The Week A Dream Came True – Traveling On The Oregon Film Trail!

Arriving art our first Airbnb.[80s movie buff, Kim Ward and fiancé, Anthony Klak.]
Being a huge 80’s movie fan – especially “The Goonies” and “Stand By Me” – it has long been a dream of mine to take a trip to Oregon and visit the towns of Astoria and Brownsville where some of my favorite movie scenes were filmed, and this year, after a lot of planning, that dream finally came true. After a nine-and-a-half-hour flight from London to Seattle, then a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Seattle we finally arrived in Astoria and were greeted by our first Airbnb host, Judith. She and her partner, John, own a beautiful cottage on Duane Steet, just down the street from the famous Goonies house. You can’t miss her place as she makes wonderfully colored decorations (that you can buy on Facebook ) that she has displayed in her front yard. As it was already quite late, we decided to catch a few ZZZ’s after our long journey and start exploring the town the following day. However, I found myself just laying there in awe, knowing that after so many years of dreaming about this trip and the fact that I was in the ‘Goondocks’, it took a while for me to get to sleep.

The following morning, I woke up early due to still being on UK time. We decided to go out for some breakfast and begin exploring Astoria. I had been given recommendations for places to eat so we took a short stroll over to Coffee Girl, which is located on the pier on 39th Street. I had a breakfast muffin and, being a girl from the UK, I had to try the US version of a ‘biscuit’, which I enjoyed, along with a large cappuccino. This became our staple breakfast for the 3 days that we were in Astoria.

Once our stomachs were full, we walked up to the “Kindergarten Cop” school as it was only 1 block away from our Airbnb. Being a massive movie fan, I had already downloaded the Setjetters app, which enables you to find movie locations and line up your own photo to recreate shots from your favorite movies, and I managed to capture three different shots by the school.

 

We then headed into town, where we visited the Oregon Film Museum. This was used in “The Goonies” as the jailhouse at the beginning of the movie, where Jake Fratelli breaks out of jail. It was cool walking around this, which was heavily focused on “The Goonies”, but also featured “Short Circuit”, “Kindergarten Cop”, and “Free Willy”, which were all filmed in Astoria, as well as “The Shining”, “Twilight”, “Point Break”, and not forgetting “Stand By Me”, which were all filmed in Oregon.

Throughout our trip through Oregon, it was fun finding the Oregon Film Trail signs. They were at various locations and provided great little nuggets of information about the scene filmed in that location. They also had ‘Did you know?’ facts that left us coming away knowing more. Finding these signs became our own version of the Goonies treasure hunt. If you are a movie fan like me, the Oregon Film Trail is a great way to travel through Oregon, whilst visiting your favorite movie locations.

The Oregon Film Museum and Jail House from The Goonies.

We then went around town with the Setjetter app, collecting more Goonies scenes. I particularly enjoyed recreating the ‘Chunk at the window’ scene, which was located at the Lower Columbia Bowl. We visited two awesome retro arcades whilst in town, Gizmo’s on Commercial Street, and Galactix on 9th Street. Both were really cool, and I even got to play “The Goonies” video game in Galactix. I wasn’t very good at it but loved it nonetheless. We headed back to the Airbnb to freshen up for the evening. I had been saving “The Goonies” house for last as I knew I would get emotional walking up the hill and seeing the house that I have watched in the movie so many times in front of me. I took a few deep breaths before pressing record on my phone so I could capture my first reactions.

Wow, what a house!! The tears started to come as this had been a dream of mine for many years. I took a few moments to take it all in. I had been talking to the new owner of the house, Behman Zakeri, on Instagram previously and he had kindly permitted me to go up onto the porch of the house…OMG!! I went up and had some photographs taken before coming back down the steps to the front of the house. My partner had placed his phone against the fence to get a picture of us both in front of the house, and then it happened…

The moment he proposed!

He then did the unthinkable – he got down on one knee and popped the question! I was in complete shock, with my hands over my face, and it took me a minute to actually utter the word ‘Yes’, but somehow, I did! The neighbors could see something was going on as I was crying, and my now fiancé was laughing. I lifted my hand to show them the ring, and then all I heard was screaming as they then rushed out to us with champagne, so we got another photo of us together on the porch.We were invited to have a tour inside the “Short Circuit house” by the owner, Richard Bates. The house is located on Hume Avenue. It was a bit of a steep walk up to it, but definitely worth it. A cool thing about this is that it’s also an Airbnb so you can actually stay in Stephanie’s house!

The Short Circuit house, Astoria

During our stay in Astoria, we visited the Inferno Lounge Bar, situated on 11th Street, where we had burgers and beers next to the Ocean, as well as the Astoria Brewing Company where we picked up a delicious iced coffee.

We moved on to Cannon Beach to get more Goonie location shots and collected some sand while we were there. We ate at the Wayfarer Lounge and were lucky enough to get a window seat overlooking the famous Haystack Rock, which is featured in a number of movies – “The Goonies”, “Twilight”, and “Point Break” to name a few. We then took a short drive to Ecola State Park, where we had the pleasure of seeing spectacular views of the beach and Oregon coastline. This was the location of the Fratelli’s hideaway, The Lighthouse Lounge, in “The Goonies”, and the carnival scene in “Kindergarten Cop”.

