Tillamook, Oregon is a depressing working class town with two agreeable ways to kill an afternoon.
According to the tourist brochure, the Tillamook Cheese factory is one of the top ten visitor attractions in Oregon. (California this isn’t.) Signage inside reads “nearly 1 million visitors stop at the Tillamook Cheese Visitors Center” (a day? a year? since the beginning of time?)
It’s easy to ignore the many badly-designed, text dense displays; the entire factory —packing machines, conveyor belts, workerbees—is visible behind glass from observation decks. (“Wouldn’t it be great if they piped in Raymond Scott music?” said Ralph.)
Back downstairs the free samples are plentiful and strategically located near the refrigerated cases full of cheese, glorious cheese, for purchase (including hard to find varieties). Recipes and instructive materials are available, like the beer and cheese pairing guide and the "Cheese – Care and Handling” booklet.
We skipped the cafe as we were instead drawn to a ramshackle seafood joint directly across the street. (Get the halibut fish and chips, ZOMG.)
Less popular but ten times bigger is the Tillamook Air Museum at the edge of town where vintage, mostly military still-flyable aircraft are parked in a giant former blimp hangar built in 1942. Obey the suggestion to view the video before you pay the planes a visit. (In winter, the tiny theatre will be the only warm spot in the facility.) The “helium room” houses the vintage machinery that once pumped up the blimps and photos of the weird aircraft once stored in Hangar B.