My last day in Oregon was the only one that we actually planned for. My sister and I decided that we wanted to rent a car and make our way to Portland, as I had never been. On the way, we wanted to make a couple of stops: Tillamook (if you know me but at all, you know that my love for cheese is out of control) and Cannon Beach.
First stop? Cheese.
We took a quick tour of the upstairs area, which overlooks the actual factory. You can see big metal containers where magic happens, and people inspecting cheese blocks to make sure that they are ready for me to consume. Or consumption in general, whatever.
It honestly took about a total of sixty seconds to look at everything we wanted to look at, so we went back downstairs to get to the tasting and the eating.
My face says it all -- cheese! Blocks of six different types of cheese are placed in a line with toothpicks for you to pick up a block or two. On our first round, we got one of each: squeaky cheese (otherwise known as cheese curds and something that I discovered I do not like), medium cheddar, a couple that I don't quite remember, aged white cheddar, and a jalapeno number that packed a kick.
The favorite? Without a doubt, the aged white cheddar. I went back for seconds and ended up with two toothpicks packed with cheese.
No shame to my game.
But just getting cheese wasn't enough. Who could get full off of tiny little blocks, right?
We debated between getting a grilled cheese and ice cream -- but given the fact that it was eleven in the morning and neither of us were up for sweets, we opted for the grilled cheese with tomato soup.
The grilled cheese is made with two types of cheese, melted together to create this ooey gooey deliciousness.
But...I have to admit.
I wasn't that big of a fan.
Personally, I thought that it was really underwhelming for it to be a dairy factory. Particularly, the cheese wasn't that gooey and it needed a slab of good ol' butter to crack up the level of tasty to oh-my-goodness-my-life-is-complete.
Somewhat full (and majorly needing to get back on the road), we drove off up the coast to get to Cannon Beach.
Which happened to be one of the highlights of my entire Oregon trip. Wedged between the ocean and the mountains that ride up the Oregon coast, this place is beautiful.
We encountered these strange little things that we couldn't identify. Initially, we thought they were rocks -- and we were horrified when they made a chorus of crunching sounds when we walked over them. I made a mental note to look them up and found out that they're called velella velella. Otherwise known as by-the-wind sailors.
They're like jellyfish! I think. To be honest, I didn't really read the Wikipedia page.
But there were a ton of them!
Something that has always captivated me about the Oregon coast is that there are so many rock formations jutting out from the water. Because the tide was far out, we were able to almost walk right up to the rocks along the beach.
One of them is famously known as Haystack Rock, and when the tide is in it shows up as a little island. It's home to seabirds and has a little cave that I was itching to explore.
You can't show me a cave and ask me not to climb into it!
Given the fact that it was so windy and cold, though, I decided going into the water and risking getting into trouble to climb the stack wasn't worth it. So we kept going until we finally made our way here, where we were met with a huge crowd of visitors looking at the tide pools.
Every single part of me still wants to go back when the weather is warmer and find my way into the cave. Who knows what could be in there? It might have absolutely nothing but untouched rock and crashing waves, but I want to find out.
Anyway, we got to the tide pools and were again disappointed. This is the extent to which we were able to see anything. We didn't really see the sea life that we had anticipated -- no starfish as advertised on Instagram, no hermit crabs, nothing. Except for these things.
Though for just having walked forty-five minutes, it was a bit of a let-down.
Cannon Beach is totally worth the trip, if only for Haystack Rock. It's so beautiful and looks majestic both in the distance and close up. The birds circling and flying from point to point make you a little nervous (you never know when one is going to poo on you), but it's so calming.
When the tide is out, it's even more amazing. I've never seen a beach look so deep and clean. Isolated, despite there being so many other people there. That's something special about Oregon.
Tillamook on the other hand..maybe not so much worth a visit unless it's on the way somewhere.
But! From here, we ran back to the car to make our way to Portland in good time. It wasn't the trip that I was expecting, but it was still an experience! But that for next time.
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