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Oregon—On our way to the Coast
Monday we were on the move. We packed up and left Crown Point RV Park and headed to the coast. Our first stop was the Airstream dealer, where they completed a repair of our thermostat. Right next door was the Dodge dealer where we picked up a part for our truck. In less than an hour we were on our way.
Our next stop was the small town of McMinnville at the home of the Spruce Goose. It turns out there is a large air museum associated with the Spruce Goose along with an adjacent water park. Mounted above the waterpark building there’s an old 747 with numerous waterslides coming out of its sides. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere, both facilities are tied in with Evergreen International Aviation, Inc. whose corporate headquarters are located just across the road. Our next door neighbor, Brad Goff, is a pilot for Evergreen and flies those huge 747s all over the globe. In fact, he flew that waterpark 747 to its supposedly final resting place in Arizona before it was chosen to be the designated centerpiece for this waterpark, and consequently brought to Oregon.
The Spruce Goose is a prototype heavy transport aircraft designed and built by Howard Hughes. It made its first and only flight on November 2, 1947 with Howard Hughes at the controls. The actual log book for the plane with that single entry is on display. After that flight Hughes retained a full crew to maintain the mammoth plane in a climate controlled hanger until his death in 1976. At first he maintained a crew of 300 people. Later it was reduced to 50. After his death it was moved to a domed hanger in Long Beach. In 1992 it was acquired by the Evergreen Aviation and SpaceMuseum and the process of moving it up the coast and inland started. It was disassembled, transported by barge up the coast and eventually trucked to McMinnville. It took eight years to restore it and put it back together.
The plane is truly huge. You enter from the middle. For an additional $50 you can tour the top deck, sit in the pilot’s seat and get your picture taken. The interior picture cannot give the sense of how big it is. Beach balls were filled inside the wing floats in case those floats sprung a leak.
The Museum has two huge beautiful hangers with an IMAX facility in the middle with 4 theaters. The cost of the movies is included in your admission price. The hanger with the Spruce Goose houses beautifully restored planes up to the end of WWII. There are several fighters parked out front including a Mig 29. The second hanger houses newer planes and the Space part of the museum. Chris enjoyed about three hours touring the place and watching a 3D movie while Melinda downloaded and edited photos in the camper. While we were there, three military helicopters landed and their crews hung around for awhile at the museum.
Now it’s on to the PacificCoast. We’re quite excited about having a change of scenery, anticipating a totally new experience.
Enjoying an afternoon with planes,
Chris and Melinda