The Oregon coast was often rugged and winding, with steep drops off the highway… and boy was it beautiful. I admired the coastal trees, tall and strong against the nautical winds, and sometimes feared the thick fog that nearly forced us off the road. Between its natural richness and the quaint drive-thru coffee huts, the numerous marijuana dispensaries, the thrift stores, and the law against pumping your own gas, Oregon was indeed a memorable state.
The first town we stopped in was Seaside. We had a pretty good motel room within walking distance of the main strip, which ended at the beach. The street was narrow and had a bit of a carnival feel to it, especially at night with all the lights and people. There was an arcade and vintage bumper cars, as well as an indoor carousel amongst the shops and restaurants.
I was often looking for good clam chowder by then, and found a sandwich shop not far from the beach that made a nice hearty bowl of it. Then there were the candy shops, especially Schwietert’s Cones & Candy, that kept us busy for a little while. At the beach end of the strip, the street looped back around and in the middle of the loop was a statue commemorating Lewis and Clark’s “End of the Trail”. (In the early 19th century, Lewis and Clark were sent by President Jefferson to explore and map a new route to the Pacific Ocean, starting near St. Louis, Missouri.) All in all, Seaside was a lovely town with lots to see and some really good food.
On the way to our next stay, our GPS took us on a bit of a roundabout route through the hills and hidden pastures of Tillamook County before getting us back onto Route 101. In the end I was glad we had gone that way because it had given us the chance to see some of the farms that were part of the co-op that runs the Tillamook Cheese Factory, which we happened to drive by afterwards. We decided to stop in for lunch, and discovered how big the factory was: It had a cafe, a large ice cream counter, two gift shops, a dairy shop, an orange VW bus (painted to look like a loaf of cheddar), and an area that overlooked part of the factory itself that led out to a cheese-tasting station.
Milo’s not big into cheese, but the rest of us indulged in the tasty dairy. And since our visit to the factory, we’ve gotten a kick out of seeing Tillamook cheeses in grocery stores, and on our food trays on the plane to Hawaii.
The next place we stayed was Lincoln City, a town that extended for seven miles along the coast. We didn’t do much there except take a walk along the beach – it was already quite cool by the end of August – and enjoy a nice dinner at The Blackfish Cafe, one of the few good restaurants (much better than the gross Pig ‘N Pancake). Oh, and also had a giggle every time we passed by Red Cock Gifts (well I had a giggle, anyway). As we were leaving we saw a few glass-blowing studios and shops at the south end of the city, but I didn’t want to stop into them because I knew I’d want to buy something that wouldn’t fit into our luggage. So it goes.
Our next and final stop in Oregon was Coos Bay. There is enough to say about that town that it merits its own post… coming up next!