Northwest Trek – I Wonder If Howard Hughes Liked Pie, Too

14 Aug

Our journey into the Great Northwest began with a pleasant flight. Well, it was pleasant except for the woman two rows in front of us who lives in San Diego, where her husband is based in the Marines. They just finished a two-week vacation visiting family. The first week was with her family in Oklahoma, and the second week was with his family in Kentucky. They like San Diego, but it was better being based in Texas because it was closer to all of those people. Also, they have a six-month old child who never misses a meal.

How do I know all of this? She spent the entire flight craning her neck and talking to the people behind her. I have a message for her. We all appreciate the sacrifice your husband makes for our country. However, there is an issue. When people tell you that you have a cute baby, they are not asking for your life story. There is no reason to broadcast it to the back of the plane.

With that rant behind me, let us get on with the story. We landed in Portland in plenty of time to make it to the hotel. We knew that we wanted to be out of the city and thought 50 miles would be a good distance. I randomly chose McMinnville, Oregon because it fit that distance and was in the direction we wanted to drive. That decision paid off for a couple of reasons.

First, we found out that McMinnville, Oregon is named after McMinnville, Tennessee. Apparently, a man from here traveled on the Oregon Trail and named his new town after his old one. Second, the Evergreen Aviation Museum was across the street from the hotel. One of my nephews said that we should go. The other nephew looked it up on the internet and discovered that it is the home of the Spruce Goose, the gigantic plane build and flown by Howard Hughes. that is something that we had to see.DSC00262

The next morning, we went to the museum and saw the big plane along with a bunch of other cool planes. At one time, it was the largest plane ever flown. It still holds the record for longest wingspan. This was the plane that Hughes built to transport troops and supplies during World War II. It was not finished in time, and he ended up being called in front of Congress to testify. The day he flew the plane is one of the last times Hughes was seen in public.

We got to go into the plane and took turns sitting at the controls.IMG_2132

Now, all I have to do is lock myself in a room; take my clothes off; watch the same movie over and over; and grow out my hair and nails. Then, I will have had the complete Howard Hughes experience.

After the museum, we drove down the coast on Highway 101. Honestly, we were disappointed with this part of the trip. The land between the road and the ocean was developed more than we realized, and the views were not what we had anticipated. Still, we saw some pretty scenery along the way.DSC00280

The highlight was stopping in Newport, Oregon for lunch. My oldest nephew broke out his GPS to find something good and led us to Local Ocean Seafoods, which sits along the harbor.DSC00274

When I picture a seafood restaurant, I think of something made of wood with fishing nets hanging from the ceiling. It may have that fish smell and saltine crackers on the table. This place was different. It had a sleek, modern motif and great food. In my mind, it was the best meal of the entire trip.

We continued along the coast and turned inland toward Eugene, Oregon. My youngest nephew wanted to see the University of Oregon football stadium and buy a shirt. We also took some time to walk around campus. We saw a lot of students, but I was interested in a couple of faculty members. As we passed, they were having a lively debate, the higher education way of saying that they were arguing.

We could have gotten a room in Eugene but decided to drive down the interstate to have a better set up for the next day. That took us to Roseburg, Oregon, which was low on hotels and places to eat. We slept at the Best Western and dined a Shari’s, which is similar to a place around here called Shoney’s. It turns out that they are famous for their pies, and that those pies were free that night.

The pie was awesome. I got a piece of Marionberry Pie. Yep, I some pie that has the same name as a Washington, D.C. mayor who got caught smoking crack in a hotel room.

As we walked out of Shari’s, we had no idea that we would hit that franchise again and again and again.

2 Responses to “Northwest Trek – I Wonder If Howard Hughes Liked Pie, Too”

  1. Andrew Petcher August 15, 2014 at 05:54 #

    I’d like to see that plane. I rather liked the film ‘The Aviator’.

    • Rick August 15, 2014 at 14:37 #

      It’s an awesome plane. They said the flight went a little differently than the movie portrayed. Seeing the plane was a surprise. We had no idea it was there.

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