The long and winding road: Benema at the beach pt2

You can read about the first half of our day at the beach here.

When you’re traveling with two small children you need to think carefully about planning your trip around nap times. This is especially difficult when one of the children is still taking two naps. Before Samuel was born, I had forgotten about the inconvenience of the late morning nap.

But sometimes you have a day when you just get the timing right and our trip to the beach was just that type of day. Both boys slept in the car on the way to the coast int he morning and woke as soon as we arrived. We played on the beach and had lunch and, by the time we were ready to continue our drive down the coast to catch the alternate route, they were both ready to pass out again for an hour or so. Not only did this ensure we were avoiding two cranky children, but the adults were able to stop the car a few times on the way to take in the sights without having to worry about getting the kids in and out of carseats.

We had one primary reason for driving the long way home – the Tillamook Cheese Factory. We have driven by the factory a number of times but have never ventured in – once arriving 5 minutes after it closed (one of the more frustrating moments of my life).

This time, however, we arrived many hours before closing and we had two freshly napped children – nothing was going to stop us.

The first thing that hits you in Tillamook is the smell of cows and cow manure. It’s not pleasant, but I suppose it’s necessary and a good reminder that some animals work hard so I can eat that delicious sharp Tillamook Cheddar. Still – makes me grateful that I live some distance from the source.

The visit begins with a view of the factory. It was mesmerizing watching them cut the cheese (yes, we heard the jokes).

And then the walking tour leads to the store and…samples!

(My brother teased me for taking this photo at the time but I bet his mouth is watering now. You’re welcome, Ben.)

The finale – ice cream all round. I think Thomas would have had a meltdown if we didn’t get ice cream. He chose chocolate (of course) and ate the entire thing.

And of course we couldn’t leave without the goofy photograph.

Then we got in the car and drove back to Portland. The end? Not quite…

There’s a story that members of my family like to tell over and over again. It involves a windy car ride from Sydney to Melbourne, a stop at the cheese factory where we ate ice cream and cheese samples and a little girl who didn’t have time to tell her father to stop the car before throwing up all over the back seat and her two brothers. My mum and my brother Ben are particularly fond of telling this story at every family gathering.

Well, I have some good news. Now Ben has a new story to tell. We were just miles from home and Thomas had been quiet for a little while – he didn’t seem quite himself. In hindsight the signs were there, but at the time we really had no warning. Poor Curious George was collateral damage and had to be washed three times and sprayed with febreeze before I was finally able to get the smell of vomit out of his fur. Thankfully we had a few days to air out the rental car before returning it.

Thank you Thomas for changing the subject, although I apologise in advance for the fact that your uncle and grandmother (and possibly your aunt) will still be talking about this incident when you’re 30.

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