Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

If I'd seen a whale, this icon would be even more perfect

Scenery: changed! Yesterday I braved the rain (not as much as forecast) and visited a chunk of the Oregon Coast I hadn't been to for years. It was still there. If it weren't, I'd've heard of it. Giant headlines and exposes and stuff, because PARTS OF THE WORLD DO NOT DISAPPEAR. Unless the Matrix goes down for maintenance, I guess...

On my dad's recommendation, on my way to Tillamook I stopped at the Tillamook Forest Center, about 20 miles up a Coast Range road from Tillamook and, conveniently, on my way. It's dead-center of a chunk of Oregon Coast rain forest that burned badly several times from the 1930s to the 1950s, and which Oregonians worked very hard to restore. The Center is a recent addition (opened 2006) that shows how people did that. I spent just over an hour in and around: walked trails along the Wilson River gurgling next to the center, walking across a suspension bridge above the river, looking at exhibits, and climbing the there-for-demonstration-purposes lookout tower, built to show what it was like to stay in these remote parts of the forest to watch for fires. I got to the top, scanned the tree-lined hills surrounding the center, and analyzing what would've been the sort of location had this been a functional lookout tower. "Had they really needed this here, it would've been a higher tower, built on a higher location." I had a moment of thinking like the people who located and built these towers in the first place. I LEARNED STUFF. And then got a little guilty at getting back into my car and driving past that same beautiful, valuable scenery at 60 miles per hour.

Then I reached Tillamook, and the you-get-used-to-it smell of its main industry, cows. Tillamook Cheese is a major cheese manufacturer, and a GOOD cheese manufacturer, that's been based there for over a century. I had a late breakfast of huevos rancheros with hash browns at a downtown diner, walked a chunk of downtown to start burning the calories from that breakfast, and finished reading Theodore Sturgeon's nicely offbeat vampire novel Some Of Your Blood. I love that part of it's a story told in third person by someone who's having trouble writing in third person, so there are all sorts of little slip-ups in the storytelling. Telling slip-ups. I'll likely read this again.

The city was misting, on the edge of raining, as I expected. Still, again, not as much rain as I'd expected. I drove past the Tillamook Air Museum, this gigantic World War II blimp hangar next to what used to be a second gigantic World War II blimp hangar, except that one burned down in the early 1990s. I saw it in 1994 when it was this glorious wreck; I didn't get close enough to check, but I'm guessing the area's been cleaned up, but there's still the four tall concrete tower-like supports that held up the hangar.

I did, instead, stop at the Tillamook Cheese Visitor's Center. Somehow soothing, watching a cheese assembly line. I then bought stuff, as that was another way to indulge myself, plus hey, good food. Plus samples. Fresh cheddar cheese curd kind of squeaks when you bite into it. I don't expect my cheese to talk to me.

Northbound driving after that, to look at more of the coast, from on the beach (like what I recounted here) to hundreds of feet above the beach, as Hwy. 101 rises and falls through the path that was easiest to lay the road along. I made fewer stops for the rest of the trip, as I wanted to see scenery and as I wanted to get home in time for the Oregon Ducks to play USC in a big game (one the Ducks won! In an exciting way, too!). In fact, some of the most striking moments came from not seeing much: thick fog at Hwy. 26 mileposts 31 and 42. I slowed down and appreciated the way that fog messes with sensory input. (Nothing was in the mist. Unlike in The Mist.)

That was a treat of a day.

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