Evergreen Aviation Museum of Oregon

The Evergreen Aviation Museum was an unexpected find on my way to Portland. There were lots of the hotels around that were full or  at a price higher than I wanted to pay, so I after some searching I ended up in McMinnville, Oregon. Now that I had a room for the night I looked around for something to visit the next day.  What a museum of flight. As I only had a few morning hours I examined all the exterior planes and was impressed. They even had a Russian MIG 29! The list of planes at the Evergreen Aviation Museum is very long and quite distinguished.

Evergreen Aviation Museum – Home of the Spruce Goose

The most incredible of all the planes is the Spruce Goose built by Howard Hughes in 1947. At the time The Spruce Goose was the largest plane on earth. Now things may have changed when you say largest what. The Spruce Goose is for sure the largest wooden plane ever built. The wingspan is thought to be the largest. With the advent of stronger and more powerful engines, there are planes with much larger takeoff weights. Anyway it is definitely the largest something or other.

Well, anyway, I loved the driveway  into the Evergreen Aviation Museum. The road is painted as if it was a runway! This is a very nice touch. The the planes adorn the outside are all around the incredibly giant hanger that houses the spruce goose and LOTS and LOTS of other planes! The planes are not cramped in any way. Some aeronautical museums really crunch the place together, but not here. This spacing made for easy pictures. When the museum opened I only had an hour before I needed to meet someone at the Portland airport. So, for 25 bucks I chose to be content with my exterior portion of the museum, and an incredible view into the huge hanger.

This looks to me like a place to spend the day or more. With all the fantastic displays inside, and a giant theater next door it might even take more than a day for those with aeronautical leanings. I am sure I will be coming back to this museum. This place is definitely worth the side trip if you are in the Portland area. 

Lowell Observatory of Flagstaff Arizona

We came into Flagstaff and were so excited about our possibilities, especially the Lowell Observatory. We wanted a nice dinner and a movie. Sounded simple enough. We checked into our motel conveniently located directly across from the Northern Arizona University and right on the old Route 66. Sounds to me like no problem in locating something nice, very nice. We looked up the best rated Indian dinner in Flagstaff and came up with the Dehli Palace.

This sounded perfect, especially since Anet had just returned from a 3 week pilgrimage in India. The Dehli Palace came through with a fabulous meal and we have returned on several trips to or thru Flagstaff. Now it was hard to find the first time as the street number meant you had to pick the correct shopping center, and that took two tries and a lot of go back to go forward to the correct driveway.

Pluto Discovered at Lowell Observatory

Anyway we figured there would be a choice of movie houses in Flagstaff, but that was not to be. There was only one, with eleven screens, and none of the movies tickled our fancy. So we fished a bit and found that the Lowell Observatory was only 3 miles away. Incredible we thought to find an observatory in downtown Flagstaff.

The Lowell Observatory is just up the hill a bit on the Northern Arizona University campus and was open till ten on this night. Additionally there were lectures on Pluto, this year marking the 95th anniversary of its discovery. The night we were there the Pluto Dome was open for tours. It seem  that Pluto’s presence was theorized for some time, but finally spotted by a hard working man right here at the Lowell Observatory. Wow! We got to see the actual telescope and observatory the he used for the discovery. needless to say the staff at the Lowell still think Pluto is a planet and I wholeheartedly agree.

Now the discovery of Pluto was done not by looking at the stars, but by taking photographs and comparing subsequent photos to see how things moved. The stars would cycle in a known pattern, however a planet, like Pluto, would move differently. We go to see copies of the pictures that verified the existence of Pluto, then called Planet X. February 18, 1930 was the day of discovery. Venetia Burney was the 11 year old girl who suggested the name Pluto. Pluto referenced the name of the Roman God of the underworld who could make himself invisible. Additionally Pluto started with the initials P L that were the initials of Percival Lowell who had predicted the existence of Planet X. And so the name was adopted.

Incredible Scientific Talks at Lowell Observatory

The lecture we heard was by an astrophysicist who was so excited, and I believe highly caffeinated. She spoke at over 300 words a minute (estimated)  with occasional gusts even faster. Some of it we got but a lot went into interstellar space never to be heard again.

We toured outside a bit and were given a wonderful look at Saturn through a freestanding telescope on the patio. It is always exciting to find such a friendly energetic staff.

The small museum display of the Pluto discovery revealed many details for me. Pluto will always be a planet for me, no matter what the astronomers decide. The displays and lectures will vary, so call ahead or check the web to get the latest most up to date information.

Camp Roberts Military Museum

The Camp Roberts Military Museum is the largest military museum in California – or so they told me – this is a great museum for military historians and also for everyone to get a picture and feeling of many historical events that are not covered in a movie based history about the battle of so and so. This base has been training hundreds of thousands of men for many decades. 

The museum has a very limited schedule as to when you can enter. So check carefully, and have ID, Registration and insurance ready. Remember the only days are Thursday and Saturday 9 to 4 Only.

