Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend - Days to Remember

What better way to kick off the Memorial Day week-end than to visit the US Naval Air Station in Tillamook?!?! (Another Naval Air Station in the middle of cow pastures, just like Lemoore. But, at least this one is close to the water!)

Another Naval Air Station in the middle of dairy farms.

Did you know?? In 1942, the US Navy began construction of 17 wooden hangars around the US coastlines resulting in a huge semi-circle around the US. These hangars housed the K-class blimps used for anti-submarine coast patrol and convoy escorts. Two of these hangars were built at Naval Air Station Tillamook. They were commissioned in December 1942 and served the Oregon-Washington coastal area. Hangar “B” was the first one built and was completed in August of 1943. (Hangar “A” was completed in only 27 days - but, unfortunately, was destroyed by fire in 1992.)

The fact that these hangars were built so quickly was a major feat that - perhaps - can only be understood when one knows that each of these structures houses SEVEN ACRES under one roof. That is enough space to play six football games!! BIG!

The signs to locate the museum were hard to spot. Almost missed it.

One of the world's largest clear span wooden structures. 192 ft. high x 300 ft. wide x 1,072 ft. long. Dwarfs this cargo carrier - the Mini Guppy.

If you are a fan of vintage airplanes, don’t miss this adventure. The hangar now houses a collection of more than 30 World War II combat aircraft, including a P-38 Lightning, F4U-Corsair, P51-Mustang, PBY Catalina and SBD Dauntless dive bomber - AND, a Ki-43 Hayabusa (also known as Oscar) - the most important fighter of the Japanese Army Air Force. Many of these planes are still in flyable condition!!

Republic Aviation's P-47 Thunderbolt. One of many aircraft on display.

As we bid Tillamook farewell, we crossed one more McCullough-designed bridge - built in 1931 in a bowstring arch design.

Another McCullough Bridge. This guy must have been quite the salesman.

Next stop - Astoria, Oregon.

Our touring began at the Flavel House Museum. Captain George Flavel (1823-1893) found his way to Astoria in the mid-1800’s, became a noted bar pilot on the Columbia River - which, coupled with his being an astute businessman, led to him owning a good portion of Astoria by the late 1800’s (as best we could tell)! He built his dream/retirement home in the Queen Anne architectural style on a hill overlooking the Columbia River for $36,000 in 1886. It included ALL the modern conveniences - gas lighting, a central heating system, even indoor plumbing, which meant ‘real’ bathtubs and toilets!

Built for $36,000.

It sits on park-like grounds covering an entire city block. The flowering Rhododendron (remember our Rhody Day Celebration in Florence??) are just beautiful up here! And, they are everywhere in the wonderful shades of pink and lavender. Couldn’t resist this picture of Gary’s handsome face enhanced by all these Rhodies!!

More Rhodies.

Heading up Coxcomb Hill, one finds the 125-foot Astoria Column sitting atop the Hill. The Column was built in 1925 to commemorate the westward sweep of discovery and migration. This unique structure has 14 murals made in Italian sgraffito technique (etched concrete). You can see these murals in this fantastic photo taken by my personal photographer traveling with me -

Astoria Tower.
We were glad the tour bus didn't beat us to the stairs.

Of course, Elizabeth ‘demanded’ that we climb the 164 steps of the spiral staircase to get the breathtaking views from the top of the column! From here you can see the bridge crossing the Columbia River, connecting Oregon to Washington, and the Columbia River flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

Great views from atop the tower.

We did run across this one building in the middle of Astoria, which really intrigued us - the Film Museum/County Jail. Not sure if this one building is still used for both purposes - if it implies that one equals the other - or it used to be one and is now the other?!?!

Is this a statement on the film industry's net profit sharing arrangements.

Tuesday was another rainy day - so, back in the car to investigate the coast. Of course, this whole area celebrates components of the Lewis and Clark Expedition - the end of their trail, their camp before returning, etc. Seaside, Oregon’s oldest seafront resort, has a statue in “The Turnaround” of Lewis and Clark marking the end of their trail.

The end of the trail for Lewis & Clark.

Seaside is a real trip - built as a destination for Portlanders to ride the railroad to the beach (that railroad thing again!). It is a step back in time to the old Boardwalks on the beach! Here every other store is a candy store - mixed in with the tee shirt shops. And, how long has it been since you saw a building housing bumper cars and a Tilt-a-Whirl?? You gotta see it once - but, once is more than enough!

Ecola State Park and Cannon Beach, on the other hand, are delights! We braved the mist and rain to walk to the viewpoints in Ecola State Park to get what we could in the way of pictures of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock and the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. (Ecola is the Chinook Indian word for whale and was affixed to this region by the Lewis and Clark expedition, as they found a whale washed up on a beach here.)

Wet morning. You can almost see the lighthouse.

Haystack Rock in the distant mist. Cannon Beach is hidden in the mist!

The rain got the better of us this time - so we ventured on to Cannon Beach to wander the galleries and shops. This little community is an artist’s colony - so the galleries have wonderful pieces with a great variety to please all eyes. Don’t miss wandering here if you are in the area.

As the day wore on - the clouds began to part. So, we headed back to Ecola State Park to see what kind of shots there were to be ‘had’ with a little sun. The waiting was well worth it - don’t you think??

I can see clearly now..
This lighthouse is no longer used, except as a repository for cremated ashes

Haystack Rock is now visible with Cannon Beach in the background.

Ya' got to be kidding me...right!

Indian Rock

The bird atop this rock seemed to enjoy the spray..... for over a half hour.

Elizabeth shot these trees because they reminded her of me...
I hope she meant this one.. tall and statuesque.

and not this one... old, gnarly and decrepit.

So - these were our Memorial Day travels. During the days we also watched coverage of events across the country and in Washington DC honoring those who have and are serving this country. We talked a lot about our family members who had served for us in the past and our son-in-law and cousin who are serving for us now. We also celebrated Keith’s 36th birthday - hard to believe he would have been that old. We just enjoyed the remembrances.

Main Street, USA, decked out for Memorial Day.

All the houses too.

Hope you all had a memorable Memorial Day - E & G

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