The Goonies signpost on the Oregon Film Trail at Ecola State Park
Using the SetJetters app on the Oregon Film Trail at Ecola State Park

Our next stop on the Oregon Film Trail was the small town of Brownsville, where the town scenes were shot in Rob Reiner’s adaptation of the Stephen King story ‘The Body’. “Stand By Me” is my all-time favourite movie so this leg of the trip was going to be an emotional one for me (as if the proposal wasn’t!). Our second Airbnb was hosted by the lovely Tricia at the Treetop Studio, located only a two-minute walk from downtown Brownsville. Once we had settled in and freshened up, we decided to go for food and drinks and ended up in the Brownsville Saloon. This is featured in the movie when Ace (Kiefer Sutherland) and Eyeball Chambers (Bradley Gregg) come out and take Gordie’s (Wil Wheaton) Yankees Cap. This was a great little bar and had a ‘real America’ vibe about it, not like some of the other more touristy places we had visited. We went there both evenings that we were in Brownsville, and enjoyed the great food and atmosphere there.

The next morning, I was up early, excited to go and recreate the local scenes. First up was where ‘Lardass’ took part in the blueberry pie eating contest. This was shot in Pioneer Park, a stone’s throw away from the Airbnb. We then took a two-minute walk to ‘Gordie’s’ house from the movie, which is located on Fisher St. The actual scene used in the movie was shot in the backyard, but as it is now private property, I didn’t want to intrude so I took a picture from the front of the house. We moved on to recreate many more of the scenes, including where the tree house once was, Gordie walking through Castle Rock, Teddy’s (Corey Feldman) house, and where Vern (Jerry O’Connell) found a penny. We stopped off for something to eat at Randy’s Main St Coffee, where I had a lovely Club Sandwich and a Coffee.

After our stomachs were full, we ventured over to the Linn County Historical Museum, nicknamed the Brownsville Pioneer Museum, where we learned about the local history of the Oregon Trail and how the town looked and worked. They had a section in there dedicated to the making of “Stand By Me”, which was awesome! After our two-day visit, it was time to move on again and say goodbye to this great little town.

Oregon Film Trail – the Stand By Me sign at the Brownsville Pioneer Museum
Mosby Creek Trailhead Bridge, Oregon

Our next stop was a 49-mile trip south of Brownsville to Mosby Creek Trailhead. This was the location for the bridge at the start of the boy’s journey in “Stand By Me”. The bridge itself looks very similar to the movie shot, just with the addition of an extra railing. The biggest change however is that it is no longer a railroad – the tracks have been removed and it’s now part of the Row River National Recreational Trail. As it was raining heavily, we only stayed at this location for a quick couple of photos before we carried on with our journey south to Fall River Mills, North CA.

 

 

 

 

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Our view driving from Oregon into California – snowier than expected!

Now, in my head when you think of California you think of sunshine and beaches. However, the nearer we got to our destination the more snow we found ourselves in the middle of! For the last 50 miles or so we were traveling at a snail’s pace in heavy snow!

Our third Airbnb – Mott’s Cottage, owned by Natalie and her family – was located on their ranch. This is definitely a hidden gem. The views of Mount Shasta from our cottage were so beautiful. We braved the snow again to go into nearby MacArthur for a pizza at the Old Merc, which was so good! I would definitely recommend trying it if you get the chance.

The following day we got up early and headed straight to the big trestle bridge located at 111 Bridge Way, Burney, CA. The trestle goes over Lake Britton and is part of the Great Shasta Rail Trail. Wow! I finally made it! The trestle bridge has been barricaded up either side, but fans have easily got past. Obviously, it has been put there for good reason so enter at your own risk as the wood isn’t at its best. Along the whole trip I took my Funko pop figures, including my custom Stand by Me pops, and used them for photo props. I had been worried as that morning the weather wasn’t great (raining again!), but the moment we got to the bridge the clouds parted and the sun came out. Of course, whilst there I acted put scenes by standing on the bridge and shouting from the top of my lungs “TRAIN!!!!”, which felt amazing.

The trestle bridge where the classic Stand By Me train scene was filmed (California)

Whilst in Burney we decided to visit The MacArthur State Park to see Burney Falls. All I can say is wow, and for me this is the 8th wonder of the world. This was truly something spectacular to see up close and in person. We took a picnic and though the sun had gone back in we still found a nice little spot under cover to eat before heading back to the ranch for an early night before the nine-and-a-half-hour drive back up to Seattle the following day.

We had planned our long trip wisely, incorporating two food and fuel stops along the way, before we finally arrived at our final Airbnb located on Burien, WA. Our host Jason was brilliant and had sent us some recommendations for things for us to do in Seattle for the few hours we were there before heading to the airport. We visited the Space Needle to take in the spectacular views of the city, and then went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, which is right next door to the Space Needle. You could book the two together for around $67.50 and both are definitely worth visiting if you are ever in Seattle.

This trip has been everything I wished for and more to me. Oregon is such a beautiful part of the world, and being the home of some of my favourite movies it was an amazing experience. I’m definitely planning on returning one day, and really hoping to attend the Stand By Me Day for the 40th anniversary in 2026. If not, I’m blessed that I was able to fulfill this lifetime long dream, and would recommend it to any 80’s movie fan.

Kim Ward, @80smoviesgirl

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