The most fascinating part of my weekend trip to Astoria was going to the Columbia River Maritime Museum, where I learned that Astoria is located on the Columbia Bar, where the Columbia, the largest river flowing into the Pacific Ocean from North America, empties into the Pacific Ocean. Often cited as the stormiest and roughest patch of ocean in the world, it has become known as the Graveyard of the Pacific due to the thousands of ships, and hundreds of lives, lost there since its discovery and subsequent use by man. I also learned that Astoria is where Lewis & Clark settled and is the oldest permanent settlement west of the Mississippi River! It used to be a major draw for immigrants all over the world, but especially from Asia, who came seeking “high-paying jobs” and opportunities and mostly got stuck working disgusting, bloody, and dangerous labor in the hundreds of canneries that dotted the Pacific Northwest in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Once the salmon was depleted, though, naturally the jobs went away as well. Thus you have contemporary Astoria, now serving primarily as just another port town, albeit a delightfully charming and beautiful one.
For anyone who’s interested, I have the rest of the weekend pictures (including the Goonies house!) on my lovely Flickr account.
Incidentally, there are also a few pictures of our early January weekend trip to Enterprise, in far eastern Oregon, to drop off Collier at her 3-month writer’s residence gig! A small sample of the frozen tundra that was Eastern Oregon (including the first time in my life that I’ve ever witnessed frozen fog, which is surreally awesome and also totally indescribable).