Astoria Escapade

Salem, October 29

I’m a bit tardy in getting to this post but sometimes life just gets in the way.

Every summer, Michael and I spend time at a family cabin in the Sierra Nevada on a lake at the edge of the Desolation Wilderness Area.  There are a number of cabins on this little lake and many of them have been in the same family since they were built 80 or 90 years ago with each successive generation enjoying the beauty and tranquility of the high, alpine setting.  We are the third generation at lot 4 and, for years, have enjoyed the company of a third generation couple at lot 2.  We meet at the lake but have never gotten together at any other location, which is kind of silly since we live about five hours away from each other.

This year we decided to break that practice and see if we could get along away from the family-history laden setting of Wright’s Lake.  Besides, Cindy, lot 2, decided it was time that she got in touch with her “inner goofball” and this seemed like a good way to encourage that.

Expect a strong wind from the north.

We decided to rendezvous at Astoria, Oregon, which is located between our two homes.  As soon as we drove into town and saw the halloween decorations on the street lights, we knew that we had come to the right place.  At a time when many communities are trying to decide if they can afford to put up Christmas decorations, Astoria goes to the effort of putting up Halloween decorations.  Talk about getting in touch with one’s inner goofball!!  I particularly liked this witch’s striped pants and modest pumps.  I’ve never really thought about what shoes one would wear while riding a broom but now I know the answer.

And, the theme of flying seemed an appropriate one given the fact that Cindy pretty much always had her wings extended and was ready to go at a moment’s notice.  When we climbed up the Astoria Column and flew our little balsa wood gliders off the top, I was watching her closely lest she take flight herself.  The exuberance index was way, way up.

Astoria was an inspired choice for our escapade as there are good restaurants of both the dress up (not that we did) and dress down varieties.  We patronized both types and had great food at each.  The Bridgeview Bistro is wonderful and our small plates were packed with flavor; the Bowpicker, an old boat up on blocks, delivered its consistently delicious fish (albacore tuna) and chips.

The gang’s all here.

We traveled back in time to spend a few minutes with Lewis and Clark at Fort Clatsop and then traveled forward a number of decades to see what it was like for Captain Flavel and his family to live in one of Astoria’s most elegant Queen Anne homes.  We watched a huge ship come in over the Columbia bar from a viewing platform in Fort Stephens State Park and watched a river pilot board a huge ship by climbing up a ladder from the little pilot boat.  We saw the wreckage (1906) of the Peter Iredale at low tide and visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

Paul, Cindy and Michael in their finest wet weather gear.

As mentioned above, Cindy and I climbed the Astoria Column and sent a total of four airplanes sailing out over the landscape.  My airplane celebrating my mother’s 90th birthday had a good, but not long flight, and made a very gentle landing on the field below the tower.  My other plane, celebrating friendship, glided far, far away into the trees until it was lost to sight.  Cindy’s two planes had similar flight paths:  The plane extolling joy sort of crash landed after a fitful, choppy flight but her plane branded with goofiness probably didn’t land until it hit the river.  It just kept going and going and going.  Sadly, none of the planes came equipped with floats!

We spent one evening seeing who could find the most words in a mass of letter tiles (playing Bananagrams).  The women seemed to do better than the men but Paul did keep reminding us that he formed “fiduciary” with one of his initial draws.  When words paled, we switched to dominoes and when that began to pale, we abandoned the hotel because we thought it might be on fire.  Seriously.  We had noticed an increasing smokey smell and, when we looked outside, it looked like smoke was coming from the roof.

Hmmmm.  What does one grab when leaving a hotel in an emergency?  In my case, the answer turned out to be my purse, computer, camera, extra glasses and contact lens stuff and my hubby.  In any event, it turned out to be a false alarm.  It was the Chamber of Commerce building a block or so away that was in danger.  Still, a good exercise in preparedness.  And, a great weekend of friendship and silliness.  We are already planning our next adventure.

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One Response to Astoria Escapade

  1. susan fuchs says:

    Astoria-hysteria…sounded like a great time had by all.

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