Return to Astoria

Return to Astoria

Hello Rebel, and welcome back to my life.

You remember that last week I went to the town of Astoria on Oregon’s northern border. Well, I also mentioned that Astoria was the location for the classic 80’s film The Goonies.

On Thursday my oldest friend Zach came to town, and Zach has been a huge fan of The Goonies for most of his life, so he and I set out for Astoria again without Meghan or the kids, just the two of us.

Astoria is a truly beautiful town, and I feel like I didn’t do enough to showcase that in the videos I made there last week. It’s old and charming and quaint and feels coastal even though it technically stands next to a river and not the ocean.

It’s got history not only as a trading town and a shipping port, but for many decades as a film location where Hollywood has shot countless classic films. And Kindergarten Cop.

As a result, there’s been a very conscious effort in Astoria not to change too much. They have all the modern amenities, of course, but there’s homes there that have clearly stood since the beginning of the twentieth century.

The jailhouse has been there for more than a century, and if it’s been converted from a correctional facility to a film museum, you can still smell the history in its walls.

The Flavel House, which was built by a wealthy ship captain in the 1800’s, is now a museum as well. In fact it served as the museum where Brand and Mikey’s dad worked in The Goonies.

And with a maritime museum down by the water, it’s entirely possible Astoria has more museums per square mile than any other town in the U.S.

Once we’d soaked in the history of Astoria, Zach and I were debating driving home. But then as we were driving through the town back towards the freeway that would have taken us south towards McMinnville, we saw the bridge that ran across the Columbia River and into Washington State. And so we decided to cross it.

I don’t exactly know how to explain the phenomenon that occurs when one hangs out with Zach. Weird things happen and you just sort of get sucked into adventures and if an opportunity to do something fun and interesting pops up, you almost always say yes.

So we crossed the massive, beautiful bridge, and then drove up the coastline for a while. We stopped beside the river and pulled out two freshwater oysters and broke them open looking for pearls. (Which we did not find, by the way).

Then we drove farther because I decided that, if we’d come this far, we should at least make it all the way to the ocean. It was a pretty long drive, much longer than I’d originally anticipated, but eventually we found it.

We came to an overlook above the shore, where the coast ran away for miles to the south, and the waves came crashing and roaring in, louder than I’d ever heard them before, and we watched the sun set.

Just around the next bend in the path we found a lighthouse that was more than 150 years old, so we took pictures of that. (Zach is very active on Instagram, by the way. I’ll put his Instagram in the description and you should follow him there—but not me, since I never post anything).

What was weird about this experience was that I’ve seen the ocean pretty regularly my whole life—most people in Los Angeles have—but this was the first time I’d ever understood people who feel pulled towards the ocean.

L.A.’s beaches never made me want to set out sailing across the Pacific, but Washington’s coast did, even though it was cold and rainy and looked far, far less forgiving.

And then we finally drove home. But since we hadn’t eaten dinner yet, we stopped in McMinnville and ate at the Hotel Oregon, before dropping in on the speakeasy bar in the basement, which is one of the coolest spots in the whole town.

There was live music there, two performers who were covering Michael Jackson and Leonard Cohen and a bunch of other artists in this tortured, crooning, guitar-and-sax combo that was just incredible.

In the end, it was a pretty typical day with Zach. But it was also the first REAL day off I’d had in forever—since days off with the kids don’t really count until they’re a little bit older.

And I was so, so grateful for the experience and the food and the many hours we spent on the road (all told, I think I drove for more than six hours) and I realized I need to go out on random adventures more often.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to end the video here, because I have to start trying to convince Zach to move here. Otherwise how can I keep going on adventures?

Thank you so much for watching, and I will see you tomorrow. Byyye.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at

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