The drive to the Tillamook area was atypical in some ways. At first we got stuck behind a wide load trailer carrying equipment which was much wider than the lane it was traveling in. We drove behind it for about half and hour, which gave us plenty of time to figure out that it must be a crane for loading huge logs onto truck beds. At first we were irritated that it was going so slowly and impossible to pass, but it really didn’t go much slower than we would have gone ourselves. We began to appreciate how approaching traffic came to a total stop and moved off the road entirely to let it/us by. It was like traveling accompanied by the secret service. We were actually sad when it turned east off of 101.
We wished we were still behind it when we went through a small town that allowed on street parking in addition to two lanes each direction. Things were tight and suddenly we heard a smack on the passenger’s side. It didn’t sound significant and there was nowhere to pull over to see. Eventually we found a place to pull of the road for lunch. Suddenly we heard a frantic banging on our door. I looked out and saw a wild looking man with a huge beard and his hair shooting out in all directions. His eyes were popping out of his face. As Ken opened the door we could hear him shouting that we had wrecked his car. Ken was calm and charmed him back to reality. We had nicked his side mirror, but it was still on the car. There were some scratches on the side, but they were down low and may not have had anything to do with us. It turned out he had borrowed the car from his daughter and didn’t know for sure himself. We exchanged insurance info and went back to eating lunch. It ended well, but he sure was a scary looking dude.
Tillamook County is a major milk producing area. The grass looks so green and lush, it leaves the impression that you can just turn the cows out in the fields and let them raise themselves. Early dairy farmers had no market for their product until they banded together to make cheese and bought a ship that could take their product to Portland by water; there were no roads from here to there. The Tillamook Cooperative is still going strong and the main cheese making plant has become a major tourist stop. In addition to cheese, they sell some wonderful ice cream. Nuff said…
Once we got parked at another great water front camp site, we got in the Jeep to explore. Here we are within two hours of Portland and the small towns often with a population of less than 1,000 are less widely spaced. Cannon Beach is especially well known, because of the picturesque Haystack Rock. The retail area downtown was an impressive collection of smart shops, all tastefully landscaped. I would have stopped there on a rainy day, but the sun was shining brightly. The beaches in this area are so wide and flat. It seems like there would be space for everyone in the state of Oregon to enjoy a spot on the sand.