The forecast looked bleak as we headed to Cannon Beach on Thursday morning. We were running out of days to spend in Oregon and neither of us wanted to miss out on seeing the Pacific Ocean, so we were going to the beach even with the risk of rain pouring on us the entire time! The highway was cloaked in a heavy fog and there was a steady drizzle. Not exactly sunny beach weather, but still beautiful in its own way. Somewhere in the middle, we made a quick stop at Sunset Coffee, a little roadside coffee shack. The daily specials happened to be Almond Joy and Macadamia Nut. Sarah went with Macadamia and I had the Almond Joy; just the caffeine buzz we needed! Did I mention that it was foggy? Because it was really foggy! We kept saying it looked like the Misty Mountains of middle-earth. The visibility wasn’t really that bad; everything just looked mystical. And very green — intensely green! There was moss growing even on top of the moss here. As we were driving through the woods, Sarah kept looking at the road map and exclaiming that we were almost to the ocean. There was a big build up, as if we were about to meet a famous celebrity. There really is something both terrifying and awe-inspiring about the ocean. It’s gorgeous, but it might devour you if you ever turn your back. The rain was gone before we reached Cannon Beach, leaving the sky a light gray that nearly matched the color of the ocean. We had brought along a couple of plastic baskets to use for holding beach-combed treasures. Some of the things we were looking for with the most intent were Japanese glass floats and uniquely twisted pieces of driftwood. Cannon Beach wasn’t overly crowded. The weather was nice and cool, with a slight mist blowing from the water as we walked along the shoreline. We made sure to arrive early so we could be there while the tide was at its lowest point. When we got to Haystack Rock, we encountered a vast assortment of sea-life. I tickled some anemone by mistake, thinking it was just some bright green plant. There was also a man who was pulling mussel shells off a rock and eating the mussels alive that were inside, straight out of them. We saw three different colors of starfish along the way, each of them in various tidal pools. On top of Haystack Rock, too, there was an enormous flock of pigeon guillemots, some seagulls, and a small band of puffins who were strutting their stuff. In the air, the puffins looked like little black footballs. And then we stumbled across this particular rock, all covered in barnacles and a swarm of other creatures: While combing the beach, there were a couple of instances when we nearly mistook a jellyfish for some kind of shiny glass. Glad we tried tapping them with our shoes first! It just so happened that all of these ended up being long dead anyway. We continued to meander around the beach for a few more hours. The incredible thing was that once we turned around and returned to the starting point, the rocks we had been walking on before were all completely covered with water. That’s why you always want to get there early on a shoreline like Cannon Beach. The ocean can sneak up on you a lot more quickly than you might think! We left the beach happy, complete with soggy shoes and salty ocean hair. It would be difficult to leave the ocean that morning, especially knowing that we would be returning later on that week to a completely landlocked state. The only thing that convinced us to drive away for a bit was the lure of freshly-caught fish and chips at Bowpicker, the legendary food boat up the coastline in Astoria. Expect a line when you arrive at Bowpicker, and show up early if you actually want to eat any fish! Once they run out, they close up for the day. Their albacore tuna, freshly battered and served with a side of chips, is more than worth the wait. The ladies running the kitchen are friendly and genial. They only accept cash and the menu is simple: full or half order with a side of fries. The full order is $10. We asked for two full orders and neither of us had any trouble devouring every last piece. The tuna is thicker and meatier than most fish, closer to chicken in texture. Bowpicker must switch out their oil frequently, because everything tasted so fresh. There are a few picnic tables to sit at while you eat. There, you can watch the ever-growing line and gloat, knowing that you already have your food!
After lunch, we explored the shops and neighborhoods in Astoria. There were a few eye-catching antique shops and a Bosnian restaurant that looked interesting.
Of course, we also had to visit the Goonies house! It would be amazing to visit Astoria for the 25th anniversary Goonies Fest next year. The house, of course, has changed a bit since the movie. Notice that they have removed the impractical fence and they replaced the screen door since the last time Data smashed through the mesh.
Crazy as it may seem, we were not the only people posing in front of the house. Several other carloads of people stopped for pictures. One mom was there with her own mother and kids, all of whom were clueless as to who the Goonies were, but she was still ecstatically taking selfies in front of the house. We left Astoria and headed back to Portland our shoes still slightly damp from the beach. Sarah said that her sloshing wet sneakers made her feel like a kid. On the way back, we stopped in Beaverton to check out the smaller Powell’s location. This one is part of a mall and the atmosphere is very different. Still, we both left with books. For dinner (a rather late one at 10:30, but our stomachs still fared well) we swung by the other Bollywood Theater location and picked up some terrific paneer Kati rolls and papadums with a few chutney varieties.