Right in front of our motel was the Astoria-Megler bridge (Washington is on the other side), as well as the Maritime Memorial.
The deceased wouldn't have needed a maritime connection to get a plaque at the Maritime Memorial, so there is a wide range of engravings from gillnetter to cannery worker to ship's cook to oologist (a person who studies bird eggs).
We drove 25 miles south for a quick stop in Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock. Haystack Rock is 235 feet high and is part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Puffins, gulls, oystercatchers, and cormorants nest on the steep surface.
But maybe the rock is most famous for its appearance on the movie, The Goonies.
Cannon Beach was named after a cannon from a ship, which broke apart on the Columbia River bar in 1846, washed ashore on its beaches almost 50 years later.
The Sleepy Monk had a continuous line out the door so we decided to get a drink before continuing the drive to Tillamook, Or.
Tillamook has 6 times more cows than permanent residents, but over a million visitors a year thanks to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. I have always been a huge fan of Tillamook cheese, and made it my mission to visit the factory after I realized that Tillamook is a place not a taste. Before exploring the self guided tour we couldn't resist getting grilled cheese sandwiches. We also couldn't resist people watching. Free cheese samples in Oregon is a magnet for (how can I say this without sounding vain?) the most hideously dressed people in the state. Visitors of the Tillamook Cheese Factory don't just have no fashion sense, they are fashion senseless.
The smoked black pepper white cheddar was our favorite.
So tuck your sweats into your socks, slop around in the mud, have your child cut your hair, and come on over to Tillamook!
Tillamook produces tens of millions of pounds of cheese annually. I can't imagine it is the most intellectually stimulating job, but I predict that it is the response to many school essays turned in to Tillamook School district teachers in response to the question "what do you want to do when you grow up?".
Just 12 miles later we were doing a short hike in Cape Lookout State Park, 500 feet above the Pacific Ocean, looking for whales (without luck).
The view was amazing.
We had to cut the hike short since we still had 60 miles to drive to Newport. Cape Lookout is one of the most popular hikes on the Oregon Coast, uncontested by us.
We were in Newport for just a night, but enjoyed the unique architecture (unique is not uncommon along the Oregon Coast) as we walked to dinner.
The Chowder Bowl place must be packed in summer, there is a permanent sign directing the line. It was really good, I ate almost my entire clam chowder bread bowl, and even Eric (who doesn't ever choose seafood on a menu) loved his fried shrimp.