Posted by: GeekHiker | September 25, 2007

Oregon Trip Day 7: Big Planes and Little Creeks

This morning started out again with breakfast at the hotel. Biscuits and gravy. Not nearly as good as my southern grandmother used to make, but not bad.

We then made a quick run to the grocery store, mainly for turkey dogs (we are camping, after all), then back to the hotel to pack the cars and head off for the coast.

Having picked up a brochure during breakfast, JaG was amenable to taking Route 99w to Route 18 out to the coast, stopping along the way in McMinville to see the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

The place is owned and operated by Evergreen International Aviation, Inc., the biggest aviation company you’ve never heard of.

Evergreen’s claim to fame is that it’s the home of the Spruce Goose and, having missed it during it’s time in Long Beach, I was interested to see it.

The fact that JaG was as well is just, well, cool.

Pulling off the highway, we approached the massive building that houses the plane. In Long Beach, the plane had been kept inside a dome, all by itself (as far as I know). What I didn’t realize was that, under the Goose’s massive wings, were parked several of dozen equally interesting planes.

As such, we spent the next couple of hours wandering around, reading the sign-boards for the planes, which were fascinating since they included both general history of the model and specific history of the plane right there in front of you.

As for the Spruce Goose, you could walk into the main deck, looking down the fuselage and learning about how much the plane could transport. I eschewed dropping $50 to see the Goose’s cockpit.

Gotta draw the line somewhere.

Day 07 - Spruce Goose Nose

The nose of the Spruce Goose, three(!) stories tall.

Still, it’s really just impossible to communicate how BIG this thing really is. Photographs barely do it justice:

Day 07 - Spruce Goose Front End

The Spruce Goose with a mock up of the Wright Brother’s plane in the foreground.

And to think it actually flew.

Now, I’m not a huge plane geek (more medium-sized), but I will dip into it for a moment since they had a beautiful F4U Corsair there:

Day 07 - Corsair

I liked it so much, I’m going to subject you all to this lovely panoramic of it.

Day 07 - Corsair Photomerge


In the middle of this, we took a lunch break, sitting in the bed of the truck eating the (now famous) Turkey Sandwiches. Unfortunately we also discovered, by JaG sitting in the puddle, that my trusty old ice chest had spring a leak. Oops.

Across the way from us construction was continuing on a second building on the site, the same massive size as the first. Joking ensued on what would be kept in there (the banner said it was intended for space travel hardware). We supposed they’d probably house the Saturn V. Or maybe the VAB. And give Saturn 5 rides for $100.

Oh, yeah, we’re geeks.

Pushing ourselves through the museum (we could easily have spent all day there), we headed down the coast on U.S. 101, making a quick (and very windy stop) at the Yaquina Head Light Station. Unfortunately, the station had closed for the day, so we snacked on a couple of JaG’s tasty homemade granola bars and headed down the road. (More info about the station here.)

Day 07 - Yaquina Head Light Station

Yaquina Head Light Station

Regretfully passing many more interesting sites, we finally pulled into Cape Perpetua Scenic Area for the night. Having worried about the wind since the lighthouse, both JaG and I were relived to find the campground located in a canyon alongside a burbling creek. We hurriedly set up our tents just as the sun was going down.

Day 07 - Cape Perpetua Campground Creek

Creek just behind our campsite

The rest of the evening was spent roasting hot dogs over the fire, eating potato chips, and making s’mores, plus general conversation, which has been one of the best parts of traveling with JaG.

As the temperature started to drop and a full moon rose (we walked to the bathrooms sans lights. Living in the city, you can sometimes forget how bright the moon really can be), and we headed for our respective tents, lulled to sleep by the sound of the creek…



  1. wow, the spruce goose looks awesome… i would love to see it in person.

    ya know, i live just 10 mins from the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in Chantilly VA – the space shuttle and the enola gay are there plus many many other awesome aircraft. and they have an imax!

  2. charlotte – am I sensing a little bit of a plane geek out there? 🙂 And is that an invitation to hop a plane back east? The last time I was at the Smithsonian I was 9 or 10. The Enola Gay was out in a warehouse at the time and they were still trying to figure out an “appropriate” way to display it…

  3. yes! the enola gay is about a 20 minute drive (or less) from the usgs map store – LOL!

  4. This is my favorite day by far!!!!!!!!!!! VERY WAY SUPER COOL!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  5. So fun! I feel its a bit mean to name a plane “goose” but whatever…planes are so much cooler than geese!

  6. charlotte – hmmmm, I may have to start coming up with an itinerary for a trip back east… 😉

    *kb* – It was a fun day, lots of variety!

    Ruby – The name was given by Hughes critics, and it just kinda stuck. The plane is actually mostly Spruce!

  7. Mmm, camp food!

  8. […] kissmar wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThis morning started out again with breakfast at the hotel. Biscuits and gravy. Not nearly as good as my southern grandmother used to make, but not bad. We then made a quick run to the grocery store, mainly for turkey dogs (we are … […]

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