Back to the Oregon Coast, the Tillimook Cheese Factory, then Pacific City & beaches
03.24.2008 - 03.24.2008 50 °F
We left Salem Monday morning. On our way out, but not too far from my Uncles house, is an interesting ranch so I stopped to take a picture. They take care of bactrian Camels for zoo's. It seems the Zoo's have trouble breeding this type of camel (the ones with two humps) because they are native to cooler climates (like Western Oregon). This ranch has provided a place where the camels can breed effectively. So here you are just driving down the road near the state capital, and what do you see?
We then navigated through downtown Salem with only a minor hitch, and drove over Hwy 22 to the coast, stopping at a couple of places briefly. One of these was a State Park called Fort Yamhill. This sounded interesting so I thought we might give it a look, however, it turned out there wasn't much to look at but beautiful scenery and some interpretive signs. Again we are learning things about our history that somehow got overlooked in the history books.
After white settlers started arriving in western Oregon in the 1850's, Native American's in the area succumbed to the newly arrived diseases in large numbers, in some areas as many as 70% of the Natives died. Those that survived weren't exactly appreciated by the white settlers and conflict became the norm. The Willamette Valley Treaty was signed in the mid 1850's, which required the Native American's to move to the Grand Rhonde Reservation.
Fort Yamhill was built in 1856, along with several other Forts in western Oregon, to keep the white settlers and Native Americans apart - to enforce the line separating the reservation from the white areas. Many of the officers who served time at Fort Yamhill went on to serve as generals during the Civil War. The Army abandoned Fort Yamhill in 1866. Most of the buildings were sold and moved, today the park consists of the site, paths and interpretive signs.
Without any buildings, there wasn't too much to see here - so I took pictures of the interpretive signs and we headed on towards Tillamook. First we passed the Tillamook River and some beautiful scenery of the Oregon coastal areas - they get a lot of rain and mist, so everything is really green.
As we drove on towards the town, we passed this lovely dairy along the river. I don't think I'd mind being a dairy cow here.
We got to the Tillamook Cheese Factory about mid afternoon. Outside the main building is a full scale replica of the first ship built in Oregon, the Morning Star. It was built by the local farmers to ship their butter to Portland.
This factory has over one million visitors a year, but it is primarly a cheese (& Ice Cream) factory. While we were there, several large tank trucks pulled in to offload milk for processing.
Like the Cabot Creamery we visited back in Vermont, Tillamook Creamery is a cooperative, it is owned by 150 dairy farms in the area. Inside the main building, you can take a 'self paced' tour of the creamery. This consists of some rooms set up with exhibits about cattle and the milk industry, cheese and the history of the Tillamook Creamery operations in Oregon.
One of the signs listed the different kinds of dairy cattle, the farmers choose what kind of cattle he/she wants to manage based on his/her own preferences. These are Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Dutch Belted, Guernsey, Holstein and Jersey. Another sign pointed out that over 1/2 the cost of a gallon of milk goes to feed for the cows!
Upstairs is a long room with glass windows that overlook the main areas where cheese is processed. This is basically what the tour consists of, wandering around watching the process through the windows. There are also computer kiosks around where you can learn more about the process and cheese in general.
After looking at all that cheese being made, of course we had to stop at their cheese store. Mom also did some damage at the gift shop, but somehow I managed to escape with nothing more than a squashed penny.
I had made reservations at a membership camground down near Pacific City, so down we headed. Once we got checked in, we drove over to Cape Kiwanda to check out their sand dune.
The beach was nice, but it was getting a bit chilly and Mom wanted to get some rest, so we headed back to but the RV to bed for the night (e.g., plug in and such). There was also a beach across the highway from the campground, so I decided to check it out while Mom (or the RV) rested. On the way, I made friends with one of the many semi wild rabbits living there. The look like easter bunny's that just found a new home here - I don't think these are naturally wild rabbits. But it was fun giving it some of my carrots.
From there it was a fairly short walk to the beach. Some folks told me there were a lot of fossils on this beach. I don't know if this is one, but it was a really interesting looking rock. Some of these holes are over an inch across, so the rock was a bit too big to try to bring home, a picture will have to do.
Finally, I hung out long enough to see the sunset - not bad at all.
Plan is to head north again today, probably visit Fort Clatsop (Lewis & Clark replica of fort they built to winter over near Astoria, Oregon). There are a couple of other Lewis & Clark sites along our route, so we'll probably try to visit them also.
No internet signal again last night (I am impressed with how remote so many area's of our country still are!).
Miles Driven - 121, Cumulative - 19,279
Camped at TT RV Campground, Pacific City, OR
Provisions: Gas $30.00 for 8.931 gallons at 129,055 in Salem
Cheese, Cheese and some more Cheese at Tillamook