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My friends and I drove through the Oregon coast scenic byways on a roadtrip this past Memorial day weekend. We congregated at Portland, OR, flying in from the SF bay area and Dallas on Thursday night. We met at the rental car location and after a touching moment of reunion and hugs all around – we got down to the business of picking out an acceptable car for our three day trek down the coast.

The kind folks at the rental car desk had decided we deserved a complimentary upgrade to a much larger vehicle than we had requested: we had been assigned a Chevy Traverse. Needless to say, we were amused at what we’d do with an 8-seater for our group of 3, specially as we navigate the fun hairpin turns and S-curves of the OR coast and the far-northern CA coast (think of the Lost Coast, the northern-most tip of Rt. 1 between Leggett and Fort Bragg and the like). We decided to trade in our complimentary upgrade to a more manageable size, and picked a Mazda 6: kudos to their appealing advertisement of the “zoom zoom” mobiles!

I’ve already told you about our Day 1 brunch experience at Broder, Portland, OR. After brunch, we set off towards the coast – heading west through the gentle curves through fields and forests of Rt. 26W, just barely grazing the northern outskirts of the Tillamook State Forest. We met US 101S at Cannon Beach and headed southward, passing by amazing coastal vistas and breathtaking views of the Pacific, the sky and the rugged edges of the coast. We passed the amazingly tranquil Nehalem Bay and continued south to the Tillamook Bay.

We were all excited about taking a break to tour the Tillamook Creamery and check out their cheeses and ice cream. Sure enough – our break did not disappoint. Vats of various types of cheeses were set out for sampling – cheese curds, mild, medium, sharp and ultra sharp cheddar, and even a garlic pepper cheddar (my personal favorite).

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We browsed the aisles of the cheese for sale – blocks of cheddar, grated cheddar, crumbled cheese curds, slices, tubes, little squares – you name a shape and I am sure they had a cheese to represent it! In addition, there were also breads and smoked meats – all the fixings for a picnic basket.

The Tillamook Creamery Cafe also had a generous spread of a variety of creamy fudge. We did ponder whether to pick out a fudge to share during the ride, and then decided to just stick to our ice cream instead! The samples were of a coconut fudge – I wasn’t a huge fan (since I’m not that big a fan of coconut to begin with) but it seemed like others around me really liked it!

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Finally, we got into line for the ice cream. Still not quite hungry after that massive brunch, we decided to get a chocolate and a strawberry cheesecake ice cream and share it amongst us. Pretty great ice cream – creamy, rich and definitely indulgent.

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We chuckled over our collective addiction to the strawberry cheesecake flavor about 7 years ago when we spent most of our time hanging out together over board games, home cooked dinners and late-night music soirees. We went through weeks and months of falling back on strawberry cheesecake ice cream as our default dessert choice. During that time, we had strawberry cheesecake ice cream in all shapes and forms – scooped out elegantly onto dessert bowls and served with a dainty spoon and perhaps decorated with a fragile praline cookie (and perhaps not), spooned straight from the vat and passed around the circle – you name it, the strawberry cheesecake was subject to it 🙂

Soon, ice cream long gone, we sat idly in the warmth of the sunlight streaming in through the large windows, reminiscing. And then we set off. Onwards and southwards along the Oregon coast scenic byways of US 101S!20120528-235901.jpg

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