All road trips begin with the when, where, who, and how and our trip through the Pacific Northwest wasn’t an exception. Riding down the Pacific Northwest coast has been at the top of my list, plus, my favorite moto-couple/photographer duo, Jenny and Mike Linquist, live in Seattle, where they run a cool motorcycle luggage brand. It was a no-brainer for me to head up to Seattle and ask them to join me on this trip.
Our first stop (that wasn’t a gas station) was the Bay Center / Willapa Bay KOA Journey. This place was tucked away in a lovely, small town of Bay Center. While we weren’t able to stay the night here, Iris, who greeted us, was nice enough to let us hang out at the yurt to relax and dry off (we were soaking wet from all the rain!) I’ve never been in a yurt, let alone stayed the night in one, so although it was a short stay, it was a ton of fun unwinding with friends here.
As we were riding into the Bay Center KOA, we noticed a half sunken ship on one of the small docks on the side of the road. We had no idea what it was, but it turns out the ship used to be a South Pole research expedition vessel called the Hero, from the 1960s. This boat was bought by a private owner who had the intention of turning it into a museum but the ship sunk due to a storm just four months ago. What an experience to add to our trip!
Bay Center is a big oyster town, since most of the state's oysters come from Willapa Bay, so what better thing to do than to head into the local bar/restaurant and get some oyster shots and super-sized burgers? Dock Of The Bay is a cozy bar/restaurant that's just up the street from the KOA property, so it was super convenient. Hanging out here gave us a chance to fill our stomachs, dry off, wait for the rain storm to pass, and catch up with each other while enjoying the local flavor.
The Astoria-Megler Bridge is a majestic 4.1-mile steel cantilever truss bridge that spans the Columbia River between Astoria, Oregon (Goonies never say die!!!) and Point Ellice near Megler, Washington. It was such a treat to be able to ride through this. Fortunately, we had the pleasure of riding across this bridge multiple times. Riding into Astoria through the bridge is amazing because you get to stare into the beautiful town of Astoria for 4 miles of bliss, and then riding out of the Astoria is beautiful because you see the endless span of green forest that cover Washington. It’s a win-win experience.
Next stop was the Astoria / Warrenton / Seaside KOA Resort. Yes, I said resort. This place was like the Disneyland of all campgrounds. I was surprised at how big this place was and that it had so many different facilities. We spent two night here in a cozy wooden cabin, which was covered with and surrounded in lush, green moss. The cabin was tuck away in a peaceful, wooded part of the campground, hidden far from the bustling campground environment, which featured indoor/outdoor swimming pools, a huge playground area with a jumping pillow, a dog park, and more. Our cabin almost felt like a hobbit hole, so what more could we ask?
One of our main reasons or riding down this way was to come ride on the so-called "World's Longest Driveable Beach" in the appropriately named town of Long Beach. Despite what the entry sign says, this actually isn’t the longest beach in the world, but it is pretty dang long, with 28 miles of continuous, drivable beach. Mike Linquist hauled his dirt bike all the way out here just for the purpose of riding on this beach. How often do you get to ride your bike on a beach? Fortunately, the skies had cleared by this point and it was a beautiful moment on the shore. Let’s just say that we had a lot of fun.
I've never had a bonfire on a beach, so I was determined to make it happen on this trip... but it had been raining almost the entire time, and my hopes were low. Later into our final evening, the weather finally started to clear, and fortunately, right across the street from the Astoria KOA was Fort Stevens State Park, which featured a beach with a(nother) shipwreck. We loaded up on firewood, picked up some drinks, sausages and smores ingredients, and headed to the shore to enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest sunset. Bucket list: Checked.
We heard about an awesome fish & chips place in Astoria called Bowpicker Fish and Chips. We were told it was on a boat, which seemed wild... until we found out that the boat was parked on a land-parking lot! We were assured that the boat is still sail registered, just in case. The long line seemed to indicate delicious food. After 40 minutes of waiting, we finally got to see what all the hype was about... and it definitely lived up to expectations.
Our final destination before heading home was Fort Columbia State Park, a historic coastal military defense site constructed between 1896 and 1903. This is located just next to the entry to the Astoria Megler Bridge, on the Washington side, so it was an easy stop on our way back north. No better way to end the trip with a nice little history lesson!