The Goondocks

I don’t know how you spent your weekend, but I spent part of mine in the sleepy little town of Goondocks.

The Goondocks, home to the events of The Goonies. Otherwise known as Astoria, Oregon.

If there were such a thing as a pilgrimage to Mecca for dorks who grew up in the ’80s, I’d personally make a strong case for this particular trip to be granted the honors. Memorizing passages of Richard Donner’s admittedly wretched kid-flick is a sort of rite of passage for us navel-gazing dopes who grew up in the Reagan era. So my trek to the Walsh homestead was a vaguely religious experience. Except that instead of kneeling in supplication to the place where a great prophet made proclamations, I took photos of the house where an asthmatic Samwise Gamgee grew up.

I probably should have taken a shot of Data’s house next door, but without the dangerous zip line connecting the homes the magic just wasn’t there.

I don’t appear in this photo because my girlfriend very sensibly stayed with the car at the foot of the hill as I slogged up through the drizzle and muck to behold a building to which I have no personal connection. Nevertheless my mouth was dry and my chest was tight as I reached the top of the incline, and not just because I need more exercise (it wasn’t that steep a climb); I was just intimidated to be standing in front of a house that I’ve seen on video far more times than I would care to admit. It’s a little bit embarrassing, honestly. Still, as proof that I do in fact have some sense of dignity, I didn’t actually do a Truffle Shuffle at the front gates.

One thing they didn’t mention in the movie is that the Walsh home is constantly under a barrage of booming sea lion cries.

Apparently the docks down the hill are a favorite for these guys. They’re totally huge, not to mention incredibly loud.

Elsewhere in town we tracked down some other Goonies landmarks, including the jail the Fratellis escape from…

…and the museum where Mikey’s father worked, which is handily across the street from the jail.

No sign of a vast network of underground caverns filled with traps, volcanoes, eskimos and Konamiman, alas.

And finally, a long-distance shot of the Walsh home. It’s a nice view that would probably be a little nicer without the cheap pre-fab mobile homes in the foreground. Oh progress, how you confound.

We had dinner at a fine restaurant in downtown Astoria by the name of The Silver Salmon. I’d actually rate it the worst food I ate the entire time I was in Oregon, but I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again. See, the Silver Salmon wasn’t bad; it was in fact very, very good. It’s just that all the other meals I had while in the Portland area rated somewhere on the other side of “mind-blowing,” so what would have been excellent under any other circumstances paled a bit.

I took the time to celebrate the Goonies legacy on the tablecloth, though. It’s even better than a tip.

I also paid tribute to Cyclopes the Kitten and tried to make my girlfriend feel guilty for being party to the murder of a gentle salmon. It’s a wonder the restaurant management didn’t send the police after me.

Sadly, my journey should have ended there but didn’t. As discouraging proof that shameless product placement works even 20 years after the fact, I made one final purchase before leaving town.

Oh well. At least Sloth would be proud of me.

P.S.: For old times’ sake, I’ve reposted my ancient “reviews” of The Goonies and The Goonies II. Hooray for Konami and the Goonies II!

7 thoughts on “The Goondocks

  1. Astoria is a nice place, along with most of the rest of the Oregon coast. Most recently, I’ve been back to Newport, which houses its own population of extremely load sea lions. And a lot of yummy slatwater taffy.


    Dammit, Parish, stop giving me the rose-colored fuzzies! I haven’t seen it in ages, but ‘The Goonies’ was a definite favorite of mine when I was a kid. Not enough TV shows do tributes where a hulking guy in a pirate costume turns into Superman. [makes a note]

    I’ll never get over the fact that the kid grew up to be Samwise. Jackson seems to have cottoned on to the fact that ’80s child stars make good cheap hobbits or something.

  3. Hahaha!
    I hope you mercilessly insulted every fat kid you saw in Astoria, because child obesity is hilarious. The Goonies would have wanted you to.
    Also, the county jail really is a dank, depressing hole.

  4. Wow. You seem to have recalled the missing pieces of my childhood. Now, if only you were Asian and could run around with slick shoes… placing booytraps and obstacle courses try recreate that scene. Was it good enough for you? (Excuse the terrible pun)

  5. I’ve never actually seen The Goonies (I know, I know), so I don’t get much out of these locations in particular–but having taken a trip to Twin Peaks (a.k.a. Snoqualmie/North Bend) last year, I can totally understand the sense of “Holy crap, I’ve stepped into a fictional universe!” It certainly sounds like it was an entertaining journey.

  6. As much as I love the Goonies, I’ll take the 15% over the tablecloth scrawling any day, Mr. Pink.

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