We needed to get out-of-town. We thought about going to Tacoma, but events proved to make that not possible.
So, we went to McMinnville instead. Out-of-town friends had gone to McMinnville and somehow that triggered in Jer the desire to see the Spruce Goose. The Spruce Goose, a Howard Hughes production, is housed in the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum and is the largest airplane ever built (flown only once). The SG was barged from California, where it had been stored, came up the Columbia and the Willamette Rivers, through Willamette Falls, and finally, in very large pieces, got to McMinnville, where it was reassembled and became the prime artifact in what is now a large museum complex.
It took me half-an-hour to find the Spruce Goose in the aircraft museum. There are three other buildings in the complex: the space museum, an omnimax theater, and a water park. We only made it to the aircraft museum, where I kept looking for the SG.
I found, instead, this:
As this is one of perhaps 50 aircraft within the main area of the aircraft museum, it doesn’t get a lot of attention. But my father worked at Piper Aircraft from 1936 through about 1972, and may have welded one of the pieces on this little critter, so I found it charming.
That half hour that it took me to find the Spruce Goose?
See the big silver bit above the yellow piper cub? That is part of the tail assembly of the Spruce Goose. It is so big, it hovers over every other aircraft, including WWII bombers. I couldn’t find it because it was too big.
We are glad we went to see the Spruce Goose: it’s an Oregon site-to-visit. We probably won’t go again, unless visitors need to see it. We don’t know many engineers, pilots, nor WWII aficionados, so probably we won’t go back.
But McMinnville is always charming. We stayed in the very best room in the McMenamin’s Oregon Hotel, a corner room with windows on two sides and an en suite bathroom; we ate at Nick’s Italian Cafe, about which I can only say we will return and return and return. And we took a side tour through the coast range on back roads through the Siuslaw National Forest to Hebo, got ice cream in Tillamook, and returned home through the pouring rain, happy to have gotten out-of-town and to have returned. –June