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Friday, September 12, 2014

Northern Oregon

Good morning from Tillamook, Oregon!  We're still here at the Tillamook/Bay City RV park but will be moving on tomorrow. Wednesday, we toured the Tillamook Cheese Factory, that was very enlightening and interesting. The cheese factory is on US Hwy 101 in downtown Tillamook and can't be missed as there is a big boat in front of the factory. The tour is self guided that takes you on an overhead view of the complete cheese manufacturing process from milk to the product ready to ship. The plant uses over 1.7 million pounds of milk every day and produces about 167,000 pounds of cheese daily. An unusual aspect of the cheese factory is that it is farmer owned.  After the tour we  were able to sample the different varieties of cheese they produce. My favorite was the mild and sharp cheddar. The mild is their biggest seller. From the cheese factory we ventured out to the coastal area to do some sightseeing and see what we could find. We came upon a quaint little town of Oceanside that is right on the ocean. The area is very scenic with a beautiful beach and large rocks in the ocean. One  strikingly different aspect about the west coast is that mountains and hills are adjacent to, and occasionally join the ocean, whereas on the east coast, all of the area adjacent to the ocean is flat. Quite a contrast to me.

Thursday we took a day trip north to explore the areas that we passed through on the way here but couldn't stop due to pulling the rig. This area is very scenic with beautiful beaches with  cliffs and rocky slopes that join the ocean. We also traveled to the seaside town of Astoria where the huge Columbia River empties in to the Pacific.

 Here are two more interesting tidbits I've learned that are unique to Oregon. There is a state law here that requires an attendant to pump your gas (or diesel). No self service here. They also have a state law prohibiting the use of handheld cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. Wish all states had this one. Btw, several folks have asked about fuel prices on the west coast. We paid as high as $4.39/gallon for diesel in Washington, and here in Oregon, it's running about $3.99. I'm sure California is going to be high too. Gas is about $.20/ gallon cheaper.

We're probably about halfway through our trip. We've been on the road almost 2 months and have put about 7,000 miles on the truck so far. Needless to say, we're having a wonderful time and know how blessed we are to be able to make this exciting journey. Stay tuned as we start the second half!

Our Camp Site here at Tillamook/Bay City RV Park

Pretty nice park and reasonable rates.

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Blocks of aged cheese headed to the slicing and packaging stations. Each block of cheese weighs about 40 pounds.

Here the cheese is sliced, weighed, and goes through machines to package and seal the cheese. Pretty impressive process.

Eight large vats containing milk that start the process of making cheese from milk.

Finished product

Al & Pat in the Tillamook VW

We had to try it too!

Scenic beach near Oceanside

Very pretty

Road leading into Oceanside

We seem to have a knack for happening upon weddings!

This section of beach could be mistaken for a beach on the east coast.

Won't find this on the east coast unless you go to New England.

Taken from a high overlook on US Highway 101.

Cannon Beach area. This rock is locally known as Haystack because it looks like one!

How would you like to have this for your front yard!

Statue of Lewis and Clark in downtown Seaside

Pretty flowers in Seaside

Astoria-Meggler Bridge that spans the Columbia River in Astoria. We crossed it and turned around and came back just for the view. It was 4 miles across the full span.

Local eatery in Astoria that sells fish n' chips. The food is prepared on board the little ship and customers walk up a set of steps to order and receive their food. Seemed to be very popular as there was a big crowd there. 

The Astoria Column that is built atop a 600 ft hill overlooking Astoria and the Columbia River. The column was built by the Great Northern Railroad as a memorial to Astoria's early settlers. There is a spiraling mural painted on the column depicting the early history of the region. There's a spiraling staircase inside leading to the observation tower on top. Pat and I climbed it. Pretty cool.

View from the top

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. It was built in the 1800's and was decommissioned in 1957. It's about a mile offshore.

Taken from an overlook in the Ecola State Park looking back towards Cannon Beach.

Quite impressive, Huh!

The Kralovics

The Cherrys

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