Oregon 2014: Coastal Cruising II – Seaside to Cheese-side

You know it’s been a good day when you’re having trouble remembering the billion things that happened during it. Allow me to dive in and let my memory jog itself!

I worried about not waking up until 8:00, but that didn’t stop me from hitting everything on today’s list and more! The day began with an impromptu journey to Astoria, about 25 minutes north of Seaside. While I had initially intended to skip it, I couldn’t be happier that I made the journey. Astoria’s personality is much older, more historical, and more “nautical-industrial” than that of Seaside. Highlights of the trip include the Astoria Column and the house from the 1985 masterpiece “The Goonies”, which I made an effort to cheerfully truffle-shuffle towards. Yes, if there’s something nerdy within a 50-mile radius, I must do it at all costs. The house is privately owned, so I felt like an extreme creeper snapping photos of it so closely. Photos are allowed, however, so the owners must like weirdos.

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After my dork moment, I headed back down south for the Ecola State Park region. While I did attempt to have a short hike, it was a little too muddy, so I took the lazy route and drove to Indian Beach. Rest assured, the mud will be back in the story. Anyway, pictures do more justice than my lame words ever could, so here are a couple views of Ecola/Indian Beach!

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I didn’t save any of the “beach” for some reason, but I thought this part was rad!

Now, just to fully christen my Oregon Coast experience, I had to visit Cannon Beach. The town itself is actually really cool looking – very green with a ton of small, wooden Cape Cod-esque architecture. I would have happily stayed there. Haystack Rock, the giant rock in the middle of Cannon Beach, is just that – a giant rock. There is something pretty magnificent about it, though:

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Maybe because it’s not just a giant rock, but a giant rock with a hole in it!

Now, as you can probably tell, distractions abound when you’re driving down the Oregon Coast – which I trollingly refer to as “the OC”. There are so many beautiful beaches, sites, and towns, that it’s hard to get too far without spending the whole day exhausting your camera or phone battery with picture taking. This isn’t a bad thing, but it was almost 3:00 pm by the time I got to Tillamook, where my beloved cheese and ice cream awaited me!

But believe it or not, the greatest thing about my Tillamook journey was not the actual cheese factory itself, but the incredible Air Museum that I completely stumbled upon while trying to find the Tillamook Cheese Factory! For those of you who aren’t aware, I am in the process of getting my private pilot’s license and have had a growing fascination with aviation these days, so how I didn’t know about this astounds me! The Air Museum is an enormous hangar built in the 1940s during WWII and is a former military blimp hangar. It even contains pieces of the Hindenburg, which was awesome to see. Due to its sheer size and the incredible pieces of aircraft it houses, it is one of the few things I’ve seen in my life that truly intimated me with awe. I won’t nerd out too much here, but here’s an example of an old plane housed there. Pretty awesome.

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Subsequent to this marvelous experience, finding the Cheese Factory was more of an ordeal than I’m willing to admit, lol. I will say this: Apple maps works about 98% of the time, but do not discount that 2%. While my idiocy is more than likely the root cause for me not finding it, I swear they have the address wrong in there, dang it!

In any event, the Cheese Factory was so-so, quite honestly. It was cool to see the cheese being made, particularly because you don’t often see a true “factory” in action anymore. Moreover, I was more than thankful for a few tidbits of free cheese, as I was on the verge of passing out by the time I finally got there. However, the museum itself is fairly small and there’s nothing really interactive or engaging about it other than what I mentioned. My lunch consisted of ice cream, which was, I’ll admit, EXTREMELY good. 🙂

After Tillamook, I made my way over to Cape Lookout, which had been recommended to me by my bartender friend in Portland. This was by far the “dessert” of the day. Huge Sitka spruces, cascades against obsidian-like cliffs, and glassy sand make this little sand spit a total 10 in my book. Naturally, I got excited when I saw it. Maybe a little too excited. I was halfway down a small hill to get to the beach when suddenly, WOOP!–oh, hello, ground!

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Pleased with the comedy skit they witnessed, a young couple with a dog gave me a mini-ovation, to which I rightfully bowed. Much to another hipster couple’s amusement, I proceeded to sit in the middle of a “river” dividing two sections of beach to wash up. But it gets better. After I fangirl’d the heck out of the place and took the pictures below, I figured it would be appropriate to head back. I must have missed my original entrance though, because I literally had to wade through uncharted territory to get back to my car. While I may have fallen into a few marsh pits and I might be sporting a few scratches and bruises, I’m clearly alive. And that, my friends, means it was a perfect day.

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On the way back, I made a few scenic stops to take photos (see Flickr) and landed at a bar in Manzanita for some good old fashioned pub grub. While the bartender looked a little amused at my drink choice (Earl Grey tea), she was extremely warm and friendly like almost everyone I met while hear. It was cool to be there because it was clearly a local place and the food wasn’t bad at all. My cheese pizza was pretty gourmet! Truly, I had never seen a bar who made their own pizza crust and sauce, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Alright, I’m beat. While writing may be significantly less strenuous than everything else I’ve done today, it is mentally taxing. After all, my aim is always to write something that will both entertain and inform you, my fair Readership! That being said, please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for the Coast, as I experienced a LOT of it today and consider myself at least a yellow belt in it at this point. 🙂

Take care and sweet dreams!

– H

Thought of the day: It’s not a real adventure until you get a little muddy.

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