A cheese-fueled second day in Oregon
Tilamook cheese and ice cream is made in their factory on the Oregon coast. In case I didn't already make it clear enough that this was my favorite place on earth, it should now be crystal clear.
This wasn't just any cheese factory though. While the main visitor center and tour were both closed, it was because they were renovating the visitor experience — the new building is going to look like some insanely glassy tech company campus, complete with glossy photography, and fantastic branding. Oh, and all in addition to all the freshest ice cream and cheese you could want to get your hands on. I got a bag of cheese curds for a road snack. Squeaky!
After waking up from an uncomfortable night's sleep in the Airbnb shed, and briefly admiring the view behind it, we popped to the Tillamook factory, had a nutritious breakfast of ice cream and cheese samples, and hit the road for another day of beautiful sunshine driving along the Pacific Coast Highway.
The town of Tillamook was far less appealing in the daylight, and the extent to which the cheese factory was the only economy in the area was very obvious. Our second stop of the day was in a far more appealing area, called Garibaldi, a small fishing village on the coast, with a large white letter G on the hillside to mark its territory.
It was quite the idyllic scene, with fishermen enjoying their Sunday on their boats, leisurely bringing in their catches with heavy rock music blasting from speakers.
Lia was quite excited to see a flock of pelicans — her mum's favorite bird — sitting on a log in the bay, and it was beautiful watching them take off with their massive wingspans whenever a boat went past.
Scene fully observed, we pressed on along the coast, hitting fellow tourist traffic in each of the small seaside towns. When it wasn't going through civilization though, the views from the 101 were just spectacular.
We found our next stopping point, the sweetly named Hug Point, around a blind corner teeming with beachgoers. The small amount of official parking was stuffed to the gills, so I set about attempting to parallel park on a busy state road — a task made all the more easy by a surprise FaceTime call from Lia's entire family — and after three attempts, managed to squeeze the car into a tight spot. Feeling pleased with myself, and determined not to get sand between my toes, we headed down to the beach, me still clad in my sneakers.
Lia went off to explore while I hung back on the rocks to avoid getting sand in my shoes for the rest of the drive home. I don't like sand. It gets everywhere and is very uncomfortable. But I soon caved and headed toward the cave to explore with her. Still had my sneakers on though.
I was actually quite glad to have them on when we arrived at a rocky outcrop. Not only did they help with traction, but they prevented me from having to tread barefoot on thousands of million-year-old barnacles that clung to the rock. The view was unmissable — it looked like a beach out of Jurassic Park. Suffice to say, very old.
We'd already stayed later than I'd intended, knowing how long the drive home was likely to be. So we headed off, slickly un-parallel parking, scoffed some cheese curds, and queued the music — to sit in beachside traffic for the next hour.