The marine layer was just lifting as we unleashed the Eagle for part one of our Discovery Journey—the Three Cape Scenic Loop.
Cape Kiwanda was only accessible by hiking. We skipped it and explored Cape Lookout State Park. This ride was fun all the way down and back up again. We passed one trailhead on the way.
Everything else was oceanside—this area, another hiking trail and the campground.
Oceanside Beach State Recreation Site was made possible by donations of land, and money from local wealthy residents.
It is a beautiful little area with white sand beach, restrooms, and a view of Three Arch Rocks.
Beyond Oceanside the road led to the top of the ridge
to Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint overlooking the Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge. The parking lot is surrounded by info boards about the seabirds, lea lions, and seals often seen here. The lighthouse is accessed by either of two walkways.
The lighthouse stands 277’ above the ocean. Its 38’ tower is the shortest on the Oregon coast. The small building on the right houses a gift shop and the entrance to the lighthouse. We looked around but didn’t climb the tower. A tour was in progress and we didn’t want to wait for it to finish.
On both paths are several viewpoints. Going down we noticed this frog rock,
and this seabird nesting area.
All of that white is layers of bird poop.
Going back up we saw the north side of Three Arch Rocks and noticed two see-through holes.
From the parking lot there is another walk up to the restrooms and to Octopus Tree.
Eager to discover more cool stuff we had to see it. On the way we found hand tree.
Up top we discovered a cove hidden from view from the road which you can just see—that little light line just above the ocean.
We also found the Octopus Tree.
Cape Meares was the last stop on the Three Cape Scenic Loop. The rest of the road was closed, so we retraced our ride through Oceanside and discovered this lovely little sand island.
As we rode through the day we discovered that although the sun was out, it did little to keep us warm. The strong breeze that blew from the north all day was cold!
County Rd. 131 (also a very fun ride) took us inland to our next area of exploration—the town of Tillamook.
We discovered that Tillamook is surrounded by fields of corn which feed the cows on the dairy farms which also surround the town. The milk from those dairies (or creameries), is sent to the Tillamook Cheese factory. As we entered the tourable part of the facility—on the left—we discovered that it consisted of two floors. Inside the doors was a cafe, a gift shop and a place to buy ice cream made there. Further in was a seating area for a short film about the company. Info boards were everywhere explaining how the company was formed, how its business is conducted, how the factory operates, especially its efforts to be eco friendly.
When settlers first arrived in this area, they cleared trees, dug up the stumps and planted crops. They then discovered that the climate was too wet and cool for their crops, but it was perfect for growing grass. The dairy industry was born. Like Cabot Cheese in Vermont, Tillamook Cheese is a co-operative.
The second floor also has numerous info boards. There is no guided tour; instead there are observation windows. Here we watched a worker cut the cheese. I hear snickers.
Across the room the blocks were being wrapped. We wandered around reading information and watching proceedings then went downstairs to get in line to taste the cheeses. We got toothpicks and speared the little chunks. I liked the mild white cheddar’'; Duane liked the squeaky cheese which was basically curds and salt. Past the tasting area we discovered that we were in (wait for it) the room where we could buy large blocks of cheese! We restrained ourselves, and even bypassed the ice cream! (If you had seen the masses of people in line for ice cream—and there were two areas selling it—you would have declined it too.
Other things we discovered in Tillamook were a nice little hole-in-the –wall pizza place called Plaza Pizza (the only pizza place in town that we saw), this wonderful old concrete bridge,
and lots of these painted quilt blocks on buildings scattered around town. We also discovered that the McDonalds free wifi was strong enough to post the blog.
Tillamook has two groceries—Safeway and Fred Meyers which is like Walmart with a pharmacy, clothing and other stuff in addition to groceries. We opted to shop at Fred Meyers and discovered that the Tillamook Cheese for sale there was about the same price as the factory direct price.
With both places on our Tour of Discovery thoroughly explored, we discovered that we weren’t done discovering stuff. First we found that the marine layer, which hadn’t quite dissipated all day, was rolling in again.
After supper we discovered that we weren’t tired enough from walking up and down hills all day. We drove to the pickleball court for some practice and discovered that the chilly breeze had picked up and was now a chillier wind. We played about an hour of wind ball along with chase the ball, then headed home. Then we made our last discovery—we were tired!
Louise and Duane