“Love” letter delivered via email
Every once in awhile, we receive a letter (totally unsolicited) that helps us improve our services. These thoughtful remarks made by our customers are reviewed by our staff and end up contributing to our plans for a better Oregon. Recently, we received what the writer herself called a love-letter. You can read Nancy K. Anderson’s letter below, with some of the great photos she took on her recent “after” stop at OTE’s Tillamook rest area.Dear Oregon Travel Experience,
This is a before and after story about the Tillamook River Rest Area. Or, maybe it’s a love letter.
BEFORE: About three years ago, I was driving up the coast from my brother’s house near Langlois, on my way to Cannon Beach before turning inland to Portland. I was making a vacation day of it, stopping for little walks on various beaches, getting a cup of coffee here, a snack there, etc., every hour or two to give myself breaks all along the way. I wasn’t on a schedule, it was beautiful summer weather, and I was just enjoying the day.
As I neared Tillamook, I was plotting where in town I would make a “fluid exchange” stop (my soon-to-be-100-year-old dad’s term for it). Driving along, I suddenly noticed a Rest Area sign. It appeared too suddenly to give me time to stop, though, so I drove on down the road a bit, and as soon as I could do it safely, turned around and came back. After fulfilling my priority mission, I walked up and down the parking lot several times to stretch my legs and get my circulation going again. The rest stop wasn’t actually a very pleasant place to rest, though. Other than the basic amenities, it was just a hot parking lot, dry grass, big asphalt trucks parked one behind the other, huge mounds of blackberry brambles all along the edge of the paved area. The only saving grace were the trees on the other side of the trucks and blackberries; they cast some shade onto the pavement.
As I walked back and forth, I thought I could hear water on the other side of the trucks and blackberries. Curious, I poked around until I found an opening through the brush. On the other side, I made my way down a grassy slope to a lovely mowed field under the trees and beside the river. It was a different world from up above – cool and peaceful and beautiful – dappled sunlight on the grass, the gentle sounds of the river covering the traffic noise up above, its own little secluded park. Surprised and enchanted, I went back up to my hot car for some necessities – my book, water, snacks, jackets and “stuff” to lay down for a makeshift blanket – and spent the next couple of hours in my own little world. The only other person around was one man fishing farther along the river bank.
AFTER: I’ve told many, many friends about my unexpected, secret mini-vacation. I didn’t know if it had a name; I couldn’t find one anywhere. And I didn’t know exactly where it was, mileage-wise. But this past Sunday, October 6th, I was returning from the Lincoln City Kite Festival with a friend to whom I had told the story. We needed a rest stop, and I figured “my” spot was about four miles south of Tillamook. So I watched the odometer and caught the Rest Area sign in time to turn in. As soon as I did, though, I was amazed! It was a different place than I remembered. Everything was so clean. No more big trucks. No more blackberries. A lovely split rail fence. A clear view down to the trees, grass and river. A cute, tidy OTE building and a very nice staff person to give us some background and history of the revamping. What a fabulous change! I commend you and congratulate you and thank you!
Because I love this stop so much, I would like to make one request: Please place signs on the highway in either direction, far enough ahead to alert motorists that the Tillamook River Rest Area is coming up. I’d hate for other people to miss what you have turned into such a pleasant oasis for Oregon coastal travelers.
Thank you from a fan,
Nancy K. Anderson