June 20 - July 1: Oregon

6/30 - Astoria (20 miles)
ok, i guess the mileage to astoria doesn't count. linda, ollie, & i rode there in linda's van. astoria reminded me a lot of san francisco...on a smaller scale. the streets are hilly & steep. many of the homes are san francisco style, too....tall, narrow, & closely spaced in some neighborhoods. we saw many stately places with signs in front indicating that they are national historic sites.
we had lunch at a lovely old renovated home near the wharf in astoria. it's called the home spirit bakery cafe & it's wonderful. emily & michael henderson have been in business here for 2 years. they take great pains to create dishes that are tasty, & their breads are exceptional. for instance, it takes 4 days to make their croissants--layering the butter & dough just right & letting it all rest between layerings....using only the finest tillamook butter. emily displays & sells her beautiful pottery there, too. you can see more at www.home-spirit.com, & hopefully you'll have a chance to enjoy it in person some day.
after lunch we drove up a winding road to the top of the hill where the astoria column is located. you can climb to the top to survey the surroundings, but we didn't. the outside of the column is adorned with scenes & words depicting the area's history. from the hilltop there are breathtaking views in all directions. on a clear day, which it wasn't, you can spot mount st. helen's.
here's a photo of me, ollie, & linda with the columbia river in the background. i hadn't realized how huge it is here. perhaps you can also see the bridge from astoria to washington state behind us. what a bridge! part of its span is waaaaay up in the air to allow ocean-going vessels to pass underneath. it has a biking lane--a very narrow one-- but this biker won't ever be using it.
oh boy....more dogs. these 2 were in the parking lot at the column. they were being treated to mcdonald's french fries by their owner. it's a weimaraner & australian shepherd. the shepherd is sure being patient about awaiting his turn for fries.
linda decided i could easily add another state to my cross-country roster, so she drove us over that 4.1-mile bridge to washington state. here it is, the official washington state welcome sign...but no bikes in sight.
as we drove back across the bridge to astoria we watched for that elusive 'welcome to oregon' sign, but again, nope. we did see a teensy 'entering oregon' sign. guess that's as much welcome as we're gonna get.
on our way back to seaside we stopped at a fresh seafood shop down along a small bay where fishing boats were docked. we bought some pickled salmon to try & some salmon filets to cook for our supper. at linda's lovely home near the beach in seaside, we seasoned the filets & wrapped them in parchment paper along with some blanched fresh asparagus, then popped them into the oven. it turned out delicious & i'm anxious to try it again myself once i get back to iowa. cooking.....what a concept! i haven't had to fix my own meals now for 3 months straight. hope it's like riding a bike & i'll remember how to do it once i try.

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