Born to Drive

About ten days ago something happened that rarely happens: a work trip coincided with a little planned vacation, and Julia was able to accompany me. We had been planning a mad dash of a trip to Portland, and then a customer materialized for a project out in Tillamook, OR, which is just about 90 minutes west of PDX. So rather than fly I rented a car in Missoula on Tuesday evening and we blasted out very early for the 8.5ish hour drive to Portland, then from there out to Tillamook by afternoon. It was the quickest 8-9 hour drive I’ve ever done, I think.

(Hey, beleaguered reader, I know you’re busy, so wanna skip all the jibber jabber? Dig the epic slideshow of images from this trip right HERE)

The only stop we made in Portland outbound was IKEA. Julia had her eyes on a chair, so we braved marital discord to take a cruise through there. I say “marital discord” because, as we were leaving, Julia commented that we’d made it through. Apparently this is one of those stores that can make husbands and wives get short with one another. I don’t know, I was just happy to stretch my legs a bit. It was actually fun.

It’s mindboggling too, the way all these areas are set up so fancy; the arrangements screams, “If you buy this, you TOO can have the perfect home!” We were sitting in one little living room set, and Julia said something about how we don’t have any rugs on our floors. I said it’s because we can’t have nice things. I said if we want to decorate them, we should just throw down rushes; straw. There was a woman nearby who burst out laughing. Sadly, it’s kind of the truth.

Our favorite set was this little 235 sq ft setup they had. I could totally live in that amount of space — it would be perfect. It was so much better than all the huge kitchen and living room setups. 235 sq ft to live in, then a studio out back about the same size? Perfect. After browsing around about an hour we went out to the warehouse to get our chair and stuff.

Then it was time for a reward.

From there we bolted out to Tillamook. We checked into our motel, then  chilled out a little. We went for a reconnaissance  drive and saw the factory for Tillamook Cheese, and learned they have a visitors’ center. Of course we had to stop!

Inside they have a gift shop and a store where you can buy their merch and other Oregon stuff. What they also had was a raised balcony where you could look out over the production floor. That was pretty cool. There was plenty of cheese makin’ going on.

You know what’s in these vats? Well, Tillamook makes ice cream too….

Which we were then obligated to sample, of course. And by sample I mean “eat huge double scoops stuffed into a waffle cone.”

I know this all sounds touristy as hell. So what would a touristy report be without a goofy touristy photo to go along with it?

Hey, Kids

From here it was on to the ocean. A chilly, blustery day out on the coast, but beautiful as ever. What needs to be said about the ocean, really?

We wrapped up the evening with dinner from a taco truck. What a perfect way to end an awesome day.

The next morning before work I got up early and went for a walk out behind the motel into Tillamook farm country. It was a cool, misty kind of morning . . . but beautiful. Yeah, it’s dairy country, so the smell wasn’t that great, but I still enjoyed it. Snapped a few pictures while sauntering about.

I wrapped up work early that afternoon and we dashed back to Portland in time to check into a new motel, freshen up, then head out toward the Powell’s Books location on Hawthorne. We went to a cozy restaurant called 3 Doors Down and joined one of my favorite authors, Bonnie Jo Campbell, for an epic feast. She was in town teaching in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University, and tied in a reading from her brand new book, Once Upon a River (click the link for a chance to win a copy!). She was also accompanied by her friend (and former student, I believe) Eric Miller, whom we are all too happy to meet as well. The final member of our party was a kind woman whose name totally escapes me; also a former student. After stuffing our faces, we walked around the block to the store and attended the reading. It was excellent. I was going to videotape it, and thought I did, but apparently the batteries failed. Boo!

Wait, was it that? Could it be a Donkeygirl original that Bonnie is wearing? It is! Julia brought it for her, and Bonnie dashed into the restroom so she could wear it during the reading. How kind of her! She even introduced Julia to the room as her “personal designer.” Now the two them are hatching up costume ideas to dress Bonnie’s two donkeys in.

She looks so serious in these pictures, but hey — writing and reading is serious! Bonnie, however, is every bit the gas to be around I expected she’d be. Can’t wait for her to come to Missoula this fall so we can hang out some more.

After the reading, stuffed, we retired back to the hotel. The next morning we slept in, I snapped a couple shots out our window, then it was back on the road. We made it home in time for me to play a rock show with AMERICAN FALCON that night, then up early the next morning for Saturday Market. Yeah, it was a lot of driving and a whirlwind trip, but it was worth every minute.

As if all these photos aren’t enough, there are even more! You can see a slideshow on my flickr page HERE.

8 thoughts on “Born to Drive

  1. Kirsten

    The Tillamook visitor center is the only place I have actually found their habanero pepper cheese. Mmmmm…

  2. April Blankenship

    The Tillamook factory is pretty neat. And their ice cream is fantastic! Great pics. Glad you didn’t get divorced in IKEA! I’ve never been, but I covet many things on their website.

  3. David Cranmer

    Thanks for taking us along on the trip, Chris. I would have gained twenty pounds by the end of that one. Love the shots of the train tracks.

  4. chrislatray Post author

    That visitor center is fun. And if not for Big Dipper, Tillamook might be my favorite.

    David, who’s to say I didn’t gain 20 pounds? I felt like it after the dinner in Portland, that’s for sure.

    Patti, you should attend one of the release events for the book out your way.

    1. chrislatray Post author

      They sell (generally) inexpensive furniture and stuff like that, much of which you have to put together when you get home. I hate a lot of it, but some of their designs are pretty clever. We tend to look at things to get ideas for stuff we’ll make ourselves. Which, of course, we never do.


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