After breakfast, we set off to see the town of Astoria, where we saw one of the locals drive by in what appeared to be a 1932 Ford Sedan. We saw him numerous times throughout the day, apparently taxiing folks to and from the ship.
We continued on and saw this cute 1912 trolley, also known as “Old 300,” so we asked the gentlemen inside about it – for just $1, they would take us to the end of the line, down the entire Riverwalk. We paid the $2 and within a few minutes the trolley was full of other passengers.
The ride was delightful and probably the best money spent on the whole trip!
The two retired volunteers giving the commentary were just charming (wanna-be stand up comedians, actually), but they were also quite knowledgeable about not only the Port of Astoria, but the history of the area, Astoria bridge (4.3 miles in length) and pretty much anything else they were asked.
The end of the line was a delightful 4 mile ride, where the instructions were: “Those on the water side, stand up.” Once we were standing, we were told to grab the exposed handle of the seat back and move it to the other side – we would then be facing the other direction for the return. Then the non-water side did the same thing. SO quaint!
We rode back as far as downtown and proceeded to check out the town. It was a cute little downtown with lots of coffee houses and quaint old buildings.
It appeared that the downtown was vibrant, with plantings of flowers and very few ‘for rent’ signs.
The Astoria Column is also in Astoria, although we didn’t visit, but had a mini-reunion with one of our high school buddies. The Column is a 125-foot monolith atop Coxcomb Hill patterned after Trajan’s Column in Rome. Apparently the view from the top is well worth the 164-step, spiral stair trek, but I’ll never know…
When we got back to the ship we enjoyed watching folks return and even watched as some crew members brought on what appeared to be ice chests. We later heard the announcement that the chef had been to the fish market and ‘caught’ some fresh salmon, which would be served at the Terrace Grill for dinner. Count me in!
As soon as we sailed, we attended the lecture on “Alaska’s Glaciers & Ice: Origin, structure, movement, fate and effects of tide water glaciers” by Dr. John Palmisano – WOW – he packed a LOT of information about glaciers into 45 minutes!
Just as he was finishing, the captain announced that the helicopter was arriving to take the pilot off of the ship (due to the extremely choppy waters outside of the Port of Astoria, apparently it was safer for him to disembark via helicopter rather than the usual pilot boat).
The helicopter came in and began to hover, lowered the hook, the pilot was hooked on, they gave the signal and he was hoisted up and was safely inside the helicopter in about 30 seconds. It was just amazing to watch everyone do their jobs so efficiently and safely! (and yes the area had been roped off so no guest was anywhere near the activity).
After dinner, we retired early and got a good night’s sleep.