Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Coast Report

Well, we went on a trip to the coast! I took Friday off so I could pack, shop for goodies, and get in a round of back-strengthening exercise before the trip. We left on Saturday morning and headed to Tillamook. Our first stop was the Tillamook Cheese Factory. It was billed as having a 'self-guided' tour, which apparently means just walking around the building, looking at 'cheesy' dioramas and sampling cheese. They had squeaky cheese! I love that stuff!

Anyway, there was a second-floor overlook of the factory itself, and that was the cool part. I tried to take a few pictures with the digital camera, so we'll see how they came out when I dig out of the hole I'm in. As we left, we passed by the Blue Heron French Cheese Company, which has wine and cheese tasting, but Jean said 'save it for next trip.' We're also saving the Latimer Quilt and Textile Museum, located nearby. I think it will be fun, despite the fact that most of these coastal museums are the historical equivalent of petting zoos.

Next on the agenda was the Tillamook Air Museum. Many more photos taken which I'll try to post. Kelly went absolutely gonzo over the trainers, making Jean sit beside her in a helicopter trainer and a jet trainer (even though they didn't work). We had lunch there, which was pretty good. My only complaint is that the website I found the museum on promotes it as the "Blimp Hangar Museum", which I think I can be forgiven for thinking promised some blimps. In fact, the museum is in a blimp hangar, and while there are dozens of planes, there is only one, contemporary, blimp; a tiny one at that. Oh, well, more petting zoo advertising...

We drove South to Lincoln City, and checked into our hotel. Sorry, nothing picturesque, like McCoy's Hideaway, where we stayed maybe seven years ago. This time it was a Best Western, chosen for the fact that it had an indoor pool, a Kelly requirement. No fancy dining either. We walked down the street to a Subway's and got subs for dinner.

The following morning I insisted on walking to the beach, about a fifteen minute walk. Boy is Kelly a sissy! I had to carry her on my shoulders part of the way, which turned out to be a mistake. My strength training exercises apparently don't prepare me for lifting a flailing package of 55 pounds over my head and resting it on my shoulders while walking. I pulled my shoulder, nothing serious, but I've had to lay of strength training for the week. When we got to the beach, Kelly had to stop about every five feet to take off her shoes and empty out the sand. As it was morning I didn't suggest that she simply take her shoes off. Next time, I'll make sure we have a pair of Aquasocks or such-like.

After a breakfast at Subway's at Kelly's insistence, we drove down the coast to Newport for our next-to-last touristy stop, the Oregon Coast Aquarium. I've never been there before, and it was great. Kelly liked it as well. In addition to looking at all the cool animals, we actually got to touch starfish and sea cucumbers. That was truly neat. Kelly was absolutely cackling with joy watching the seals and sea lions swimming in their habitat. I'm sorry to say that the sea otter display was closed. We ate lunch there, then headed back up the coast to go home.

But first, we stopped by the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. This is a neat little lighthouse which looks more like a schoolhouse (Little House on the Prairie style). It was apparently closed only three years after commissioning, as there was a much better lighthouse just up the coast (which we're saving for our next coast trip).

After the lighthouse we made our way home, unpacking all the loot which Kelly collected on the way, then setttling in and decompressing. One of the more interesting facts about our trip is that it was the first one in six years. The last time we went Jean was six months pregnant with Kelly. So we told Kelly that she'd been to the coast before, but hadn't seen too much of it .

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