One Chocolate Moment, Pacific City, Oregon

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July 30th 2011
Published: August 1st 2011
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Following a long, winding drive up the coast we arrived in the beautiful town of Pacific City, Oregon. Late afternoon with fog rolling in, strong breeze blowing, we drove up to a vacation rental home we discovered on VRBO. Behind a gated community with beautiful beach homes built into the sand and long ocean grasses, the house we rented for two days was perfect! It had three bedrooms and tons of space…including a great kitchen. Pluses: a refrigerator covered in word magnets, decent cooking utensils and Jim’s amazing clams for dinner. Minus: electric stove that is really hard to regulate.

We decided to head to Pelican Brewery upon arrival and test their beers. A great restaurant right on the sand, the brewery had a fantastic Winema Wit for me and McPelican Scottish Ale and Doreyman Dark Ale for Jim. We wandered to the local market and discovered a really nice seafood market and picked up clams, smoked oysters and smoked salmon for dinner – YUM! The house cooled so nicely with an ocean breeze all night long – great night’s sleep.

Today, we awoke and made breakfast quesadillas with baby bay shrimp here at the house and then took a leisurely drive up the coast. We pulled off a few times to take photos of the amazing coastline – one stop included a guy who was laying out a huge parachute. Yes, he was about to jump with a camera helmet and all. I didn’t seem windy enough – or maybe I just wouldn’t be ballsy enough. He drifted down over the ocean and turned to make an effortless landing on the sandy beach. His buddies hoped back into the car and drove down to gather him up.

We continued on to Tillamook, Oregon to visit….yes, Tillamook Cheese Factory. WHO KNEW!?! that this would be the most popular attraction of this leg of our trip. Disneyland lines and crowds – no joke. We knew we had to go in to see what all the fuss was about. We climbed a flight of stairs to overlook a packaging area where workers were cutting, measuring and packaging big blocks of Tillamook cheese. We had an ice cream cone (mine was two scoops – Mountain Blackberry and Fresh Huckleberry) and then went through a tasting line to sample different kinds of cheeses. We found a few interesting things in the gourmet shop: smoked oysters, crackers, a smoked cheddar cheese and seafood brining. We then headed up the road to Blue Heron Cheese – much smaller, but much fancier cheeses. We sampled their brie and blue cheese and selected the herb and garlic brie, a terrific bleu cheese dressing for a salad and a really nice Gewürztraminer.

Our last stop was the Tillamook Air Museum…so cool! A real find! A World War II museum with vintage airplanes in a huge wooden hanger, this place would have been worth it on its own, but today, there was also a vintage car show. Gorgeous vintage cars, totally fixed up with the people who own them standing very close as you peek into the windows. If I had sunk that kind of money and that kind of time into fixing up that car, I would keep a close eye too!

After returning back to the house, we ventured out for a walk to the ocean. Located about five blocks from where we are staying is a beach with sand so fine, you can walk in it with shoes on with no effort. We walked all the way to the shoreline and dunked our toes out of curiosity. The icy cold water took our breath away. We hung out on the sand for an hour or so to catch the most stunning sunset. There is a large rock that jets out of the water right off the shore. When the sun dipped behind it and the incoming fog, the evening took on a peachy pink hue. So worth the wait, but the wind snuck under my skin and a chill set in.

We walked home and decided to make a late dinner with some of the fresh ingredients we have picked up along the way: a garden salad with the bleu cheese dressing from the shop today, brie with smoked oysters and smoked salmon, warm sourdough bread and deep fried oysters breaded with Cajun seasoned/panko crusted oysters from Winchester Bay. They were so beautiful and smelled just like the sea. Jim cooked the oysters perfectly. We had two dipping sauces plus an incredibly hot hot sauce that Jim selected this afternoon at the specialty store…so hot that it didn’t taste good. The Gewürztraminer was a perfect match to the spicy tastes. We are now struggling to stay awake – neither of us wanting this perfect day to end.

In reflecting on the trip at this point, we realize that we have absolutely made the most out of each of stops thus far…each place being so different than the last. We are super comfortable traveling together and really mesh with each other’s habits, rituals and routines.

Off to post some more ‘salty’ phrases on the frig before we take off in the morning. Next stop – Astoria, Oregon.

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