We’re getting better at disassembling the tent and packing up (or we’re getting more and more forgetful and leaving things behind) so it didn’t take long to get on the road today. We drove down to Astoria, crossing a three mile bridge to get out of Washington and into Oregon. Astoria itself is perched on a steep hillside, rather like a Pacific Northwest version of San Francisco, and at the top of the hill is a bank of electric vehicle chargers, behind the community college. These give out electricity for free, so we plugged in and left the car there while exploring the town.
As it’s Sunday, the hipster farmers market was in full swing. We bought:
- An heirloom tomato and a head of garlic
- Two huge bags of kettle corn
- A sweatshirt for La Serpiente and a t-shirt for Destroyer
- A bottle of wine
- A small saucer with indentations that allow you to use it to grate vegetables
- A sticker with "Astoria" on it to put on the car
- Two packets of energy bars
- A book about lesbian necromancers in space
- Some dreadful kombucha
- Six apples, four pears, and some peaches and plums
Having to carry this around town in a plastic bag that was slowly stretching and looking ready to break was a bit of a struggle, but it never actually failed on us. We’d started the visit with lunch at the Fort George Brewery, where I had four different beers to drink (only one of them palatable) so maybe that gave me the strength to cope.
At about the three hour mark, we went to the Oregon Film Museum, which makes a big deal about the Goonies being set, and filmed, in Astoria. I don’t remember now why I didn’t get to see the Goonies as a kid, but it lacks the significance my wife finds in it. No matter. After that, I made the walk back up the hill on my own (0.7 miles as the crow flies, on hills that felt to be at 45° from the horizontal) and then drove down to collect everyone.
The final drive of the day was to head to Calumet; we have a campsite that is ten feet from a huge river, and I write this from a tent that’s being blown about by the wind. To cross the river (and thereby return to Washington state) there’s a comic little ferry, little more than a raft, which doesn’t accept credit card payments. We had to pay $6 in quarters, and I’m still not entirely sure of the legitimacy of this enterprise, but we got across the water and to our campsite, and everything is fine.
Well, more than fine. When the horizon isn’t obscured by an enormous fog bank flowing over the mountains, this is another ludicrously beautiful part of the world. The kids ran and shrieked and gibbered until nine, then fell asleep, readying themselves for another big day tomorrow.