A (Partial) Tour of the West Coast, Vol. 3: Tillamook Cheese and Cannon Beach
The third leg of our trip was a little less exciting than the first two. Driving up 101 from Southern Oregon to Northern Oregon was a long, long day. It was beautiful – watching the coast creep up on our left side. You’d come around a big turn in the woods and suddenly find yourself staring at the ocean.
It was a beautiful day but was a long, long day. The speed limit changed constantly, RV’s refused to use the turnouts, and the coast road zigged and zagged relentlessly. I was really happy when we stopped for the day!
Something interesting I noted about the Oregon coast: I have never seen so many road signs in my life. They were everywhere. They let you know about anything and every little thing coming up and they tell you repeatedly. Slides. Slides coming up. Rocks. Rocks coming up. Turnout. Turnout coming up. Elk. Although we must have seen 100 elk signs on our drive, we never saw a single elk. Here at home in California, they may or may not put up a sign to let you know these things, and I’m fairly certain that sign might just say “Good Luck”.
Tillamook Cheese Factory, Tillamook, Oregon
The one major stop we made on this leg of the trip was at the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Oregon. This is where the magic happens!!! We love all things Tillamook at CPM! Ice cream, cheese, yogurt – it’s all the best of the best. If it’s Tillamook, we’ll buy it.
The factory was not running since it was Sunday, except for two guys packaging up 40 pound blocks of cheese. Even if the factory is not running, you can still see all the insides of the factory, and signage and TV’s throughout will tell you all about Tillamook, its process and its history.
You can go to their ice cream shop, which smelled incredible. You can eat at their café. You can get free cheese! This is the best sample line ever. There are 5-6 kinds of cubed cheese and fresh toothpicks for each. I was surprised to find out that they made a smoked cheddar, which was very good. We also tried their black pepper and garlic smoked cheese, while it was good cheese, it didn’t have much smoke flavor.
I could have spent a small fortune in the Tillamook Cheese Shop. I wanted a bigger trunk and a bigger cooler but I didn’t have these things, so I had to go small. In their gift shop, you can buy every kind of cheese, ice cream and yogurt that they make. You can buy souvenirs, artisan foods, beer and wine.
And you can buy cheese curds. I’m not sure what it is about cheese curds, but they’re like cheese drugs. I was hoarding the cheese curds like a junkie, handing out 1-2 at a time, and reminding everyone that the bag of cheese curds is the only bag we get. Sadly, Tillamook does not sell these in any store except the factory.
Hallmark Resort, Cannon Beach, Oregon
This was a splurge. Even with my AAA discount. But it was soooooo nice. The Hallmark Resort looks directly over Haystack rock (anyone seen Goonies? Haystack rock was a filming area.) You can only get closer to the beach if you sleep directly on the beach.
Our room was really nice, everything was clean and comfortable. It had a mini fridge, microwave, and fireplace that we could light with just the flick of a button. We slept with our slider open and fell asleep to the sounds of the ocean. We were surprised to find out when we checked in that each room has a DVD player and Hallmark lends out DVD’s to their guests. They had a nice area where you can buy snacks and wine, borrow movies and use their computer and printer. They also have complimentary fresh baked cookies in the lobby, treats for dogs, a small laundry facility, a pool, hot tub and sauna. Down in the beach are they have chairs for you to use and a beach volleyball area.
At the end of the evening, employees came down to the beach and lit campfires for guests. There must have been 20+ campfires burning on the beach that night – and these are just the ones we could see.
We really didn’t want to go out to dinner that night, so we enjoyed some leftover snacks from the car, along with some of the cheese we bought in Tillamook, and what remained of our growler from Lost Coast. A simple night and another beautiful beach sunset.
More vacation fun to come!