The drive to the coast from Portland is a scenic one – no major roads to get there & back quickly and it’s actually rather nice and a very different beach experience from many places on the east coast. A slow, meandering drive past farms and wineries, and then through the mountains of Tillamook Forest. Our destination was Tillamook Cheese Factory, but we also made a pit stop at Twin Rocks and Camp Meare to soak in the ocean.
Our first stop however, was to take a quick walk near the visitors center in Tillamook Forest.
What an absolutely beautiful facility, complete with bridge built over the Wilson river so you can access the trail network. Keith went up the fire tower which gave an idea of how forest fires were watched for in the early part of last century. While more technological solutions are used now, there are still a few areas in Oregon where they actively use these lookouts.
After a short walk in the forest, we were on to Tillamook. To me, being on the west coast equals Tillamook cheese. It’s a pretty fabulous tasting cheese and I got excited when I realized how close we were to the facility. Of course we had to take a tour! It’s not anything official, and given the crowds pre-tourist season, I see why that might be a logistics nightmare.
There was enough information around to give you an idea of what was being done, and I always find factory operations rather fascinating. I also loved the shirts they were wearing, with statements like: “Loaf conquers all” or “All you need is loaf”. Keith scored some fudge and we both had some rather delicious ice cream before making our way to the coast.
It also had the shortest lighthouse I have ever seen! There was a bird viewing area where some folks had setup telescopes with views of the featured birds – you don’t see that everywhere & it was a treat to see a few ‘up close’. Then it was a short walk to the cliffs to take in the beauty of the coast. This place is just stunning. I mean, really stunning. I’ve met a few people now that haven’t left the PNW, and while I know that could never be me – I can totally see why.