While our European adventures are currently the primary focus of the blog, in the time between now and our next trip, I thought it would be a good time to cover some of our other globetrotting, as we haven’t shared many stories thus far. And where is the best place to start any adventure? In an airport, of course.
The Portland, Oregon airport to be more specific. With its iconic carpet and delicious Panda Express, I’d highly recommend it. After landing in PDX, we knew we’d immediately be leaving the city for the coast, hoping (and failing) to get there before dark. Now, in line with our favored method of under-planning, when the car rental company gave us the option to select a ‘Wild Card’ (though they didn’t get the pun) at an unbelievably low price, we threw caution (and potentially safety) to the wind and chose it. Fast forward to arriving at the car company and we found ourselves faced with an impossibly easy decision – Chevy Sonic or baby blue VW Beetle. After ensuring the Sonic did not, in fact, look like a hedgehog by any stretch of the imagination, we went with the Bug.
We christened him Ringo Starr and he turned out to be a great choice. He swiftly took us to the coast, after a brief respite for dinner and a show. We paused in Astoria to snap a photo of the sunset and stroll along the boardwalk looking for sustenance. Suddenly, we heard a strange, other-worldly noise emanating from under the walkway. Goo goo g’ joob. Goo goo g’ joob. We peered down amongst the piers and swirling tide to find not a walrus, but a colony of seals. With the shrieks they made, we weren’t quite sure if they were giving birth, fighting to the death, sealing an important deal, or trying to sing Kissed from a Rose. The cacophony was one of the sealiest things we have ever heard. We left the show to grab a bite before heading towards our stop for the night. Ryan enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder, to which he gave his seal of approval.
Once at the coast, we checked in to our 5 star hotel. It had all the finest – mostly white sheets, mood lighting (the result of an extreme lack of working lightbulbs), and even a white noise machine in the form of an incessantly beeping smoke alarm. It was nice to know even the smoke alarm was alerting us of our possible lack of safety in this fine establishment, in case we had somehow overlooked it. Or perhaps it was warning us of carbon monoxide. We called down to the front desk regarding the last amenity and, after some 10 loud minutes that felt like hours, a portly, middle-aged gentleman rocking hobo-chic (though more towards the hobo side) appeared at our door. This out-of-breath gentleman looked as though he had just come from watching a mud wrestling match somewhere in Appalachia. Or cock fighting. Or amateur NASCAR. With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head, he soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. His toothless grin assured us of his honest intentions.
Now, we expected the handyman would arrive with a ladder, but he seemed a bit confused, as though maybe we should have provided the ladder ourselves. Using his quick problem solving skills, he precariously climbed onto a table positioned under the smoke detector. Increasingly concerned about the possibility of having a real emergency on our hands if the table collapsed under his considerable girth (obviously he doesn’t keep a weight journal), we were once again surprised when his expression changed to that of confusion when he realized he didn’t have a battery to replace the one he took out. Nevertheless, he climbed down from the table, nodded his head towards us, and slipped out the door, just as oddly as he entered. And, given that we couldn’t imagine what his second in command would look like, we decided to just say a prayer and go to bed. Fingers crossed for no bed bugs.
Early the next morning we got the heck outta Dodge and drove down the beautiful Oregon coastline, stopping for a quick hike and a walk around the iconic Cannon Beach. As we had skipped breakfast to ensure we were ravenous upon arriving at our gastronomic Mecca (revealed below), we didn’t spend too much time wandering along the shoreline. We did, however, make time to stop and explore Hug Beach because really, what’s a day without hugs? We also made a quick stop at Insomnia Coffee Co. which had the best caramel latte and an inviting, distinctly Portland feel.
As we continued our pilgrimage towards our culinary destination, our hanger becoming increasingly apparent, we began to notice a noxious smell. And what was it do you think? But the smell of cows – a billion hamburgers on the hoof – all used to create the delicious cheese we were about to sample. Because yes, we planned this whole multi-hour driving adventure around visiting, where else, but the Tillamook Cheese factory. Really though, they should move the beeves a bit further from the actual factory site because good heavens, that smell rivaled that of a mountain of Limburger cheese. Nevertheless, though it doesn’t look like much on the outside, our time at the factory can probably be best described through our Yelp review, provided below for your convenience, dear reader.
Hot damn. This place has some good cheese. Yesterday Ry and I drove two hours just to sample the delicious cheese. As grilled cheese aficionados, we must say this takes the (cheese)cake. The ice cream and mac and cheese were dope as well. We thought we might need some ketchup for the fries but nah, son, just dip those babies in the mac and cheese. Be sure to have your photo taken in the Tillamook cheese bus. This place was well worth the drive and the scent of dairy farms that wafted throughout the town really put you in the moo’d for some cheese.
P.S. We had Kraft mac n cheese tonight and it was delicious. Can’t stop; won’t stop.
To be continued in The Beatles Break Up