Monday 14th August – Cheese

It’s hard to believe just how lazy we were this morning. The forest was letting slithers of light in through the canopy, but it was still so nice and warm under the covers that we couldn’t convince ourselves to get up. The exception was when Dan made it from the bed to the kitchen to make us a Hawaiian feast for breakfast. Inspired by his favourite breakfast he used to get when he lived in Hawaii, it was hearty feast. I didn’t leave bed as Dan fried up some rice, sausauge, bacon and eggs, filling the Cabana with beautiful aromas.

After eating our delicious breakfast which was absolutely massive, Dan crept back into bed as I blogged and we both ended up having a morning nap. When we eventually got out of the van into the now very sunny forest, it was past noon and we were on for a shower in Idiot Creek. We walked through the pines to the shallow creek and found a sunny spot that was knee deep. Before we stripped down, Dan noticed a fish struggling in the water. He was a decent size and wasn’t going anywhere because he had a hook in his mouth and the line attached to it was caught on a stick. No matter how much he flapped and flicked, he couldn’t get free. Dan, the hero, picked him up and attempted to get the hook out. He soon found out that someone had already tried but since the hook was buried deep within the fish’s guts, it was a lost cause. We thought about putting him out of his misery, but he seemed to be swimming healthily enough so we just cut the line and set him free thinking at least he’d be able to spend his last few days swimming.

We got ourselves clean in the cold water but no amount of calling and encouragement would get Cleo into the water. Back at the cars, before breaking down camp, we spent a bit of time on our back doors. Dan’s had stopped opening from the outside and mine was getting finickier and finickier to open, dangerously so. We started with mine, opening the access hatch and slightly bending the plate which fixed her right up. Dan’s was a little more complex, but he managed to fix the busted cable in place with some duct tape. With plenty of functioning doors, we broke camp and hit the highway.

We were heading for the coast now and after an hour of forest and farmland, we were in Tillamook. This town is full of cheese and Dan had mentioned there were free tours at the Tillamook cheese factory so we made a beeline. The factory warehouse was impressively big but because of construction, there were no tours, only a temporary visitor’s centre. The carpark was full and the outdoor seating packed with families eating oversized ice cream cones.

Inside the visitor’s centre, we were in a zoo. The place was full of people, most of them lined up to get a few tiny cubes of cheese as free samples. We felt like snobby dirtbags turning our noses up at queueing for free stuff. We wandered the shop that sold all sorts of merchandise as well as milk products. The queue for getting an ice cream valued at $5 was even bigger than the free sample line. Seeing that was the end for us, we were straight out the door.

We drove a short way down the road to the Blue Herron French Cheese company. This was a much better pace, starting with an emptier carpark and some goats to pet. Cleo tucked safely away in the Cabana, we wandered over to the small paddock where a big-horn ram sat panting and some very healthy looking goats were doing the same. In the next paddock over, there were a couple of cute miniature horses.

After getting our petting fix, we walked into the store and found a quaint boutique spread of goods with hardly anyone walking around. We sampled everything we could from salad sauces to marmalades and condements as well as a tiny bit of cheese. Being the dirtbags we were, we didn’t buy anything, even though the ice cream was cheaper here than Tillamook.

Back outside, we checked out the hen house, noticing a whole bunch of different personalities. There was a stressed out speckled hen pacing up and down the pen, a black coloured chicken was determined to tunnel her way out of captivity, the rooster as boss wouldn’t shut up and kept his eye on everyone while a female peacock napped on a shelf over them all. When we let Cleo out of the car, she was too distracted by the goats to go to the bathroom so we soon gave that away.

Back on the road, we drove another half hour to the Pacific Ocean. I pegged a cheap campsite near Cape Kiwanda, but upon arriving there, we found out it wasn’t $5 a night as suggested, it was $25. Not willing to pay that, we drove to a day use area to make a plan. Not having any service, we just drove on, Dan leading the way. After filling up with water at an RV dumping station, we kept driving south along the coast until we came to Pacific City. As we turned into the carpark right on the beach, I knew immediately that I’d been here before. I’d stopped here in what must have been my first week of travel when I was heading north into Canada. Oh, to reminisce! Dan had been here before too but we couldn’t stay because overnighting wasn’t allowed. We’d both seen a road leading down to the beach a mile back so we went back to check that out. There was a carpark halfway down the road that was without signs so we considered that a winning camp.

We walked down the road to check out the beach and found we were following the path of fresh water leading out into the ocean. I’d donned my down jacket and was glad I had, the wind coming off the ocean was fierce. Despite the no camping signs down on the beach, we considered tucking our vans away somewhere to get away with it but decided the carpark was much better because it didn’t have the wind and it was legal. We strolled along the misty beach for a while before returning to camp where Dan got dinner going.

I was up to date with my blogs so we listened to a podcast while Dan cooked and I drew a very accurate rendition of my Astro on his miniature whiteboard. Dan was fully cheffing it up, making his specialty of steak with and onion and mushroom sauce, sided with mashed potatoes and asparagus. I was about as excited to eat it as he was to be cooking it. The Cabana smelt like heaven for the second time today. It was a beautiful dinner.

By the time we were finished, it was time to go back down to the beach for sunset. There were a fair few people down there now and for good reason, there were clouds in the sky acting as contrast against the orange colour that was forming over our heads. We wandered around in the sand, winding Cleo up and using her as our photo model, admiring the beautiful sunset and talking about how it never gets old watching one. There were a couple of cars on the beach, including a sprinter van and we wondered if they were going to try and stay the night.

Sunset over, we were back in the Cabana for some TV before bed. We had the place to ourselves the whole night except for when a couple of guys came along to grab some firewood before going back down to the beach. I can’t imagine they’d be warm enough no matter how much fire they had. We however, were perfectly comfortable.

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