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Monday June 20- Munson Creek Waterfall, Air Museum, Tillamook, Three Cape Scenic By-way

We went into Pacific City to the Post Office to pick up our forwarded mail. As we arrived in town, we noticed this sign. Diesel for $7.41!

Actually, on the other side of the sign it was $4.17, so we think someone made a mistake!

We drove out to Hwy 101, and started north towards our destination of Tillamook. About 6 miles south of Tillamook, we turned east, in Pleasant Valley (yes, we both thought of the Monkees’ song, “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday”). We drove about 2 miles to the Munson Creek Waterfall. We hiked, according to the sign, ¼ mile to the waterfall from the parking lot( it seemed a lot longer). The park is home to ancient western red cedar and Sitka
spruce. Monson Creek tumbles 319 feet down the forested slope, making it the tallest waterfall in the Coast Range.

Since it was raining, we were glad that the trail was gravel.

Our next stop was just south of Tillamook, at the Tillamook Air Museum.

This had been advertised as a blimp museum and was housed in a large hangar. It turns out the hanger is the world’s largest wooden clear-span structures, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.  We were both disappointed to see that it was not a blimp museum, but an airplane museum, with one blimp.

The building used to house the naval blimps during WWII. The building is 192 ft. high, nearly 300 ft. wide and 1,072 ft in length. That’s seven acres under one roof. In addition to housing vintage WWII airplanes, this is a Newport from WWI.This is a Russian Mig 17 from the Korean War. They are storing RV’s and boats in one end.  We wandered through, then ate our picnic lunch in the parking lot. The weather was still “drizzle”, but no longer an intermittent rain.

We drove through the town of Tillamook, stopping at the Blue Heron French Cheese company, which began as a French Brie cheese factory. The cheese was originally processed on this site, but production has since been moved to their factory in California. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot, so we stopped for the cheese and wine tasting. We were a bit disappointed, as we are used to cheese tastings in Vermont, where they actually have more varieties of cheese. They only had two brie’s, plus jellies and syrups to
taste. The wine tasting was $5 and the wines did not interest us. I bought some
fresh, delicious sesame asparagus, which I had for dinner.

We continued north to the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Tillamook is a famous cheese factory, owned by the Tillamook County Creamery Association, the local dairy farmers co-op, over 100 years old. Their cheese is famous on the west coast. The cheese, while processed here in their factory,  uses the same recipe brought to the area in 1894 by a Canadian cheese-maker, Peter McIntosh, experienced in making cheddar cheese.  They had a self guided tour, which to be honest was a waste of time! We sampled some of the cheeses, but they were pretty bland, so we did not buy any of them. We wandered through the gift shop and finally stopped for some of their ice cream. I had the German Chocolate  Cake again, and Bob had the Mudslide. Both were excellent.  We stopped at the Tillamook Camping Store for a compass and the Fred Meyer for some groceries.

By this time, the sun had come out and the skies were clearing, so we took the Three Cape Scenic By-way back to Pacific City. The drive was beautiful, driving right along Tillamook Bay out to our first stop at the Cape Meares Lighthouse, 10 miles west of Tillamook.

The lighthouse stands 217 feet above the ocean on the Cape Meares Headland. The tower is 38 feet, the shortest on the Oregon coast. The lighthouse was illuminated in 1890, and also  has a red light. Hmmm, the volunteers at Heceta Head Lighthouse said they had the only red light on the coast. I asked the volunteer about this and he said that what they should have said is that they have the only working red light on the Oregon coast. Cape Meares is not longer a working lighthouse, as it was replaced with an automatic beacon in 1963. The parking lot, which was at the top of the hill, was where the Light keeper’s houses were located. It was a hike down to the lighthouse, and I can’t imagine having to do that walk several times a day, carrying 5 gallon cans of kerosene. They had to be in really good
shape! We were able to see the Three Arch Rocks from the overlook.

We continued on the road to the second cape, Cape Lookout. This the state park where the lighthouse volunteers at the Meares lighthouse are staying for the summer. We continued to the Whiskey Creek Fish Hachery. They grow over 100,000 salmon, that they release in the spring. All we were able to see where these Rainbow Trout,

which we had a blast feeding! Our next stop was the Anderson Viewpoint,

where we could look back to the north to see the ocean and the bay that we had been driving past.  We continued south to Sand Lake, an area where you can watch the tide come in rapidly. Unfortunately it was almost low tide. We returned to the motor home at the Pacific City Thousand Trails.

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