Saturday, July 9, 2011

All Spruced up

"Hurry up! McMinnville awaits!" Mrs. Hall's eyes were barely open and her aching muscles reminded her of yesterday's adventures at the falls. Giddy as a little kid, Mr. Hall taxied the rental under the hotel canopy just as Mrs. H. came down with the bags. The little car had but a scant 2000 miles on it when the Halls picked it up in Seattle, but it was going to put a lot more behind it by the time they turned it in.
About an hour from where they had been staying was Evergreen Aviation Museum. Rising out of the low vineyards and farms in the flatlands between two mountain ranges, the tree-shaped buildings with their dark green colored glass were a stark modern element on the horizon. The museum held many fine examples of WWII fighter planes and modern helicopters, but the big draw- the main reason Mr. Hall had been chomping on the bit to come- was the addition of Howard Hughes' H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" to the collection. Though having flown only one short trial run for just over a mile, the Goose made aviation history. It dominated the space and dwarfed the planes around it, and its bow came right up to the window of the barn.
The second building held their air and space museum, though it was primarily concerned with Cold War competition over the Space Program. There was a replica of a Titan missile silo, but after the Halls had already visited the real thing two years ago, it was a poor substitute. Of course, they had to hang around Mrs. Hall's favorite, the SR-71 Blackbird ("This is the fifth example of a Blackbird I've personally visited!" Mrs. H. gushed.) Behind the barns were several static displays, of more warbirds and lots of old tanks. There was a RC model landing strip and a couple of model enthusiasts showing off their aerobatic skills. And there was a third building off to the south that was apparently a water park; it was topped with a freshly painted Boeing 747 sporting a number of water slide tubes coming out of its sides. "What a waste of a perfectly good airplane!" griped Mr. Hall. He was all right with dangling out of service jets and planes in all sorts of poses from museum ceilings, but he had to draw the line somewhere, and using the jumbo jet as a water play park was definitely over that line.
Grabbing a quick bite in the lunch room, they continued their drive to the west and eventually ended up on the Oregon Coast Highway Route 101. Rugged and foreboding, the waves dashed up on the shores and the wind blew the little car around on the road. Mrs. Hall foraged about in her bags when they stopped to look over a precipice, and found her sweater. As she stood snapping pictures left and right, Mr. Hall contented himself with contemplating their next navigation and annoying the local sea fowl. They followed the coastline for hours and finally arrived in the historical old port town of North Bend/Coos Bay.
"Look! They've got a sushi diner!" cried Mrs. Hall, who was feeling a little peckish after the drive. "With shrimp tempura and saki!" "Look- they've got a casino!" cried Mr. Hall. "and quarter slots and five dollar roulette tables!" Having clearly found the perfect diversions to fit their interests, the Halls decided to bed down right there. From the patio of the casino, they watched the fireworks over the bay, cashed in their winnings and hit the hay. Next episode: Snowballs in summertime. Stay tuned!

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