(July 25, 2002)
9:23 am (276 miles)
A slow start this morning, thanks to technology. We had been remarking on how
much better things would be on this trip than on our Dinosaur Trip in '94.
There, we had to struggle to get modem access for e-mailing these trip reports
(at one point, we disassembled a phone jack; another time we invaded a gift shop
and distracted the clerk while we wired into the phone system).
Well, it may be a new century, but it's not without its snags. Seems the motel
where we stayed doesn't exactly have state-of-the-art phones and despite our
best efforts, we couldn't get on-line.
<sigh> Remind us not to move to the Oregon coast....
The World's Largest Barber Pole
11:12 am (336 miles)
Forest Grove, OR--Lincoln Park
Here we are the at World's Tallest (and therefore Largest) Barber Pole, located
in Northern Oregon about 22 miles from Portland. Fortunately, we got here before
the crowds descended and there is plenty of parking.
The Barber Pole stands 72 feet (21.95 meters) tall, but it doesn't spin around
like a regular barbershop pole does. As a matter of fact, it just pretty much
sits there. Think painted telephone pole, and you get the idea.
According to Merrie (the receptionist at the local hospital where we stopped to
get a blood test for Robert), it has just been repainted. She knows the three
guys who "were behind it" and was surprised that we came to Forest
Grove to see it. She said she'd be seeing one of the guys on Saturday and would
let him know that it's very big (ha ha) on the Internet.
At the bottom of the pole is a sign that says: "For the continuing
preservation and encouragement of barbershop quartet singing. Presented by
Portland Area Barbershopers (sic)"
The World's Largest Wooden Seaplane
12:05 pm (359 miles)
Here we are at the Capt. Michael King Smith Evergreen Aviation Educational
Institute, otherwise known as "where they keep the Spruce Goose."
As we approach the building, we can see that this is a pretty big building.
Because the walls are mostly glass, we can see that there's a big airplane
Once we get closer, we see it's a BIG airplane. A really, really, REALLY BIG
airplane. This sucker is huge! There's some helicopters suspended from the
ceiling around it and they look like flies.
And we're not even in the door yet. Sheesh!
The Spruce Goose is The World's Largest All Wood Sea Plane, although we'd dub it
The World's Hugest Plane (period). It's made only one flight in its entire
career, for about a mile (pilot Howard Hughes seemed to be making a
point--"See! It does so fly!"). While Hughes was alive, he hid
it in a specially built hangar and so nobody got to see it.
Then it was an exhibit in Long Beach, California for a while, but wasn't making
any money, so it was going to get sliced up into pieces for various museums. A
bunch of aviation fanatics came to the rescue, bought it and shipped it to
Oregon (they disassembled it into 27 pieces to move it, because FedEx had size
We watched the video of the pieces getting moved and it was pretty amazing. Even
in pieces, it was bigger than the freeway (and at one point in the process, they
used the World's Largest Floating Crane!).
Volunteers reassembled it, restored the exterior, and repainted it the original
color. Now they're working on the inside so that visitors can walk around in the
cargo bay and peer into the Flight Deck.
Man, that's a LOT of volunteer work!
Among a bunch more WWII planes (leaking oil), the museum has one of the first
jet planes, which is a cute little thing. According to the display, though, you
wouldn't want to mess up when you flew it--if the engine died midair you
couldn't restart it, it didn't have an ejection seat, and it sank like a stone.
We have now exhausted all the World's Largest Things in Western Oregon, so we
make a beeline for California (where, of course, there are many World's Largest
Things). This means that we get on I-5 and drive at 70 (Laura) or 80 (Robert).
Although it looks short on the map, there's actually quite a lot of Southern
Oregon, and we spend the rest of the day getting almost to the California
Laura says: Southern Oregon is beautiful. There's just too much of it.
6:30 pm (617 miles)
Medford, OR (103 degrees)
Yay, air conditioning!
We decide that we need a *real* motel tonight (that is, one that lets us get
on-line), so we stop at the Red Carpet Inn, which advertises
"Cyber-Suites." It turns out that they're not *quite* Cyber-Suites
(high-speed Internet access coming Real Soon Now), but they do have a reasonable
phone system (also a large screen TV and a Jacuzzi, which is plenty
"cyber" enough for Robert!).