The Wanderings of Steve and Diana travel blog

Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose

Howard Hughes Spruce Goose

Spruce Goose

Historic, original brass bubblers in downtown Portland.

M t. Hood from Highway 26 scenic drive

Columbia River Gorge from Interstate 84

Kite boarding on the Columbia River in Hood River, OR

Multnomah Falls view from Historic Columbia River Highway. Falls cascade over 620...

Vista House at Crown Point State Park. Most photographed and recognizable site...

On the way to the resort in Welches from Cloverdale, we stopped in McMinnville to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum where they have Howard Hughes old ‘Spruce Goose’ on display. Ironically, most of the huge plane is actually made of birch. It was quite impressive and the story of how it got there was quite amazing. To produce the giant, Howard Hughes and his staff worked from 1942 to 1947, spending $18,000,000 federal dollars and $7,000,000 of Hughes’ own money. Completed in 1947 after the end of World War II, the winged giant made only one flight. After flying her, Hughes stores his Flying Boat away in a special hangar for 33 years. After his death in 1976, the Aero Club of Southern California saved the Flying Boat from disassembly. In 1992, the Hughes Flying Boat was disassembled and transported by barge up the west coast to Portland, OR. In 1993, it arrived in McMinnville at the museum where volunteers began work on the aircraft’s exterior restoration. In 2001, the restoration was completed in its new museum home.

Memorial Day weekend was great. Surprisingly, the weather here has been fantastic and sunny. One day we went to Portland and did a 10K walk in the downtown area and on the waterfront. They have a huge waterfront park on the Willamette River downtown. Every Saturday they have a huge arts/crafts market on the waterfront. Mingling with the locals was an experience; we never saw so many piercings and tattoos. Downtown Portland has to be one of the most dangerous cities to walk in. They don’t yield to pedestrians and would just as soon run you over. Ah, but the coffee shops are everywhere. Yum.

On Sunday, we did a terrific loop drive that took us on highways 26, 35 and Interstate 84 that went around Mt. Hood and along the Columbia River Gorge. The wind along the Columbia River Gorge is constant – I guess that is why they invented kite boarding there. The views were phenomenal, especially on the Historic Columbia River Highways. Part of the old historic road is very windy and narrow, but goes by several waterfalls and was very congested. We got stuck in a traffic jam for a while because some fool in his motor home couldn’t get over one of the bridges because of all the traffic. Traffic was backed up behind him for miles.

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