Archives for posts with tag: Tillamook

I’m back from my fourth consecutive fall visit to Oregon. Like anyplace you’re revisiting, you return to some of the places you love and you find new adventures. And you learn, you always learn.

This was actually my fifth trip along the coast so I was constantly remembering, comparing, absorbing the differences. Before I left on the trip, I read the most frightening article in the New York Times on the Pacific Northwest being 100 years overdue for the plates to shift and the whole coast to fall into the ocean. Well, I summarize my horror to the extreme, but it did give me room for pause. Was I ready to be wiped off the earth on vacation? I took a deep breath and pushed on. Don’t laugh – it’s true and frightening, but I guess we all live with possible end of our world visions, no matter where we live. The earth may revolt and take us all, according to scientists, epic movies and all the predictors of the end who went before us. Oh well, can’t sit home and wait for it – must venture out there before we’re all gone.

Here are some of the things I spotted this time…

We took the long way, going along the northern coast. Our first stop was after we crossed the Lewis & Clark Bridge in Longview, Washington to catch the view of the mighty Columbia River with all its ships and ports, winding west to the Pacific.

DSC_0046DSC_0044 DSC_0042The last times I’d been this way, my views had been limited by rain and this time, the rain stopped for us to get our first view of the river. We wound along Highway 30, noting that there was more fall color in the forests than we’d seen before at this time of year. The drought was taking its toll. Our first place to visit was the town of Astoria, one of the most charming cities ever, even if it’s built on hills that rival Seattle and San Francisco and make me wonder what kind of mountain goat ancestors we had to pioneer this country.DSC_0059We ate a splendid lunch of Salmon fish & chips by the docks, then drove around town, admiring some of the wonderful buildings, including this beautiful old theatre. I love the old theaters I see around the country, imagining them when they were movie palaces unlike the commercial boxes we have today.DSC_0060I had to revisit the Astoria Column, which I’m glad I saw last year since it’s under renovation this year. Here are the two years…DSC_1416DSC_0062The scaffolding was impressive and the views as incredible as I remembered. DSC_0063DSC_0070I can only marvel at Lewis & Clark hugging the Washington side of the Columbia in their little boats while I’m watching huge freighters that look like toy boats today. Someday I want to do a whole Lewis & Clark trip in this area with so much to learn and see. Here’s information on the column to ponder.IMG_8098We had to move along this time, so we hurried on down Highway 101, which is a joke because it’s a narrow road that twists and turns and was busy on Friday afternoon. Our next must stop was Cannon Beach because I absolutely cannot get enough of this beautiful place. Some natives say it is too commercial now because they remember being able to drive right onto the beach not so long ago and now it’s lined with homes and rental properties. It still amazes and the homes don’t bother me. It’s an amazing beach in a coast of amazing beaches. DSC_0092Our next stop was in Tillamook, which we reached right before Tillamook Cheese Factory closed, just in time to grab some wonderful Tillamook ice cream. I had Oregon Hazelnut & Salted Carmel, which was as good as it sounds and as creamy as the wonderful ice cream is. The town is surrounded by the dairy farms that are part of the coop and I began to call the cows my ice cream cows even though they also deliver the wonderful cheeses I also enjoy.DSC_1389IMG_8239The town of Tillamook has also embraced the quilt trail idea and is home to 100 quilt squares, found on buildings in town and surrounding farms. Another thing to do next time is take the Tillamook Quilt Trail. So much to do. DSC_0115I’ve been both north and south on Highway 101 and I notice different things as I go different directions. This made me smile out in the middle of nowhere in particular.IMG_8245Sometimes you have a moment of deja vu. We pulled over in a scenic outlook and I realized I had stopped here in 2009, my first trip up this coast. This rock wall triggered the memory. DSC_0113Enough travels for today, ending with the sign by the wall. Hmmm.DSC_0108

