2009 Father & Son Summer Road Trip: Day One.

Today we drove from our home in Arlington, Washington to McMinnville, Oregon.

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(damn Google maps! Zoom out to see our route)

We had originally planned to do this drive yesterday (Sunday), but stormy, rainy weather kept us at home until after mid-day Monday. The rain stopped about 11 am and I had the car packed and ready to go… when I noted a worn spot on the v-belt(!) I removed it from the car and indeed it was soft all over and pretty badly worn. I drove the VW down into town and found a close enough belt to get us on the road (plus two spares!) and went home to install it. It popped right on and seemed to work fine when I fired up the engine, so I gathered up Christopher and saddled up.

Chris & Chuck in the 65E (photo by Nick Goolsbee)

Leaving Home (photo by Nick Goolsbee)

We bought some gas out by the freeway, and hit Interstate 5 southbound.

Long time readers just had their necks snap a bit… yes, I said we took the freeway.

President Eisenhower is said to have wanted to create a replica of Germany’s Autobahns with the creation of the Interstate Highway System in the mid-1950s. The highways were sold as keys to bolstering our national defense which have made them an odd sort of Federal & State melange. For moving of goods, long-distance driving, and commuting to work they are a wonderful thing. For a road trip though? Horrible. Being on the freeway in the Jaguar is a trying experience. The noise is overwhelming, making conversation impossible. The cars and trucks around you are huge and loud. You don’t even appear in the mirrors of the vast majority of vehicles on the road. It just is not very pleasant. It is however the fastest way to travel, and since we were 30-some hours “behind” our original schedule, and the weather still looked iffy, it seemed the best course of action.

The alternatives were all just too long: East of the Cascades and south? The weather was even worse over there. West of the Puget Sound? (which involve going north to Fidalgo Island and Deception Pass, then west by ferry to Port Townsend, then south along US 101) If we had started early that was my planned escape route to bypass the Seattle-Tacoma metro area. But since we did not get moving until almost 1pm we just gave up and attacked the city via its main artery: Interstate 5. We rode the wide concrete monster, through occasional rain squalls, all the way to Kelso, WA, where we bailed onto Washington State Route 4, and into Longview. Here we topped off the Jaguar with the last self-serve gasoline available before we entered Oregon (where employment for losers is a guarantee with no self-serve gas.)

Crossing the Columbia River over the Lewis & Clark Bridge at Longview, WA

Christopher over the Columbia

Once on the south bank of the Mighty River of the West we jogged west on US 30 for a bit, then south on a wonderful little Oregon State Highway named “47”… it climbed and looped through forested hills, then wound down into the Willamette Valley Wine Country. It was a welcome change from the Interstate and precisely the kind of driving this car was meant for. Chris & I were able to carry on conversations and even the sun came out!

We made our way to McMinnville and found the Evergreen Air & Space Museum, current home of the “Spruce Goose” to see where it was located. The museum was closed (it was almost 7pm) but Chris & I walked all around it and looked at the planes parked outside, as well as a collection of old Soviet armor parked ominously up on a hill behind the museum.

The Russians Are Coming!

Christopher wants to have one of these to drive around in.

The Blue Angels' first plane IIRC... of Korean War vintage

Speaking of Russians...

The second-to-last Interceptor built by the USA

After we walked all around the museum (and noted when it opens in the morning) we drove into downtown McMinnville and enjoyed a nice dinner at McMenamins Hotel Oregon. They had free wifi, so I got online to check out our options for a place to sleep. Our order of preference goes:
1. Stay with friends.
2. Camp out.
3. Find a cheap hotel.

We don’t know anyone in McMinnville, and I could not find a campground nearby. We did find a hotel for a bit over $50 with my AAA discount, so that’s where we are now. They do have free wifi as well, so I’m happy. The hotel is very old-school, reminding me a lot of places we stayed when I was a kid. I’ll have to grab a photo in the morning.

Tomorrow we should be in Northern California somewhere.

9 thoughts on “2009 Father & Son Summer Road Trip: Day One.”

  1. I recognized the 105 (I think) though a two-seater is rare. and I recognized the F-14. The Delta jet is hard to ID without a better look; but what is the jet painted in Blue color? I thought I knew all the jets flown by the Angels, but that doesn’t look like any of them, unless it’s an F-9.

  2. the Blue Angel aircraft is familiar but I can’t put a name to it French or Italian perhaps? Aermacchi? – the Russian is a Mikoyan MiG-29 and the last one is a Convair F-106 Delta Dart


  3. The Blue Angels jet is a Grumman F9F, either a -6 Panther, or a -8 Cougar. I can’t recall whether they started out in the Panther. The Cougar is almost the same, but with swept-back wings. A really beautiful plane! I saw them perform in the Cougar in New Orleans as a kid.


  4. That pic of Christopher by the Blue Angels jet…with that hat and “lectern”, it looks like he’s making an official announcement that we’re sending in the Blue Angels to get some despot to sit up straight in his chair.

    Oh, and do I hear somebody saying, “Congratulations on your first F1 victory at the Nürburgring on Sunday, Mark”…? Oh….why, thanks a lot. Thank you very much.

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