The day started early. As in 1:00am early. Stephanie and Marissa flew from Tulsa to Portland to spend the second week of the trip with us, and they landed at 1:00 in the morning. As a reward for all that late night flying, Marissa wanted to visit Voodoo Donut, a Portland institution. By 2:00, we had consumed a variety of donuts and had the voodoo experience.
The first stop of the day was the Tillamook Creamery in Tillamook, Oregon. We can buy Tillamook cheese back home and today we could make sure the production facility meets our high standard. The creamery has a self-guided tour, gift shop, mini-grocery store, restaurant, and ice cream stand. All featuring Tillamook products. This facility was built in 2018 and it was packed. And deservedly so! We spent nearly 3 hours there.
We have never lived on a dairy farm, so there is a lot about cows and milk production we didn’t know. Their cows are milked 3 to 5 times a day and each can produce up to 150 pounds of milk in a day. Good grief, that’s a lot. The Tillamook Creamery produces up to a million pounds of cheese in a week. That explains why we can buy all the Tillamook cheese we need back in Oklahoma. Thanks Tillamook!
I was also surprised by their use of robots in milking cows. When the cows walk up to get milked, a human does not have to be involved at all. A robot arm reaches out and attaches the milking tubes to the udder and away they go.
The next stop was the beaches of Lincoln City. On the drive there, we passed the Tillamook Air Museum. We didn’t stop, but its hangar is alarmingly large as seen from the road. This hangar is a former US Navy blimp hangar, and Scott pointed out it is the largest clear span wooden structure in the world.
We wanted to spend some time at the beach and we chose Lincoln City because of a promotion they do called Finders Keepers. Glass blowing is a big deal in this community, and for 20 years, these local businesses will daily hide glass orbs down on the beach for people to find. The idea is a throwback to past, when glass was used as floats for fishing nets by Japanese fisherman. When the floats would break off, they would float to the coast where people would find them and it was a rare treat.
Our group split into two parties to double our changes of finding an orb. PK was really enjoying the idea of finding a glass orb, so we set out to see what we could do. Our groups spent about an hour on the beach on our mission, but didn’t find any glass orbs. But we did find cold Pacific Ocean water and great views. It was a fun stop.
After throwing in the towel on finding the free glass orbs, we spent some time exploring a few of the glass shops in town. One of them had a do-it-yourself experience going on that was very popular.
For dinner, we drove to the nearby community of Depoe Bay. This little town claims to have the World’s Smallest Harbor and self-proclaimed Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast. Erin got us in to a restaurant with views of the harbor. We had a great time eating seafood and whale watching. PK was the whale spotting champ during dinner.
After dinner, we stepped outside the restaurant and did some whale watching from the fence outside. The whales were out! No telling how many there were, but you would see the blowhole sending water upward, and a few seconds later a hump, and then their tail would briefly appear before going down again. It was a lot of fun to watch.
The last stop of the day was at the Devils Punchbowl. It is a scenic area where two sea caves joined together and collapsed. We got out and explored the small walking trail. We found some surfers as well as a punchbowl. A twofer!
The remaining drive to our hotel in Florence was very scenic. The entire drive was down Highway 101 right along the coast. Oregon does it up right. There were many scenic turnouts and opportunities for beach access. Unlike other coastlines we have driven next to on this trip, we could actually see the ocean often while driving.
We arrived at our hotel around 9:30, which is par for the course on this trip. Our hotel rooms here do not have air conditioning, but they do offer windows that open. Another slice of Oregon flavor on this trip.