It was hard to leave the central coast of Oregon but time to come back.  I never tire of watching the waves crash around me, so we went up the coast to get back to Portland this time.  One more look at crashing waves, please.DSC_0441 DSC_0418We drove up the coast, leaving Highway 101 to hit the coast drive to Cape Kiwanda…DSC_1330 and Cape Lookout, both with their views and beach warning signs.  Believe me, I wasn’t planning on going off any cliffs.DSC_1337The final Cape was Cape Meares, which was the most delightful of all.   Besides the views…DSC_1344there was the Octopus Tree, a 300 year old Sitka Spruce tree that fits into my memorable trees collection.DSC_1350And the shortest lighthouse, at 38 feet, on the coast.DSC_1363My tour was interesting, giving me insight into the life and work of the lighthouse men of our past.  Not an easy job.  This one had the original glass for the clear sections, beautiful in the sunshine.DSC_1374 DSC_1375We headed back to Highway 101, stopping in Tillamook, where barn quilts decorate buildings all over town.  I wasn’t familiar with this until this summer, so now I’m looking for them when I travel.  Here are a few I saw.DSC_1381 DSC_1382 DSC_1385I can’t go to Oregon without getting Tillamook Ice Cream, the creamiest ever.  Besides they have wonderful flavors like Marionberry Pie and Huckleberry.  Tillamook Cheese is a destination, a farmers’ co-op where you can watch the cheese being made, shop and eat, tasting all the flavors of ice cream, milk and cheese.  I can get the cheese at home, but not the ice cream!  I always have to stop, joining the crowds who share my passion.DSC_1389Our next stop was at one of the amazing beaches in the world, Cannon Beach, home of Haystack Rock.  On this particular day, it was sunny and warm.  People were sunbathing in Oregon in October.  I had to stop at both ends of the beach for the beautiful views of the rock.  Here’s looking from the south to north.  DSC_1390And north to south with the rock shining in the late afternoon sun.  You can’t imagine how big this thing is.  And how big the beach is.  Incredibly beautiful.  And fun.DSC_1399I got a clear shot of Tillamook Lighthouse, perched on its lonely, dangerous rock, from the beach, looking north.DSC_1402Although I could have dawdled all day on the beach, we were trying to reach Astoria by dark, so we headed north.  It was late in the day, but we were able to go to the top of the hill where the Astoria Column, concrete carved with the history of the region, sits.  I was too tired to climb the 168 steps to the top, but the views from below were incredible and the column is an incredible piece of art.DSC_1416Looking towards Astoria, you see the bridge that takes you from Oregon to Washington, and you feel chills thinking of the Lewis & Clark expedition charting these waters.  Looking to the view, where the mighty Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean is breathtaking in its importance.  DSC_1410On the other side of the hill, the Youngs River and the Lewis & Clark River enter Youngs Bay before joining the Columbia.  DSC_1428The charming city of Astoria is the oldest settlement in America west of the Rockies.  I’ll return for more.  I did love the trash cans in Astoria, symbolic of one of the major industries of the area.DSC_1435We headed east to Portland, leaving the coast behind us.  The next day, we went into Portland for the underground tour, which was very little underground, but a lot of colorful history of the wild and wooly days of early Portland.  Very fun.DSC_1440I’ve been to Portland various times in the past five years, enjoying the diversity and casualness of this beautiful city.  We had a wonderful tea and late lunch in one of the few Chinese restaurants left in Chinatown.  DSC_1441DSC_1448I really wanted the Hung Farlow to still be open, but they are saving the sign.  DSC_1443Portland has the signs saying “Keep Portland Weird,” just as Austin has signs that beg us to “Keep Austin Weird.”  I’m thinking “weird” is just a word for being open to everything.  There were more homeless than I remembered from my last visit, but just as many colorful people, trying to be as weird as possible or to fit in however they can.  It’s part of the charm really.   We finished our tour and joined local friends for a fun Thai dinner, watching the sport of Sepak Takraw, a combination of hackey sack and volleyball, on the television.  DSC_1462We’d passed the famous Voodoo doughnut place on our tour, but stopped at the second location on the other side of the river to stock up on the notorious doughnuts.  We HAD to have this Portland experience and included one Voodoo man doughnut in our box for fun.DSC_1458 DSC_1480The next day, our final day in Oregon, we traveled to Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood.  It was a beautiful day, warm even at 6,000 feet, and the views were spectacular.DSC_1485DSC_1492Timberline is an old WPA lodge and everything inside is hand made from local materials, including the furniture, drapes, hand wrought iron, carvings.  The building, used in the opening shots of “The Shining,” is a tribute to the craftsmen and women who worked in the program, not only grateful for jobs during the depression but showing deep pride in their creations.  It was a total delight.  The six-sided fireplace, made of local rocks, runs up through the three stories of the main lobby, with three fireplaces on two levels.DSC_1514I loved the scenes carved in linoleum on the walls of a meeting room.DSC_1504The views of Mt Jefferson and Mt St Helens in the distance were lovely.DSC_1527And the mists over the hills gave us the layers of blue against the clear sky.  DSC_1532The top of Mt Hood was rocky, but they continue to manicure the dusty snow for the skiers we passed coming and going up the mountain.DSC_1519Our Oregon trip ended with meals with friends before we headed back to Oklahoma the next day.  This Okie left with more lovely Oregon memories to fill my senses.  Okie in Oregon.  That’s me.


It’s one of the coldest days in a too warm winter and all I can think about is ice cream.  That’s another one of those foods I’d have to have on a desert island…probably the one that would make me happiest.

I wish I could write something really brilliant about ice creams or compare different gourmet brands or do something worthwhile with this rambling, but I’m just thinking about ice cream. I’m not too particular about brands, although I know the cheapest kinds sometimes aren’t so good.  I love homemade and Braum’s and Blue Bell and all the expensive kinds and I like different flavors, although I tend to go with basics.  You still can’t beat a vanilla cone.  I even like the soft kind from McDonalds or Sonic and the best is still Dairy Queen…in fact, a chocolate dip cone is pretty much the ultimate.

The best I’ve ever had is Tillamook out of Oregon.  It’s creamy and tastes like the Tillamook co-op folks just milked the cows.  The Huckleberry is awesome.  Wish we had it here.  Maybe not…I’d be there all the time, I’m afraid.

What’s there to say?  It’s delicious and fun and makes you feel good.  Ice cream is an experience that cools the body and warms the heart.  It’s fun if you’re alone or if it’s shared.  It screams party and festivity.  Nothing is better than ice cream when you’re traveling because I just guarantee that there are no calories in it when you’re out of town.  It’s got to be true.

Nothing strips away the years and takes you back to being a kid like an ice cream cone.  You can’t eat it with grace.  You have to become young again, although most of us do acquire the skill to eat it without wearing it.  If you’re down, ice cream will bring out a smile.  If someone is glum, give them ice cream.  My cure for what ills you.

I scream.  You scream.  We all scream for ice cream.  Says it all.