Canada 20, 22nd July 2006

I had 4 deer make a visitation in the morning, 2 does, 1 buck, and a fawn, but I didn't mage to get pictures, they were gone too fast.

Then I headed off in the general direction of the air museum at McMinnville, I wanted to see the Spruce Goose. On the way I paused to check out another river view.

Then I saw I sign, covered bridge route. I started to follow it but I remembered previous difficulties in Oregon looking for covered bridges so was easily diverted by a sign for pick your own raspberries. Excellent raspberries, I picked about 2 lbs at only $1 a pound. Later I realised I'd left my glasses there. No big deal, reading glasses cost $1, so my raspberries had cost $1.50 a pound.

I decided to take the small roads route to the museum but I couldn't find it. My maps either didn't show the roads or had overprinted parts of it and it wasn't clear. I went round a loop about 15 miles before I backtracked a touch and got myself on the way.

My camera decided to revise it's method of numbering photos. I tried to renumber them to bring them back into the correct sequence but it didn't work. So all I can tell you for sure about the following photos is, they don't fit here. Maybe they are from tomorrow? Maybe you have already seen them? Whichever, they are pretty views.

Here's the Spruce Goose. Biggest airplane in the world, and built 60 years ago by Howard Hughes although possibly the new Airbus is a touch bigger. It flew for a mile at 70 ft but by then World War 2 had ended and it wasn't needed any more. It was built of wood so that it didn't take materials from the war effort and incorporated many innovative systems still in use today. It was actually mostly built of birch but the spruce goose nickname came from a detractor and stuck.

Super museum, it was built especially to hold the Spruce Goose. With my delays I'd only 2 hours left before it closed, I could have done with more time. Lots of fascinating aircraft, well presented. Hard to get good photos though, there's planes all over the place, interfering with the shot!

The museum is owned and run by a multimillionaire airline operator, whose son, a pilot, wanted to built this museum. The son was killed in a plane crash, the father continued with the museum. As a tribute to his son, I think he can be proud of this aviation museum

I stayed in the Walmart car park. I've got used to quiet spots to sleep, the traffic woke me early. It must be nearly a month since I've been to a Walmart..

I took the pretty route to the Tillamook plane museum. Yes, another plane museum, another pretty road.

Oregon is green...........

and wet.

The Tillamook museum was good too. (They both had a DC3)

Different to McMinnville,it is housed in a huge hangar, built to house 9 airships. The airships operated during the war to guard convoys, they were able to spot German U boats waiting to attack the convoys. Many of the aircraft here are still airworthy so whilst the museum is not so superbly presented as McMinnville it is in a way more alive.

I noticed there was a pioneer museum in Tillamook and visited. The lady in charge said there was not enough time to see the museum since it closed in 3/4 hour so she would not charge me. It was another superb museum. There was equipment for logging operation, all sorts of stuff. Plus nice displays like those below.

Anybody else thinks that he looks like John Gundersen, resident of South Dakota and member of this list? Except that John has been known to smile, from time to time.

There are lots of museums throughout the US. Some are superb, like this one, some are OK. Pretty well all the museums are staffed, and organised, by volunteers. Many of the visitor centres are staffed by volunteers. Most of the camping sites have a volunteer host keeping an eye on things. It's not just oldies, although there's plenty of them, it's younger people too, in lots of places. I talked to one young man, he had volunteered with the Forestry service for a year, he received bed and board, that's all, there are lots of people doing things. I meet volunteers everywhere. It's not the same in Europe. People do things - I did 5 years of voluntary work for the balloon club in the UK, and my daughter went to India a couple of years ago with the idea of doing voluntary work, people help at local carnivals - but still voluntary work is not as normal in Europe as it is in the USA, there's not so many people do it. It's not an "organised" thing like it is in the US. At the McMinnville museum I was told there are 220 volunteers helping for a few hours here or a few days there.

Of course I, like many travellers, reap the benefit of this army of volunteers. One result is that there are far more small town museums in the USA than there are in Europe, they are bigger, and more complex.. It takes a lot of people to organise, lay out, and run, a museum. And as you know I love small town museums. So thank you, all you American volunteers, here's at least one person who appreciates what you do!

For some reason there was an unrestored little train outside the museum.

Seeing part of the hangar doors behind reminds me I intended to take a photo of the hangar, hailed as the world's largest wooden structure. It's big alright. Over 1000 ft long and almost 200 ft high.

I parked for the night on the museum parking lot, with permission, and listened to my engine. It was misfiring. A local passed by and we chatted. He just retired, he'd been working with the big balloon facility here, and had his home in one of the (smaller) hangars. They make big balloons here, and launch them, he was on the launching side and had spent 20 years in Texas where Bob Redinger launches them. In France Michel Lafourcade, also on my list, makes them. If course I mean really BIG balloons, 20 million cubic feet and up not the puny thing we fly.

My local friend suggested the garage Klingelhofer in Bay City to look at my engine so I will be there in the morning.

I got there soon after 8, the boss took a listen, and guessed plugs, or plug leads. But he said while he would like to help me out, he was stacked out with work today and couldn't do it until Monday. Then he relented a little. If I could take the engine cover off he would take a look. He took one plug out, then his mechanic returned, took out another plug, this was a bad one. Then a slice of luck, for me. He couldn't get all the parts he wanted for the old (1956) Nash Metropolitan that he was working on so some of his pressure was reduced. Finally they replaced all the plugs, all the ignition wiring, and parts of the distributor, which were all in bad condition, for a very reasonable labour charge. The parts cost the earth (almost $200) as you might expect. The van goes better now than it has done for a long time.

So if you visit the air museum at Tillamook, and have vehicle problems, then you cannot do better than call in at Klingelhofer's on Warren, at the south end of Bay City. You'll certainly get a very pleasant reception and provided they have the time, a very efficient service.

I continued on, saw a fresh fish outlet, called in, and tried half a dozen Pacific oysters. Even though they were called tiny they were bigger than the ones I am used to in France. I think the French ones taste a little better though. They bottle oysters here, and you are able to watch the process. My goodness the people who were opening and stripping the oysters were going at high speed. I bought cherries from a roadside stall. At $6 I said sorry, they are too expensive, he says how much will you give me, I said $4, he says OK! Then I went around the Garibaldi Maritime museum, visited more fresh fish stalls, and bought a crab for dinner.

There are pleasure boats too.

It was misty and cold, I didn't much like the couple of town to the north, cheap shops, houses hard up against the beach with signs holiday rental, new blocks of flats being constructed. The photo of this rock is not very clear.

I paused in a rest area and passed a very pleased time chatting to a couple, both teachers, from Albuquerque. They had a trailer stacked up with 3 kayaks, 2 special bicycles, a tricycle, and a vintage whitewater raft! He - Bobby Keogh - likes to run up mountains and has gained a few records, even in the UK. Of course, they know about balloons, the have crewed at Fiesta for many years.

I pulled off the road into a gravel storage area. I noticed a rope on the ground at the entrance, I hope it doesn't mean I'm not supposed to be here and that I'll find it padlocked in the morning.

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in the USA

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