oldest settlement west of the Rockies.   It was named for John Jacob Astor, who sent two groups here to establish a fur trading post.  Astor never made it out here himself-  his loss.

Besides its history, the town is known for its excellent seafood.  I can personally attest to the fact that a couple of its restaurants serve up some fantastic fish and chips.  (Hey, I have simple tastes.)

While I was here, DreamWorks was in town filming a sequel to their horror movie, "The Ring".  (I didn't see it, and probably won't bother to see the sequel, either.)

I spent several days here, assembling my bike, taking test rides, and traveling to and from Portland for Justin Linden's funeral.  The weather was spotty while I was here, but I enjoyed my stay, anyway.

Atop the Astoria Column

(with Saddleback Mountain Behind Me)

The 125 foot tall Astoria Column was built on Astoria's highest point in 1926, and underwent a $1 million restoration in 1995.  The column is wrapped by an impressive spiraling mural depicting important events in Astoria's history.

There are 164 steps to the top (that I walked up after climbing to the site on my bike!).  The view from the top is incredible!  In fact, I couldn't do it justice with a picture, so you'll have to come out here to experience it for yourself.

Astoria is also home to the fascinating Columbia River Maritime Museum, which, incidentally, is the actual starting point of the TransAmerica Trail.  The museum's exhibits include the Columbia lightship, galleries full of all kinds of boats, and a re-creation of an ocean rescue featuring an actual 44-foot Coast Guard rescue boat on a simulated 30-foot wave, complete with the sound and fury of wind and water.

The Astoria Column

As I went to bed on my first night in Astoria, I thought I heard frogs croaking on the riverbank behind my hotel room.  I have fond memories of the sound of frogs from various times of my life, and the "frogs" serenaded me to sleep.

When I awoke the next morning and walked outside, the biggest frogs I've ever seen were on the dock in the harbor behind the hotel!

The day before I left to start riding, I trimmed nine pounds of stuff from my load, and sent it home to Philadelphia.

As I finished my final packing on Monday night, the butterflies were back, bigger than ever.

BIG "Frogs"!








The Astoria Trolley runs along the river.
The Astoria Column, as seen trough the rigging  of the lightship "Columbia" at the museum.










On Highway 101, just south of Astoria
Looking up inside the Column
Next Dispatch: Astoria to Eugene