We're down in in Manzanita, Oregon, with our friends Michelle and Youssef and their three kids. It's that time of year again: Spring Break. Actually Brenda and Michelle drove down with the kids on Monday, and then Youssef and I met them on Thursday. It's about a 4-1/2 hour drive.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
Today, we got up early and drove to Tillamook to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory. This was probably my 15th visit since I was a kid -- and it's always fun. On this visit, when we opened our car doors we were greeted by the overwhelming stink of manure. (Youssef and I made the requisite jokes.)
Once we got inside the factory, the air was much fresher. We immediately went on the cheese tour, which includes various audio/video displays of how cheese is made and an observation area where you can view the workers cutting up and packaging the cheese. For some reason, I never grow tired of watching the cheese moving down the assembly line. But I also wonder how these workers feel to work in a "fishbowl" all day, looking up to see those cheese-lovers staring down in amazement.
The last part of the tour is actually sampling the cheese (one toothpick per sample, please!) And who can resist buying some cheese after that? Because this is the factory, you can buy cheese curd (squeaky cheese) and packages you can't buy in stores. We also bought some ice cream cones (banana split for me), and Brenda and I took turns wiping Drew's face.
Tillamook Air Museum
Even though we'd had dessert at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, we had yet to each lunch. So we decided to drive 15 minutes south to the Tillamook Air Museum to eat lunch and then see the airplanes. The food was just OK. The airplanes were excellent as usual. This is definitely one of the better aircraft museums on the west coast. It resides inside the largest wooden hanger in the United States.
After all that site seeing, we drove to Fred Meyer in Tillamook. I'd planned to stay in the car to get Drew to take a nap, but he wasn't having any of it. So we joined Brenda inside and looked at the toys, DVDs, games, and a few other things. Drew went crazy every time he saw Spider-Man products (and there were a lot of products to choose from). I'd already bought Drew two Spider-Man shirts before I drove down, so I decided we didn't need any more.
The last stop was at the Tillamook Smoke House store. They have a nice factory store where I always find some good deals. When I came outside to the car, Drew was asleep (finally).