Ever since I was a kid interested in airplanes, I remember reading about and seeing photos of Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose.” Officially known as the Hughes H-4 Hercules, the Spruce Goose was – at the time and for a while after – the largest aircraft to ever fly. The Wikipedia Page for the plane is a rabbit hole of more information for anyone wishing to delve deeper. After many stops on a long journey, the current home for the plane is the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
I didn’t realize that the Spruce Goose was in Oregon when we started making plans, but I came across a reference to it during our research. When I found out that we would be very close to McMinnville, a town in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine region, stopping there was a no-brainer. Except…the museum had been closed during Oregon’s response to the Covid virus. Fortunately the conditions had improved enough for Oregon to allow museums to re-open shortly before we left home on our trip. Good timing – the state has recently re-entered a lockdown phase the the museum has closed again.
As you can see from the photos, the plane is simply enormous, dwarfing all of the other aircraft in the museum. For even more geekery, check out this article discussing the various calculations of “largest aircraft” along with a size comparison.
Seeing the Spruce Goose in person was a real treat. In fact the entire museum is really well done, with two separate buildings – one for aircraft and the other for space related displays. It was especially nice to have a good indoor thing to do, since all that haze you see in the outdoor photos is smoke. 🙁
When we left Cannon Beach we headed down the coast, hoping to catch some views of the Pacific Ocean scenery before turning east toward McMinnville, a town in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine region. We didn’t get many long-distance views, but we did manage to see some interesting things along the way, including the ferocious prehistoric creature I posted about previously. 🙂
What looks like fog in these photos is a combination of actual fog and smoke from the wildfires farther inland and some drifting north from northern California. Thanks to the magic of white balance adjustment, these look mostly like fog, while the original files have more of an orangey-brown cast to them.
We spent a bit of time exploring the marina in Garibaldi, a small town of 800~ on Tillamook Bay along US 101. The marina provided us with some visual stimulation, and the addition of the smoke/fog allowed for some interesting photographs. Garibaldi is home to a scenic railway – which was not operating – a maritime history museum, also closed and a US Coast Guard station. It might make for a good destination on a return trip, as there appear to be a number of quaint looking inns nearby!
We had hoped to visit the Tillamook Creamery, but it had closed just prior to our arrival due to a combination of the virus and the heavy smoke. So we moved on to Cape Lookout (home of the dinosaur) and Cape Mears to check out the lighthouse before making our way to McMinnville.
Now that winter has decided to arrive and the temperature has turned colder, I’m starting to get back to the photos from our Northwest road trip. I’ve been shooting more than I’ve been processing, so I’m just a little behind but will eventually get caught up!
Kathy & I spent two nights in Cannon Beach, Oregon specifically to see the sea stacks along the coast. Probably the most famous stack is Haystack Rock, which sits just off the coast and literally in front of “downtown” Cannon Beach.
The size and scale of Haystack is a hard to capture in a photograph, but I did include some people in a few of my shots for scale.
Unfortunately, despite being there for two nights and nearly 48 hours, the smoke got so thick that when combined with the usual coastal fog, we only got views of the rock formations the very first night and the following morning. After that I “knew it was out there somewhere” but had to be satisfied with the photos I got.
Shortly after we stopped to take the photo of the sailboat in the previous post, we stopped at a roadside park to take a photo of a covered bridge. The covered bridge paled in comparison to what was across the road!
I don’t even know what to call this. It was definitely a facade of some kind, but I’m not sure what it was hiding – the Google satellite view is inconclusive, and we didn’t cross the road to investigate. It was a little creepy, actually. But made for some interesting photographs! 😉
Someone appears to have a lot of time on their hands and a very active imagination!
One of my most-looked-forward-to stops was the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. The highlight of the visit was getting to see Howard Hughes’ H-4 Hercules aircraft, most commonly known as the “Spruce Goose.”
Wikipedia has a good summary of the aircraft and how it ended up in Oregon for anyone who is interested.
Remarkably, this is probably one of the clearest photos I got of the actual coast of Oregon. Taken near the Cape Mears Lighthouse. Fortunately, this pretty much matches what I thought the coast would look like, so I wasn’t too disappointed. Although I will be happy to try again on a future visit!
You never know what you will come across while exploring some random back road. No idea what the story behind this boat is, but it was sitting alongside a gravel driveway a quarter mile or so from a really nice lake.
Several folks have expressed concerns about our well being, and I thought it would be best to assure you that we are carrying on quite well, thank you very much. I haven’t posted for a couple of days, but we’ve actually been quite busy. I’ll catch up with some Postcards shortly but wanted to give this short update.
While we were in Cannon Beach, Oregon, the smoke moved in with quite a vengeance. And it stayed with it throughout our visit to McMinnville in the Willamette Valley. But other than keeping us from seeing a lot of the beautiful Oregonian scenery, it hasn’t slowed us down much. Tonight (Sunday 9/13) we are in Bend, Oregon. While still in the smoke a bit, we aren’t anywhere near the flames. Rest assured that while we probably passed within 25-30 miles of some of the fires, there is really little danger here unless you are actually close to the fire. The rest is mostly an aggravating, stinky fog, and pretty easy to fix with the right white balance setting in Lightroom! 😉
Monday 9/14 we head to Elko, Nevada where the forecast is for sunny skies, with perhaps a little sun but temperatures in the low 90s during the day. We can put our long pants and sweaters away for a few days!
We left Cannon Beach Friday morning but I am getting closer to “real time” with my posts! We encountered a lot of fog along the coast but got into a lot of smoke as we headed back inland toward the Willamette Valley.