Thursday, May 20, 2010


Tillamook, Oregon area

The highway that follows the Oregon Coast is US-101. It goes north to south from the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, through Oregon and all the way along the coast of California. The whole of the trip is beautiful but some of the prettiest is the section through Oregon. May in the Northwest can offer very nice weather or not so nice, but by then it is rarely real bad and that is what we found. We had sunshine most of the way to our first stop, at the Shilo Inn in Tillamook. This view of Manzanita Beach is looking south from a viewpoint along the edge of the highway, looking down on Manzanita.

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Our trip to the Oregon Coast to celebrate our third wedding anniversary started with our first overnight stop in the town of Tillamook which is the home of the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Pat & I are both fans of cheese and Tillamook is one of the best brands. They also have a nice self-guided tour of the production area as well as a wonderful selection of samples and of course a company store.

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Here is the entrance to the place for visitors. There is adequate parking for cars and RVs so if you are ever in the area, be sure to stop and visit. Our Shilo Inn was just half a mile south of the cheese factory so of course we went to see the place the afternoon we arrived.

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This sign summarizes the capacity of this place. From the upper level visitor area you look down through windows into two sides of the factory. The first is the production side where there are eight of these vats. Each vat holds over 53,000 pounds of milk to make a batch of cheese and it says that each vat can make three batches of cheese a day. They say they are the second largest producer of cheese in the US and I guess this shows why. There is a smaller vat where more specialty types of cheese are made that is in this same room.

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This view shows one of the vats with others in the background, but this really doesn't give you much of an idea of scale of size. They are large.

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On the other side of the visitor's balcony you can see the packaging section of the factory. This is a general view of the forward part of it and shows some of the 40 pound blocks of aged cheese on the path to being cut smaller and then packaged.

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This shows the rest of the packaging section. You can also see pretty clearly the glass windows that visitors look through. This view gave me the most problems with reflections of any place here where I took photos. We were there on a Saturday so I think this was a smaller crew working than you would find on a weekday.

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A closer view of the big blocks being cut smaller. I think these were to end up being five pound blocks but it is also possible that they cut some five and some two pound blocks at the same time from each of the big blocks.

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These guys were sorting the blocks but I am not sure just what they were sorting. I guess they do, though.

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This interesting machine in the background with the blue arms was called the Octopus, for obvious reasons. It was also involved in the sorting/packaging process.

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A little different view of the Octopus. The cheese blocks shown here are wrapped and ready to move to wherever they go next. The moving belts through out the plant keep the cheese moving.

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I am not sure just what size these are but they look too big to me to be the regular 2-pound once that we buy in the store so I think they are the larger five pound size. Those larger ones are probably mostly sold to restaurants. And Costco. I think cheddar is the one they make most of. I read there that mild and medium cheddar age a fairly short time but the time is extended to more like 8 months for sharp cheese. I guess that is the reason sharp is always more expensive to buy.

I learned of cheddar cheese curds at Tillamook Cheese Factory and it is one of my favorite things to snack on. It is available there in their store and I can find the product locally at supermarkets here at home, but the curds I buy from our store are not Tillamook brand.

One of the things I always enjoyed while traveling with my RV was visiting places like this that I found in the places on my route. The Tillamook Cheese Factory is a pretty big operation here in the Northwest and they do like visitors. They make a wonderful ice cream that I tend to stay away from as it seems to add pounds to me. But it is sure good.

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Congratulations on your third anniversary. It sure has gone by quickly!
Looking back through your recent posts... lots of nice photos. Looks like you are having a great time on the road. Does Huggy still tag along?
The cheese factory is amazing.And I always thought cheese came from cows!
Happy 3rd. Anniversary!

Dick your first shot is lovely!
Wow the first pic is magnificent... and happy anniversary!
Hello Neighbor!! I found you over at Diane's and just had to give you a shout. I am a little north of you in Bellingham.

Your photo's are impressive. You obviously know photography!
I have been to the Oregon coast and it is gorgeous. You captured the beauty.

Congrat's on your third anniversary. Hope you have many-many more!
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