It is with some reluctance that we leave the far Pacific Northwest, as God has blessed the area with much beauty and a mild climate. I think especially about the climate part because, as we head south and east toward Texas, the climate will become increasingly, well, un-mild. I think we're going to have to find a place in the mountains to spend summers now that we're both retired. We seem to be getting less and less tolerant of the blazing Texas heat as we get older.
The Seattle-Portland area, with all its attractiveness, has some liberal quirkiness that tweaks a staunch conservative like me, but I try not to bring too much of that into this blog. I've found that most people's minds are made up about such things, and that's not what this rag is about, anyway. But, there are some things we became aware of here that we just don't see in Texas, like Prius taxicabs or billboards that read, "Tax the Rich." (In Texas, we like the rich, because it's a good place to get rich.) We also don't see the point in paying inflated gas prices so someone can perform the unneeded task of pumping our gas. (Why stop there? Let's bring back elevator operators and put firemen back in the locomotives.) And lastly, we think the only pot smoking we should see is when someone burns the chili!
Okay, I digressed; let's move on.
As a last meal in Portland, we selected Seasons and Regions, a neighborhood place with an eclectic menu, where we ordered halibut amandine and a shrimp salad. They were wonderful, and not excessively priced, so they go on the favorites list!
|Seasons and Regions Restaurant|
|Halibut Amandine at Seasons and Regions|
As we moseyed toward the Oregon coast, we stopped at Tillamook to check out the Tillamook Cheese factory. We like their cheese and buy it in Texas, but we didn't know they make other dairy products like ice cream and yogurt. Their large plant complex is built adjacent to Highway 101, but we were surprised to find that the place was mobbed with tourists--a virtual madhouse!
Now we really don't like crowds, so what were we to do? We wanted to take a look, never having been to a cheese factory before, but was it worth it to brave the throngs of people who were spilling out of every door and waiting in long lines to buy cheese and ice cream? We decided to give it a shot, knowing that we may never go this way again. We made our way inside and up to a viewing area where, on a self-guided tour, we saw big blocks of cheese being cut and packaged in a part of the factory floor. That's it...not what you would call riveting, by any means.
On the same level was a long counter where they were selling Tillamook ice cream, and they were doing a landslide business. We had to get some, of course, and I counted about 30 people ahead of us in line. There were even more people downstairs waiting in line to buy stuff in the dairy store, café and gift shop.
As I observed the mob of people crammed into the visitor area, I had to tip my hat to the Tillamook organization. By offering a rather rudimentary tour of their factory with no employees dedicated to conducting it and selling them mass quantities of their products while they're captured there, they rake in a pile of money with little overhead. Genius!
The ice cream? Well, it was good, but it wasn't Blue Bell (sorry).
The ice cream was a nice appetizer, but it was lunchtime, and there was no place to sit in the Tillamook headquarters café, so we crossed Highway 101 to a dumpy little restaurant called the Old Oregon Smokehouse. It appeared to be a prefab metal building, housing a seafood market and a small open kitchen behind the refrigerated case. The name was a complete misnomer, as there was no smoker that we could see and nothing smoked offered on the menu. My guess is that it may have been a barbeque joint that was turned into a seafood market. Since the fish looked very fresh (they said it was caught that morning), we ordered two servings of (what else?) halibut fish and chips. They were amazingly fresh and tasty, but I can't include the restaurant on my list of favorites because they didn't serve iced tea or glasses of ice, which was the kiss of death by Miss Sandy, for whom iced tea is as essential as water and air. She threatened to report them to the authorities, but I finally convinced her that their failure to offer iced tea was not illegal, to which she replied, "Well, it would be in Texas." (She's probably right.)
Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I do not appreciate it enough every day.