From the Blog

An Afternoon, A Full Tank of Gas, Chapter II

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You can find Chapter One of “An Afternoon, A Full Tank of Gas” here.

Yesterday, I went for a drive up the coast with my new friend Dave, the Guy Who Knows Portland. He also has a blog that you should visit, especially if you like beer, or if you want to learn the goings-on in PDX. And while he vehemently denies it, evidence strongly suggests that he trolls the internet for single women who write blogs about Portland. Needless to say, I had my mace at the ready the entire drive.

Sunday Drive

One of the interesting things about Portland is that it abounds in dramatic entrances. It’s quite easy to miss a turn, end up on a freeway, and suddenly be driving on some huge bridge over a river, hundreds of feet in the air, and miles from where you wanted to be. I don’t worry about getting lost as it’s not an enormous city, and the drivers here are absolute *angels* compared to other areas I have lived. People are SO polite and nice on the road here. I believe they have been extra forgiving, while I accidentally drive the wrong way down one-way streets, because I still have Hawaii plates. I get friendly waves while I put peoples’ lives in danger.

Route 26 traverses the city and heads west towards the coast. You enter a tunnel in the thick of the metropolis, and emerge from the tunnel into a forest, with no signs of the city. It’s more than dramatic, it’s bizarre. It’s easy to feel as though you live in the sticks just a half mile outside of town.

I hadn’t yet seen any of Oregon, besides Interstate 5 and the city. The drive to the coast felt a lot like New Hampshire and Vermont. I was reminded of how long I have lived in an arid climate to be so surprised to see a real river! With water and everything! And little white ribbons of waterfalls by the side of the road. There is so much moisture that all the tree trunks are covered by a furry green coat of moss. Dave advised me that I ought to remember how nice the weather was, since it was super sunny and warm. The north coast doesn’t usually get so much vitamin D.

Our first stop was Tillamook, the Land of Cheese. If you were to close your eyes and envision a perfect supermarket, a wondrous place filled with only the food of your heart’s darkest desire, would it not be filled with unending aisles of orange cheese?

Cheese Wonderland

My friends, I have been to such a place.

Cheesy Heaven

It seemed fitting that there ought to be some creature, most likely a cow, sculpted out of cheese somewhere. But then I remembered, this isn’t Iowa.

We got in the car and headed north up the coast, visiting various seaside towns. Dave has a large family and has lived most of his life in Oregon. Ever the gracious host, he provided roadside narration of the sites of mishap from his childhood. Even after I DIDN’T want hear about that one time, he and his brother went fishing, and someone accidentally ended up with a fishing lure as an eyebrow piercing.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach. This is Haystack Rock, the 3rd largest oceanic monolith in the world.

Haystack Rock

This was my first time seeing the Pacific since leaving Hawaii. It felt like a different planet.

We drove still further north to Astoria, Land of The Goonies. I would like to go and spend more time there, as it was getting late and it was just a quick stop.


Would you like to see this photo larger? Yes, you would. Click here.

On the drive home, we saw an honest-to-god American Bald Eagle. For real! And even though I am a Tree Hugging Dirt Worshiper, (separate post coming soon about funny bumper stickers I have witnessed here in Oregon) I felt patriotic. And we also saw the snow covered, blown-off top of Mt. Saint Helen’s as the sun went down. It was bad ass. Volcanoes here don’t screw around.

Oregon is a pretty place. I’m glad to be here.


  1. Why no super-sized pictures of the cheese??

  2. I LOVE CHEEEEEEESSSE!!!!!! Tonight I made super healthy tacos with lean ground turkey, chili powder, cumin, spinach, chunky salsa, yellow corn taco shells and CHEEEEEEEEEEESSE!!! Thanks for the new desktop background! Totally looks like Goonies, so flat! So different from southern California beaches and the Atlantic.

  3. Correction: just a plain barbed fish hook (with night crawler still attached).

    Seriously, that was some beautiful weather, as in once-in-a-lifetime February weather on the north coast.

    I learned that Heather is very fine company . . . once I got past her ground rules (did you know anything left in her car becomes her property?!) and built up my resistance to mace.

  4. Hey, I know the Iowa butter cow lady’s son!!

    Yeah, the Tillamook cheese is good, but did you try the ICE CREAM?! (hint: chocolate peanut butter)

    If Dave has not introduced you to Terminator Stout yet, then shame on him, he’s being a bad host.

    Thanks for the pictures, sometimes I miss Oregon, but I definitely don’t miss the rain!

  5. My family always took educational vacations. . . while my friends went to Disneyland, we went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. . on a hot, summer morning. . . and then went to the Bumble Bee Tuna packing plant!!!!!

  6. not to rub it in, but… i completely get it in regards to the new green lushness of your living environs. after LA’s dry dry dry world, i find myself astonished and extraordinarily pleased to find a puddle of water, or running streamlet, or standing water that does not have the pretty sheen of oil floating on its surface.
    i was out walking a few days ago and stumbled on a huge tract of undeveloped land, 3 blocks from my house. filled with trees and flowering bushes and the sounds of running water, it was a delight. even when i ended up ankle deep in ice cold water and mud, it put a big sappy smile on my face, instead of the expected scowl. yeah for water!

  7. Just the PICTURE of all those cheeses makes my lactose intolerant stomach rumble.

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