Saturday, September 29, 2012

2012-33 Oregon, Heading South


Heading south to my Winter Home

Campground:  Sleepy Hollow RV Park, Lafayette OR, 97127. Passport America, $15, full hookups w/cable tv.  Older park with mostly perms.

Campground: Tri City RV Park 187 N Old Pacific Hwy Myrtle Creek OR, 97457. $14 Passport Rate.  Super nice new park.  Mostly all pull thru’s with grass between paved sites.  No large trees to worry about.  Full hookups 50 amp and tons of cable tv stations and free wi-fi.  Two thumbs up.  Note: ignore the sign up front indicating the Passport Rate is $20, it doesn’t apply.

I had a couple extra days in Washington as I waited for the arrival of my campers charger/inverter.  Apparently when one pays for 3 day delivery they (UPS) really mean you’ll get it in 6 days.  Needless to say I wasn’t a happy camper.  You may be aware of deliveries by such a service, I was clueless.  What I learned is they don’t count the day the item is picked up for mailing, weekends, even though they deliver on Saturdays, and they don’t count the day the item is actually delivered.  Making a 3 day delivery stretch to 6 days.  Ok, I’m stepping down from my soapbox, stomp, kick, stomp.

If you’re a roadie like I am,  you’ll understand the angst about not being able to be on the road when your all ready to go.  It’s the feeling that your being chained to a site with the engines revving and eager to get back on the open road.  And I had planned it so well to head out onto busy I-5 on a Sunday to avoid the heavy weekday traffic.  Alas that didn’t pan out.  It hasn’t helped either that the past few days have been overcast, chilly and a bit dreary.

In the mean time, I’ve been tinkering around with my smartphones internet connect, the laptop and my flat screen TV.  I’m in an area that has excellent 4G service and decided to experiment with streaming online TV from the computer to the big flat screen tv in my living room.  I got online and connected to the web site HULU where I checked out a few shows I’d been missing, selected one and started to watch it on the laptop.  Then I decided to connect the laptop to the tv via it’s 15 pin connection.  My laptop doesn’t have the new HDMI connection, but the 15 pin connection works fine.  Except for some reason it doesn’t port the sound over to the TV.  I was able to go around that by connecting my surround sound system to the laptop and walla, I have super TV reception and surround sound to boot.  Thanks to Tom for spurring my on to this little experiment.  Oh and my Verizon service is the unlimited Internet so I don’t have to worry about going over any allotted minutes.  This morning because I don’t have all that many over the air TV stations in this area, I connected the laptop once again and watched my favorite Sunday Morning Tv show, “Sunday Morning“.  And I only had to watch a 15 second commercial between segments.  It’s amazing how much different 3G is to 4G.  I could never watch videos online with just 3G as they’d keep stopping and skipping.  With 4G it’s really fast seamless streaming of videos.  Now I’m a real happy camper.

On the Road.
Distance:  165 miles.

I finally installed the charger in the camper and all seems to be working correctly.  So on Wednesday, I began my trek south.  Just in time as well, as the temp this morning was 45 degrees.  Fortunately I-5 was not too crowded and the trip was smooth as I also took I-205 around Portland Oregon on my destination to Lafayette where I found a Passport America park and is close to the Evergreen Aviation Museum which has the Spruce Goose.

I stopped in a thrift store in this small town of Lafayette and discovered a real gem of a place for anyone wanting to fill an empty apartment or small home.  As the Second Hand Rose Thrift store/furniture/antique shop was chock full of some really nice furniture and newer decorating items galore.  The sales lady says that things change constantly as their prices were really really low.  Unfortunately they didn’t have anything I needed.  I was almost ready to buy a small place and furnish it on the cheap.  Haven’t seen bargains like that and good quality to boot in a real long time. And no Tom and Christine I didn’t see a table that would fit the camper, but just about everything else.

The wing of the Spruce Goose overshadows this plane

The following day I drove the short distance over to McMinnville to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in particular to see the Spruce Goose.  Built by Howard Hughes in 1947 for heavy transport during WWII.  Built almost entirely of Birch not it’s namesake, Spruce.  Inside the first of three large museum hangers, the Spruce Goose originally named the H-4 Hercules fills the vast open space of the museum.  Imagine a wing span of 320 ft (97.5 M) and a height of a 5 story building and it was designed to fly from and land on water!  It towers over all the other planes on exhibit.  Painted a navy gray on the outside it hardly has the appearance of being made almost entirely of wood.  My friend Eric will be glad to know that they now permit tours of the flight deck for an additional $25 for a family of 6.  With the concept of family being very loosely interpreted.  I was hoping to join a group but was unsuccessful in getting added to someone else’s party as the front desk is not very helpful in that department.  And since I already paid $19 just to see the Spruce Goose, I couldn’t justify the added expense without being able to share the expense with at least a few other folks.  It was built under a Government contract but never used in the war and only flew one time at the hands of Howard Hughes himself.  The reason for using wood was that there was a severe shortage of aluminum so with the help of a shipbuilder, wood was the choice of materials to be used.

Images of the Spruce Goose

Besides the Spruce Goose, the museum has lots of military planes, lots of volunteer with some wonderful stories to tell.  Take the time to listen to those stories and those of other visitors who are so willing to share their own personal stories.  All adding to the history of aviation.

Like the tail of the Germany plane that was operated by a guy name Schmitt and a Air force pilot by the name of Brown.  Brown was being followed closely by the German, who rather than shoot down the American, was signaled to turn around and follow the German pilot, presumable back to Germany where the planes crew would be detained.  He refused. Once again the German pilot followed the U.S. pilot from behind and once again began a maneuver that would force the U.S. pilot on a course back to the UK.  With a final tip of the wing, the German flew off.

After the war, Charlie Brown attempted to find that German pilot for many years to no avail.  Then one day while in Seattle as the story goes, the pilot told his war story to a fellow at a military affair.  The guy he was telling the story too, said he’d just heard the same exact story on the other side of the room.  He asked urgently, who was the other fellow and after all those long years, the two pilots were reunited.

Charles Shultz, the creator of “Charlie Brown” would later make Schmitt the Godfather of all of his children.  Now the names and events may be slightly imperfect in the telling, but the gist of the story I was told are thought to be true.

Just one of the stories that was shared to anyone willing to take the time to listen to those volunteers at the museum.

Distance Traveled: 175 miles.

I’ve taken the interior route through Oregon rather than drive along the Pacific coast.  Mainly because I’ve never driven this route before.  As I left the Lafayette area and eventually arrived at I-5 heading south, the topography gradually changed from orchards, farms and the ever present vineyards to small mountain ranges popping up along the eastern side.  Gradually becoming more prolific, ending my days journey in the Tri-City Oregon area surrounded by those low mountain ranges on all sides.  Traffic as expected along I-5 was heavy but with patients I did pretty well.  Stopping at numerous rest stops along the way.  Remember I mentioned previously that one could stay overnight at any of the rest stops in Oregon, well today I discovered that many of them are manned by volunteers who dispense free coffee and cookies (for a small donation if you have it to give).   More homeless and hitchhikers along the way as well.

I’ve arrived at the Tri-City Rv park in southern Oregon.  Small towns and side adventures abound.  I’ll be exploring this area for at least a few days before continuing my trek south.

Photos on PICASA

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