For long-time followers...remember our escapades in Minot (why not?), ND? The series of foul-ups that led us to a hotel there that--after we told them a hundred times that we had a dog--had a policy of no dogs over 12 pounds? Well, we found another of those jewels today. Our first stinky campground in a long time. I haven't written a scathing CG review in so long, but a PMS-fueled rant shall feel good. This park has so many NO this and NO that rules, but they don't tell you till after you've signed the credit card slip and then you see the NO REFUNDS signs. The first rule on the list is, and I quote, "No Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Dobermans or large dogs." Huh??? So, we decided that Nick needs to be his 12-pound self again. We got into our spot and then walked him (in the PET WALK AREA--NO POTTYING ANYWHERE ELSE!!!) past the office. They now know we're here. Geesh. The rule police are nasty. We'll be leaving as early as possible tomorrow.
OK, whew. Feel better now. Tracking back to last night--dinner was heavenly. And we're looking forward to a rerun tonight, as we have leftover chowder and salmon. THE most heavenly clam chowder--the predominant flavors are lemon and dill. Not typical. Cuts right through the creaminess of the dairy to highlight the seafoodiness (that is not a word, but it feels right) of the clams. Serious yum. Never had anything like it.
Today brought another brisk walk on the beach. Nick just loves to run and chase balls and sticks on the sand. He didn't have the benefit of all those years of Carmel Beach off-leash heavens that our other dearly departed dogs had. He couldn't be trusted off-leash there, since it was always crowded with little children. But in Oregon? Empty beaches and a tennis ball = 100% trustability.
An aside: We have to revoke our previous opinion (after last summer's 7000+ mile journey) that Oregon had the best roads. Let's just say that US 97 thru eastern OR is great. But all the roads we've been on this trip in OR are horrendous--potholes, sunken grades, bumps, dips, ridges, washboarding, etc. Yikes.
Also, the signs here are the tersest of any state we've been in. One word, always nouns, e.g.: Elk. Construction. Rocks. Slides. No verbs, adverbs, or adjectives indicating what to do, how soon to do it in, severity, etc. Now, I know a rock when I see one. But a sign that says "Rocks"--is that helpful? Are they falling? Soon? Should I watch out? I make all these inferences, but road signs should probably not require that step.
Back to the recap of our mostly rainy day:
We had a very minimal breakfast in anticipation of our first stop: Tillamook, OR and its eponymous cheese factory. What a hoot. Because it was Saturday, we couldn't see the packaging line in operation, but we did see a few folks vacuum sealing 42-pound blocks of cheddar cheese for aging. (They have the capacity to age 5 million pounds of cheese at a time.)
After the tour, we split a grilled cheese sandwich and a cheeseburger--big yums. And nice because the portions were actually reasonably small. Did a little shopping in the various shops (Lisa got a 1/2 price fleece as it's chilly here and she's low on warm clothes), but we resisted buying cheese, ice cream, etc. It helped that the line was enormous. But we did indulge in having a 3 mini-scoop sampler of ice cream. Tillamook is a coop of local dairy farmers, so the milk and butter and cheese products are just outstanding. We get their butter and cheese in CA groceries, but the ice cream is only Pacific Northwest. Julie had Mudslide (the most decadent chocolate ice cream ever), Oregon Huckleberry (wonderful, but not as great as when we had it in CO last year), and Marionberry Pie. Lisa had Cookie Dough, White Licorice (she loved that), and Oregon Strawberry (which was the prize winner, deservedly so). A lovely lunch.
We also stopped at the Blue Heron French Cheese Factory a mile down the road (seriously, dairy cows are everywhere here), and Lisa got a hunk of her favorite blue cheese, which is the one high calorie food that Julie doesn't care for.
Various and sundry other stops down the coast--lighthouses, botanical "waysides." Our internet connection is very low here, so we'll have to upload photos when we get a stronger signal.