From the Blog

Tank Full Of Gas, Chapter X: Astoria, Oregon

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As you might imagine, the weather has gotten a little too chilly and wet for camping. I have been grimly informed that slate skies and dreary weather will continue for the next 47 years. There was even gnashing of teeth. I think my acquaintances are taking bets on how long I will last through this winter.

I have been told that Portlanders are innovative in combating winter blues, namely by drinking tasty beverages, (coffee, beer) reading a lot of books, and cuddling. Portland is a City Of Cuddlers. It’s raining! There’s nothing else to do! Let’s cuddle! I can’t count how many times I’ve walked down a rainy street and fallen for this.

I’ve been enjoying staying in town and getting to know different neighborhoods. But I had been itching to hit the road. Yesterday, the weather was predicted to be crappy. Perfect weather for a road trip to the coast.

230 miles. We took Route 30, the northern route to get to Astoria. It rained off and on the whole way. We stopped at the prettily named Gnat Creek campground to see if it might be a possible camping destination next summer. There were only three sites near the entrance and we drove right past them. We crawled along on a gravel fire road for a mile or two, looking for a “campground.” We didn’t know where we were going, and the fire roads split off in all directions. And there was no cell service. And the gravel was deep and loose. And my tires are shitty and worn thin.  We didn’t want to be on the evening news, so we turned around. Plus, I can’t get over the word “gnat.” It doesn’t sound like a place I want to put down a sleeping bag. Gnat, gnat, gnat. Gross, isn’t it?

As we tipped over the coastal hills, the weather broke and we saw some sun and blue sky. Closer to the coast, Route 30 clings to bluffs over the Columbia. As we zipped along, we could see the giant river chasm through breaks in the trees. I wanted to stop and soak it in. But I was beginning to understand we needed more than a day trip to get acquainted with this place.

Driving is hard, so we needed a beer and some sausage. We went to Fort George Brewery, where they stuff their own sausages. Mmm, sausage. We ordered a sausage sampler appetizer and they were fresh and meaty tasting. It was great, but we ordered way too much food.

The last time we went to Astoria, we only spent a few minutes as we were driving up the coast. This time, we were able to walk through the cute downtown area.

Astoria has heritage and feels like an old time boomtown. There is evidence of pride and rejuvenation. There are a lot of empty storefronts, but a lot of construction. We lingered in front of a number of vacant stores and daydreamed of opening a pub, or coffee shop, or art shop, or gay porn shop (one of those might not be the truth.)

Astoria is also very, very pretty.

Click for big

I would have liked to spend more time in Astoria, but we needed to head back before we lost too much light. I wanted to go over the bridge and drive back home on the Washington side.

All of the photos below were taken by The Co-Pilot, since I’m a good and safe driver that wouldn’t do anything reckless or public endangering.

It was at this point that The Co-Pilot, a native Oregonian, turned into a pumpkin.

First stop on the Washington side.

This will be the name I give my first child.

It wasn’t so bad. Lewis and Clark didn’t know what they were talking about. This is looking south, back towards Astoria. We definitely need to spend more time here, hiking, seeing the sights and maybe opening a coffee shop.

Other Tank Full Of Gas chapters:

Chapter Nine: Panther Creek Campground, WA
Chapter Eight, Green Canyon Campground, Mt Hood, Oregon
Chapter Seven, Spruce Run Campground, Coast Range, Oregon
Chapter Six, Bend, Oregon
Chapter Five, Seattle, Washington
Chapter Four, Mt Saint Helens, Washington
Chapter Three, The Gorge and Hood River, Oregon
Chapter Two, The North Coast and Astoria, Oregon
Chapter One, Waipi’o Valley, Big Island, Hawaii


  1. I see a lot of pictures in there that are magazine-esque. I may make one my desktop picture…

  2. I KNOW! I’m awesome!

  3. What no Goonies landmarks??

  4. Dismal Nitch. LOVE it!!! Great name for a band…

  5. Yeah, next time climb up the stairs on the big tower too. Great view from up there.

    Oh yeah, and go a little further up the Washington coast and stop in Long Beach. The world’s largest frying pan, Jake the Alligator Man, and the shooting-gallery-pinball-mecca. You won’t regret it.

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