Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Astoria Stopover

September is usually a good month to fly north (or south) along Victor 27. Not so last week. We had to time our departure from Cable Airport (KCCB) to slide between storms passing through the Pacific Northwest, dodging clouds all the way. We are IFR capable, but the low freezing level kept us in clear air.


We stopped for fuel at Eureka/Arcata Airport (KACV) then pressed on to Siletz Bay Airport on the Oregon coast. We set up our tent, had dinner at the Side Door Cafe and settled in for a much needed rest. Even with George (our autopilot) back in operation, eight hours is a lot of flying for one day. As we slept, another storm hammered on our tent's roof.

The next morning brought a low overcast with about 5 mile visibility underneath. We hopped from airport to airport, making a go/no go decision as we passed each one. As we approached Astoria Airport (KAST) at the mouth of the Columbia River, the skies began to open up to welcome us.

Astoria is an easy fuel stop with a self-serve pump. It has good IFR approaches and long runways. The Flight Service Station from the 80's now houses the airport's FBO. But, as of May 2009, the wonderful little Runway Cafe is no longer serving good eats and strong coffee for weary traveler. It's part of the sad times for general aviation in these tough economic times. Hopefully, when things get better, they and other wonderful little "100 dollar hamburger" spots will reopen so we can re-fuel our tummies as well as our tanks.

Astoria is also a good overnight destination. We like the Shilo Inn (about 4 miles) for a quick stopover. When we want to get to town, we opt for the Red Lion on the city side of the bridge. From here you can walk the waterfront to several nice restaurants. Have a little more time and want to see the coast? You can rent a car with airport pickup and go to nearby Seaside. This quaint town has a nice Shilo Inn right on the water, restaurants and tourist shops. They have an airport of their own if you can handle a 2360' runway.

So, whether you are looking for fuel, a good meal, a place to rest or sightseeing, stop over in Astoria, Oregon. Lewis and Clark new a good place when they saw it. Plus, it gets two wings up from us.

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