Pre-road trip nod toward Astoria

As a small part of my upcoming week on the winding roads of the Great Northwest, I'm planning a visit to Astoria, Oregon - the first United States community established on the Pacific Coast. There's tons of history there that's of interest to me. Plus the folks at the Clatsop County Historical Society have been downright folksy and fabulous via email in prep for what I'm expecting will be my too-short visit there. So I'd be remiss if I didn't nod in their general direction today - the 201st Anniversary of Fort Astoria's founding. John Jacob Astor - the town's namesake and original keeper of the checkbook - maybe sounds vaguely familiar. Don't sweat it. Post-Revolutionary War tycoons don't often get the Steve Jobs treatment. Astor was nonetheless fascinating, and a seemingly boundless trove of juicy trivia. Smuggling opium, pushing for exploration throughout vast tracts of North America, buying up tons of what became Manhattan, and so much more on his way to dying in the mid-19th Century with what would be worth of well over $100 Billion in today's money. Even the Astor's footnotes are interesting. Case in point - his great grandson (John Jacob Astor IV) was probably the most famous victim on the Titanic. That's a rather roundabout way to get back to Astoria. Rather fitting, though - given the wacky route I'm planning for next week.