DM and MM's USA and Canada 2004 Trip Diary

Day 12 - Tillamook to Portland

Wednesday, 7 April, 2004

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We slept in a little this morning, getting up at 08:30. We had cereal and milk for breakfast and packed the car, then checked the included continental breakfast at the motel, which consisted of individually-wrapped and disgusting-looking pastries, cereal in individual boxes - of half a dozen varieties only the Rice bubbles (Krispies) were not sugar-coated! - and some oranges and apples. I grabbed an orange and Michelle took 4 spoons to use for our own cereal breakfasts.

Our first stop was only a short drive down the road, at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, where we took the self-guided tour, looking at various stages of the cheese-making and packaging process. We could see through windows above the factory floor to where people were attending conveyor belt machines that cut huge blocks of cheese into chunks ready to package. A few times the cheese got caught on the conveyors and caused a cheese-jam that the workers had to fix. Then we went back downstairs to sample some of the Tillamook cheese. We browsed the cheese shop and bought some small individual serve packets of cheese for lunch and I grabbed a pack of smoked salmon jerky too.

We drove north up our old friend, Highway 101, to the small town of Cannon Beach, where we stopped to check out the quaint historical area, remade as a touristy part with gift shops and art galleries. Michelle spotted a Pig'n'Pancake restaurant, which her brother Anthony had said he liked when he had visited Oregon, so we threw out any ideas of not overeating again today and went in to try some pancakes for lunch. We shared plates of buttermilk and sourdough pancakes - each having about 7-8 pancakes. I also had a chocolate milkshake, which was so thick it was almost just chocolate ice cream and I had to eat it with a spoon. Mmmm...

After eating that, we wandered Cannon Beach in a very slight intermittent drizzle some more, seeing some amazing photos in a gallery. We also checked some jewellery stores for silver and turquoise things for my mum, and bought a cross pendant we found in one shop.

Leaving Cannon Beach, we were still full of pancakes and decided the cheese we'd bought would have to be used for dinner. We drove north to the junction with Highway 26 East and took that to Portland. It started raining and got moderately heavy as we drove, but it cleared again as we approached Portland.

Cuban Neighbourhood
Cuban neighbourhood, Portland

We stopped at a parking meter downtown, to look at a map and try to find a spot nearer to Chinatown and the Old Town area, which we thought would be interesting to look at. We were just about to go when Michelle spotted that we had stopped right across the road from a Kinko's, so we stopped in to finally write all the digital photos to a CD. In the 20 minutes it took, we checked our e-mails and news from home. Then we left and found a parking lot a bit further along, which charged us $5 for the evening parking (it was 16:30 by now).

We walked towards Chinatown and Old Town, and noticed that the neighbourhood looked a bit seedy. Checking the Lonely Planet, we read that indeed the Old Town of Portland was not a place to linger, so we turned through the nicer-looking Chinatown to head to Powell's City of Books - a huge bookstore occupying an entire block, the largest bookstore in the USA! It was truly enormous, and we browsed for a while - Michelle got some handy laminated study charts for anatomy and I got a book on baseball history.

Fading Lights
Theatre awning lights, Portland

Then we walked towards Pioneer Courthouse Square and the more savoury parts of town, passing upmarket shops, theatres, and a building on which was perched Portlandia - a giant copper sheet sculpture of a woman - apparently the second largest such in the world after the Statue of Liberty.

Portlandia statue

We passed several parks and shops on our way back to the car. We drove out along Highway 84 to the suburb of Troutdale and our motel. After checking in we drove out to a supermarket to get bagels to go with our cheese, and had a light dinner. I also got a Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk to eat with mine. Then we returned to the motel and ate and turned in for the night.

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