The Goose and the Blackbird

A zero day. I think we were all ready for a day off the bikes. Today was it. It wasn’t exactly zero miles as we needed to ride the 3 miles into McMinnville to Shari’s Restaurant. We had visited another Shari’s a few days ago and were pleased with it.

After this good meal, we retraced our 3 mile route back past the Red Lion Motel and then 1 more mile to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum. I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with this facility but I had heard of a couple of the star attractions.

Howard Hughes designed and built an aircraft made of wood. It sounds crazy now but it actually worked (at least once). The plane skin is made primarily of birch but it became known world wide as The Spruce Goose. We were standing under it’s massive wings (all 319 feet of its wingspan).

They let us walk all around and even inside the massive belly of the “boat”. Technically it is a boat that flies. It’s just hard to imagine the skill that went into bending the wood, developing the glue, calculating the stresses, and making the 8 engines (each generating 3,000 HP) run together.

Howard Hughes may have become a little “unique” later in life but in his prime – he and his company did this. It’s an amazing feat of engineering. You should come and see it for yourself.

Mike and Max get ready to be swallowed by the Goose. (Masks were removed for a few seconds for this picture. We’re diligently wearing them in public.)

There is one other aircraft that I have always been fascinated with. The SR-71 was another demonstration of American ingenuity and engineering prowess. I walked the short distance from the Air Museum to the Space Museum portion just to see the giant black airplane – know everywhere as the Blackbird.

The air and space museum have many, many aircraft on display. If you appreciate the history of air travel, this is a “don’t miss” stop in the western part of Oregon. While I was here there was only one more order of business to take care of before I made a quick run to the local Wally World. I had to have a new addition for my hatpin map.

Dinner was once again at the Golden Arches next door. I gave up quality for convenience again. I’ve been trying to get to the guest laundry here in the motel but finally gave up. Someone must have saved up and has a month’s worth of clothes down there. With only 1 washer and 1 dryer, I’m giving up for today. We’ll just have to ride extra far apart tomorrow.

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