The rain that followed us down the coast wasn’t hard for the most part, just persistent…and disagreeable. On Thursday morning, October 6, we packed up and headed south again. As we left Fort Stevens State Park, we slowed to let this elk cow and her calf to cross the road.
Then down the wet, wild and windy road we went. Clouds hung on the hilltops, and fog shrouded the coast. We stopped at a couple of view points, but didn’t linger.
Normally we don’t look for RV parks with a lot of asphalt and concrete, but we were really glad to see that the Ashley Inn and RV Park in Tillamook had plenty of both. There were small, grassy yards for the dogs to enjoy between showers, but at least their twelve little paws didn’t track in a lot of mud.
We did some exploring in the area, and found a great abandoned road through the forest near Cape Meares where we could give the dogs and ourselves a workout. We found this sign beside the road, and wondered who Walt Giles was and why he was so honored.
We found that Walt Gile, an employee of the Tillamook County Public Works Department, responded to an emergency during high winds and storm conditions that brought down a tree on the road. While removing the downed tree, Mr. Gile suffered a heart attach. Despite the efforts of his fellow employee to save him, Mr. Gile later died and was subsequently honored.
We walked to the end of a section of the road that terminated in a steep bluff with a view overlooking the coast at Cape Meares.
We didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to tour the Tillamook Lighthouse, which stands on the point at Cape Meares. Like the others along the coast, this one has been decommissioned and an automated beacon installed.
Like the Cape Destruction Lighthouse, this one utilized a First Order Fresnel Lens when it was in operation. Sadly, when the lighthouse was taken out of service, the Coast Guard failed to secure it and vandals severely damaged the lens. You can see in these photos where the prisms and lenses were shattered.
The light has been restored to some degree. It, like the lighthouse at Point Wilson, had a “signature” that involved a white beacon combined with red.
You can also see the brass wheels that moved the light to produce its unique signature. The wheels were controlled by a mechanism like a grandfather clock that had to be wound and set several times a day.
When these lighthouses were first built, there was craftsmanship involved in the buildings themselves. Below you can see the walkway around the Point Meares light. There were glass insets that allowed light to pass between the room where the light was mounted and the area below.
We enjoyed our lighthouse tour, as well as the views from Point Meares. The high bluff in the first image below was just below the drop-off below the road where we walked the dogs. It’s a good thing we didn’t go farther!
After our lighthouse tour, we stopped for an excellent lunch at Roseanne’s Cafe.
I’m not sure if John is smiling in anticipation of the clam chowder, or the bottle of Deschutes Brewery’s Black Butte Porter, but he finished both of them along with half a loaf of that beautiful bread.
On Saturday, we also toured the Tillamook County Creamery Association’s facility. The Association is comprised of a number of dairies in the vicinity.
The cheese factory tour is fascinating. A viewing area above lets you watch the chess-making process, and signage informs that, among other things: 1) It takes 10 pounds (1.16 gallons of milk) to make a pound of Tillamook cheese; 2) more than 1.7 million pounds of milk arrive at the factory each day; and 3) approximately 167,000 pounds of cheese are made each day.
There is a (very popular) model of a Holstein cow.
And a cheese-sampling bar so you can decide on your favorite. (We love our Tillamook cheese, and prefer the aged sharp cheddar. I just wish all the flavors were available in our home-town supermarkets.)
And, of course there is the favorite in this part of the country, Tillamook ice cream. John and I had a sample…and skipped dinner.
But the highlightt of our stay in Tillamook was a visit with Alma and Stan Reimer.
Alma and I have known each other since 1990, and have stayed in touch over the years. Alma’s older sister, Linda, was my best friend in Austin prior to her untimely death. Our sons played soccer together, and we shared many good times at soccer tournaments sitting on “pink blanket” and cheering on our Austin Capitals. Alma and Stan live in Dallas, Oregon, and braved the nasty, wet weather to come to see us in Tillamook. We only had a few hours together, but it was good to catch up, and to share a meal at The Fish Peddler Restaurant just north of town.
We look forward to seeing them again when they visit their nephew, Ben, and his family in Austin early next year.