Once through the gate you are greeted by the museum annex. It has a display of choppers and tanks in many configurations.  Inside the Annex there are displays from many different battle fields and displays of what conditions were like in the past. It can get quite warm on the base in the summer, however it  gets a great deal warmer inside a tank or in the fields of the deserts where many of the men portrayed were deployed. The base has trained many movie and stage stars, and created a legacy that is worthy of investigation. The barracks of Red Skelton are displayed and the story of his service is one that was almost all done at Camp Roberts.

Camp Roberts Military Museum – Main Building

Proceeding up the road to the main museum, upon entering one is greeted by most welcome air conditioning. It may be a swamp cooler, but whatever it is it was most welcome! There is a 35 minute movie of the history of the camp and I always find these documentaries to reveal so many stories about goings on in the past. The museums entry way will tell the story of the naming of the base. This one was not named for a general! The docents are very helpful and will talk your ears off with stories given the slightest openings. So be ready to be guided through a big piece of California History. This seemingly desolate site hold many secrets. How many can you find?

Crater Lake National Park – Oregon

Crater Lake National Park is on of the finest, prettiest lakes  I have ever seen. It is breathtaking, jaw dropping, and a few more synonyms of incredible. The deep deep blue, and the contrasting beauty surrounding the lake makes for a scene that is etched into my brain. The volcano inside the volcano combines to add up to lasting images.

The volcano in the volcano is the  little island that’s in the middle of the lake. It would be easy to wordsmith with superlatives and drone on and on about this wonderful  park.  It is best to leave part of the wow factor to the visitor. I always recommend stopping at every turn out to enjoy each vista’s particular light, color and terrain. Most of the turnouts require a bit of a walk that is uphill to view the lake and capture those precious digital images.

Crater Lake is a Caldera

As a volcanic creation there are rock formations around the edge in tall spires in some places. There are views of the island and forest that contrast beautifully. There are reflections of the lake on the blue water that can be so clear as to be a beautiful picture upside down or right side up. I enjoy these types of photos and often hang them upside down to see who really looks in detail at the art. 

Crater Lake Lodge

The thrill of the Lodge awaits your visit. As the altitude of the lake is 6,178 foot, the rim around the lake is between 7,000 and 8,000 foot. Note also that the lodge on the lake is booked far in advance, so plan ahead to enjoy one of the planet’s beautiful jewels. It is so beautiful that if I lived closer by I’d be coming a lot more often and just gazing into Crater Lake.  Awesome.

Be aware that the roads close seasonally when there is significant snowfall.

General Sherman Tree

The General Sherman Tree, listed as the largest living thing on earth, makes it a must see on everyone’s bucket list. Well it is impressive, and the tree definitely has pull for visitors. It is Located in Sequoia National Park above Visailia and east of Fresno, it is easy to find. A winding road is definitely worth the drive. To visit the tree there are two options.

General Sherman - World's Largest

General Sherman – Just Ahead

I like to think of the options as the easy way and the harder way. As the elevation is nearing 7,000 foot, oxygen is short, and for city dwellers, even short walks can be difficult. For those who are sedentary, pay attention, and you will be happier on your trip.

General Sherman – The Harder Way

General Sherman Tree - Largest Living Organism

World’s Largest Living Tree – General Sherman

– For the walkers – The longer way is to go to the Sherman Tree main trail and parking. Sounds like
the right thing to do doesn’t it? This will lead you to a what they say is a half mile trail to the Sherman Tree. It is down hill to the tree, and I think it is a lot longer than a half mile down to the tree. It is then about 3 miles back up the exact same trail to the parking lot. Up hill with lots of steps and at over 6,000 foot elevation, this will be very difficult for those unaccustomed to altitude. For the Hikers, it will be a short jaunt.

General Sherman – The Easy Way

Go to the Giant Forest Museum and park across the street. Enjoy the museum for a bit and then Continue reading

Rios Caledonia Adobe – Templeton CA

The Rios Caledonia Adobe was built in 1846. It was a stage stop and a hotel on the route from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Rios Caledonia Adobe - San Miguel

1968 – Before Restoration

Over time things changed, the trains came and finally of course the roads. In 1968 the building was almost totally dissolved by weather.

Today, due to some hard work and steady efforts by the Friends of The Adobes. Rios Caledonia is well maintained and now a restored piece of history for San Luis Obispo County.

Rios Caledonia Adobe - San Miguel - Calofirnia

Caledonia Days Every September

Over the decades the the Rios Caledonia Adobe has been a residence for various families, a stagecoach stop, a tavern, a hotel, a mattress factory, and a tailor shop. 

After sliding into grave disrepair in the 1960’s the building was purchased by the County of San Luis Obispo.  The Friends of the Adobe  was formed to protect, repair and restore Rios Caledonia. Major restoration was completed in 1972 and the Adobe was opened to the public for tours in 1978.  A gift shop is also in the Adobe. Continue reading