Sunday, March 9, 2008

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

Our trip each year to California wine country is always filled with discovery, new wineries and their products, but we have not searched out the Pacific Northwest to any great extent. So when we saw that the McMinnville Wine and Food Classic was being held, we decided to be good consumers and contribute to a few small businesses in Oregon. We also anticipated having fun.

It was a 3-day affair with numerous wineries and food vendors, very pleasing live music entertainment, and a few chef demonstrations. How convenient to experience many in one location, and remarkable that it was held at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. Admission helped both the museum and the local Rotary organization, and phenomenal for us was to see this assortment of aircraft. We had never been there, and what a remarkable place it is!

This Douglas C-47 took part in 1944 D-Day, dropping paratroopers over Normandy, France.

And here was a MiG-15.

Inside, we were now at the home of the Spruce Goose!

Howard Hughes partnered with Henry Kaiser to build a fleet of flying transports to safely move troops and materials across the Atlantic during the war. Unfortunately, after 5 prolonged years, an $18,000,000 government contract, and $7,000,000 million of Howard Hughes personal money, Hughes finally flew the plane, one time. . . November 2, 1947. A fascinating story to read. . . (

We were permitted to enter the belly and view the open cargo area, but in order to see the flight deck, a $50 per person contribution was required. Perhaps another time. . . the wine tasting awaits.

Underneath the wing of the Spruce Goose is the aircraft B-71.

A fun event in spacious surroundings, and yes, we did buy some very nice wines from a few of the boutique wineries, an assortment for future enjoyment, and late afternoon and early evening Friday proved sufficient. Our intention is to return to the area and explore other wineries as Oregon is becoming well known for wonderful wines, especially for its Pinot Noir. We see many more finds awaiting us in and around McMinnville.

And the museum will also see us again. So much to see, and we didn't scratch the surface of the museum, the grounds and the other outlying buildings, including an IMAX theatre.

An amazing place! We recommend it. (this photo courtesy of Don Arner)