Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tillamook Oregon

August 25-27, 2014:

An early start out of Columbia River Rv Park around 8:45 AM as we are heading to a cheap campground in a popular area with no reservations, a recipe for trouble.  We are in rush hour traffic, something we normally avoid like the plague and it bites us.  It takes us about an hour to go the first 20 miles due to stop and go traffic on routes 5 and 26 due to an accident.  Once past the accident scene it is clear sailing, except that it is a very curvy, rough roller coaster ride across the mountains to the coast.  We pull into the "Port of Tillamook RV Park" located 2 miles south of Tillamook, Oregon to find only a couple of open sites, but they are good ones and we quickly set up.  At $10 a night we like it.  This is a dry camping site, there's not much to set up and we plan to only stay only 2 nights. 

View of the Tillamook Air Museum building

Tillamook movie theater has a new owner

Very cool Cow bench in downtown Tillamook

A "Donkey steam engine" used for logging in the old days

We immediately head to the major attraction here, the Tillamook Cheese factory.  They have an unbelievable (pure Genius) setup with a self guided tour of the plant from second floor observation windows overlooking the plant floor.  You can then sample their cheeses and then buy them and lots more at their attached store.  If you are hungry, they have a restaurant with a menu heavy on cheesy items and then an ice cream shop.  We split a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato on sourdough bread that was the best ever for me.  Everyone there (hundreds) were walking around with ice cream cones or dishes, near impossible to pass up on that, we didn't.

Tillamook Cheese

Blocks of cheese on the production floor

Tilly the cow mascot

Twinkles in the Baby Loaf truck

The other major attraction here is the coast.  We rode the "Three Capes Scenic Drive" stopping at Oceanside Beach State Recreation Site in the cute town of Oceanside for a beach walk.  It's a beautiful large sand beach with a rocky coastline and huge sea stacks in the ocean.  There was a tunnel cut through the rock on the coast that allowed you to get past the surf to the other side of beach.  Lots of people were searching for garnets there. 

Oceanside Beach area

There was a tunnel through this rock to the other side

The other side, there were people searching for Garnets

Then a few miles further north is Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint and Lighthouse.  The Lighthouse is the shortest lighthouse in Oregon at 38 feet tall, but sits on atop Cape Meares which puts it 217 feet above the sea.  It was built in 1887 and has a first order fresnel lens, hand ground in Paris that is visible for 21 miles.

A distorted view through the Lighthouse window

The Lighthouse lens

View from the trail which is level with the Lighthouse

A trail view along the coast

First order of the day was breakfast at the Tillamook Cheese factory, such a great place !  Then I am off to the Tillamook Air Museum which is in an original wood hanger that was built during WWII to house Blimps.  The Tillamook airport is adjacent to our campground and was one of the Blimp bases during the war years.  The building is all wood and is the largest wood building in the world, authenticated by the Guiness book of records.  It held eight Blimps inside, the photo of them in there is pretty incredible !  Originally there were two buildings, but one burnt down years ago.  The museum doesn't have a huge number of aircraft, or maybe they just look small in that building ?  They do have, no doubt about it, great exhibits, photos and memorabilia from the war years.

Photo of all eight Blimps inside the Hanger

A special airplane fabricated from two old airliners for the
transport of large vehicles and NASA 

The interior, the rear section is hinged and swings open

View inside the massive Museum Hanger

A 7/8th scale reproduction, that actually flies, of a WWI vintage bi-plane

Another vintage aircraft on display

Looks very complex !

A retired Vietnam and Iraq era fighter jet with lots of combat time 

Thirty some mission in Iraq for "Shooter Sanders"

After that, we needed to burn off some calories, too much cheese and ice cream intake lately, so we head for Cape Lookout State Park and the Cape trail.  The trail is 4.7 miles round trip and was one of the more unique trails we have ever done because of the fog and the wetness.  The trail goes out on a narrow spit of land to Cape Lookout where there is a great viewpoint.  We would be in the sun, out of the wind on one side of the spit, then a minute latter in dense, cold, windy, wet fog with water dripping from the trees on the other side of the spit.  Also you had to slog through mud, water and over tree roots for long sections.  It was a little wild and exciting, but the views when you would break out of the fog made it all worthwhile. 

View near start of the hike

Moments looked like this

Then mud, fog, cold wind and slippery tree roots

Then the sun would stream through again

I was keeping to the right

As over the edge, it drops straight down like this

The lichens are beautiful

Next stop is another hop down the coast to a Casino parking lot in Lincoln City, Oregon;

Twinkles and Slick 

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