Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The night was spent at the roadside WalMart in Bellingham. In the morning, after a quick visit to a car wash to get rid of the roadgrime and salt, it was off down I-5 to try to make a mile.
Five degrees temp sounded a lot better than the -20's from back at home.

Pulled off at Exit 111 for a bite, but did not see the big Cabela's store till we were back on the Interstate southbound.
Buying fuel is still a hassle in the US, with the pumps not recognizing our 'Zip codes', and some stations wanting you to guess the amount of fuel you want. I walked out on a couple with that policy!

I decided to make some time and stay on I-5 for a bit, instead of turning for the coast south of Olympia as I usually do. This brought me into Portland at around rush hour - not to mention that it is dark here by 5PM. But at least fuelling in Oregon is totally easy - every station is full service, and there is no problem with the credit card.

I did decide to head for the coast just south of Portland, and took highway 99, then 18 till I found myself in McMinnville, well after dark and a bit tired. When I spotted a 747 parked along the roadside and some very impressive glass-fronted structures, it was worth investigating. I found out that this was the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum . I drove in and parked among some fighter jets, and decided to spend the night.

In the morning I wandered around the outdoor exhibits, before venturing inside.

There were some fairly impressive aircraft all around.
Admission to both the Air and Space Museums was $26. and I wondered about adding in the Imax ticket, but I was glad I did not as I had to be kicked out of the space museum when they closed at 5!
Was was a FLIR display and I took a photo of this suspicious looking guy taking a photo of his photo.
Some of the aircraft were pretty much hands-on, including this one.
A fairly impressive array of guages and swithces to keep track of - all while trying to fly. And they don't want us to drive on the ground with a cell phone!
This is the outside of this fighter with Howard Hughes original, wooden Spruce Goose in the background.
This was a UAV - an unmanned reconnaisance vehicle of the modern era.
There were planes and helicopters of every description hanging from the rafters all over.

But everything else was dwarfed by the Spruce Goose, or HK-1 as it was known. It had 8 engines, a crew of 17, was designed to be able to transport two Sherman tanks. And it was built almost entirely of wood, as the wartime government did not want to divert any metal from the war effort. The plane only flew once, when Hughes decided to lift off the water during what was supposed to be a taxi test. The wings are big enough that a tall man can walk down inside them. And the story of the planes eventual move to it's present location is a story in itself.
And lastly, there was an SR-71 Blackbird over in the Space museum side.

By the time the museum closed at 5 it was dark, so the huge parking lot seemed an inviting place to stay. Tomorrow - on to the coast?

No comments:

Post a Comment