Way before the current wave of food trucks began roaming the streets, there were the ice cream trucks, or in this town, often the ice cream carts – old school vehicles with tingling bells and refrigerated cases that, when you opened them in the heat, let out billows of cold air and paper-wrapped cones and popsicles like colorful frozen presents. Fortunately, there are still ice cream trucks, and at the moment there's also an ice cream VW van, of all things, from which the Tillamook dairy company is giving out free ice cream as part of its current West Coast anniversary tour.

The Tillamook ice cream truck is in Lakewood today, in Torrance and Redondo Beach and Hawthorne (parked at various Albertsons and Vons locations) over the weekend, and then on Thursday, April 17, it will be heading to Westwood, where the truck will be parked outside of Simplethings  Because that's a very good place to be anyway, and a tacit reminder that ice cream made from a farmer-owned co-op that's been around for 105 years is itself a simple thing worth celebrating. Especially when it's free.]
Available flavors, since this is an Oregon dairy and not, well, Ben & Jerry's, include Oregon strawberry, Madagascar vanilla and a raspberry swirl ice cream made with white chocolate.

If you haven't been to coastal Oregon anytime in the last century and did not, as some of us did, spend the occasional summer in Tillamook visiting grandparents whose idea of fun was a tour of the Tillamook cheese factory, here's the backstory. The Tillamook County Creamery Association was founded in 1909 and is still based and headquartered in Tillamook, Oregon, home of that Tillamook cheese factory. The dairy also makes yogurt, sour cream, butter and, of course, ice cream, which they've been making, if whoever painted the bus was right, since 1947. (There's also a pretty cool ice cream counter at the Tillamook factory – the selling point for the visits, if I remember correctly.)

The ice cream tour bus (truck being a relative term) has been on the road since March, traveling from Arizona to Orange County to L.A., where they'll be until April 22, then on to Utah, San Francisco, Sacramento and then back here in late June and early July. 

Check out Tillamook's tour site for exactly when and where they'll be parked. Or you can just follow them from place to place, I suppose, if caravanning for free food is your thing. They'll be at Simplethings at 10874 Kinross Ave., in Westwood on April 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Tillamook's ice cream truck; Credit: courtesy: Tillamook

Tillamook's ice cream truck; Credit: courtesy: Tillamook

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