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.