A Monster Mission to Outer Space

You know that saying, “It’s hard to keep a good monster down”… Wait, no, that’s not how it goes, is it? Anyway, Finn McSpool recently put this maxim to the test on a recent trip to Oregon’s Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.

I’ve been wanting to visit this museum for ages because it houses a historically fascinating bit of aircraft (we’ll get to that in a bit), but since it’s about an hour’s drive southwest-ish of Portland it’s not a place I’m just going to pop into. However, the museum just happened to be along the way when Mr Husband and I (and a trio of Beasties) headed to the Oregon Coast for our anniversary getaway.

How convenient!

Another deciding factor – since the museum is insanely expensive – was the free entry pass we snagged from our local library (and Mr Husband’s work place).

How could we not go?

Inside the Museum

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the museum is dedicated to air and space…or more accurately, the things we fly through and launch into air and space. There’s a good display of old timey aircraft made of what looks like popsicle sticks….

Where are the first class seats?

There’s also plenty of ra-ra America military aircraft, but some of them look like they’d be fun to fly…

And others that might be convenient for checking your hair and make-up before take off…

Yes Finn, you look fine, now let’s get to the elephant in the room, so to speak…

My main reason for wanting to go to this museum was actually The Spruce Goose, aka the Hughes H-4 Hercules…no, not THAT Hercules…

This Hercules was the dream child of the slightly off-kilter billionaire Howard Hughes who loved airplanes and also happened to die on the Titanic. No, wait, that was Leonardo diCaprio who played Hughes in The Aviator. Sorry, the lines between reality and fiction blur sometimes.

Hughes/diCaprio designed the Spruce Goose (actually made of birch) to serve as a cargo airboat in World War II. And hey, if you’re going to haul stuff, you might as well haul A LOT of stuff, right? The Spruce Goose ended up being the biggest flying boat ever built, the largest wooden plane ever made, and still boasts the widest wingspan (321 ft) of any plane that has ever flown.

The thing’s so big I couldn’t get a picture of the whole plane…here’s just the tail

And that’s about it for the glory of the Goose.

See, someone decided to declare peace before Hughes could complete his plane (among other problems with the project, he was a bit persnickety and this slowed production). But Hughes was a perfectionist and wanted to see the project to completion, which he did…in 1947. During this time Hughes was actually brought to trial by the US government for wasting war funds because he took so long with this expensive project (over $280 million in today’s money).

The rear fuselage interior…Just think of all the luggage you could bring!!

In the midst of his trial, Hughes figured he’d show everyone what his big bird could do…

Not that big bird.

…the plane made it all of one mile before having to touch down again. And that was the only flight the Spruce Goose ever made. No joke. But still farther than Big Bird has ever flown, so I guess that’s a point to Old Goosey

The plane went on display in California (where it was built), but eventually the Evergreen Air Museum acquired it and built a facility to house the behemoth. It was partially dismantled and driven on trucks, trains, and barges (note there was no plane transport, oh irony, how I love you) from Southern California to Oregon where it was reassembled and given a home newly remodeled to fit the aircraft.

Enough History, When’s Finn Do Something Funny?

Giant airplanes aside, the space side of the museum houses some giant rockets…

Nearby, Finn thought he’d found an homage to Saturday Night Live’s Coneheads and was a little disappointed to find out they were only nose cones from the giant rockets.

He then made friends with this guy…

…so, of course Finn thought he’d try his hand at being an astronaut.

-Finn! Get down from there!

How did he get up there so quickly?

Trouble was, now that he’d gotten a taste for space exploration, he was eager for more.

-I’m not sure if you should be getting in that.

-Why? It seems perfectly safe.

-Okay, but just don’t touch any of the controls.

-Sure, sure, but I’m getting tired. Maybe I’ll just lean back for a bit—

-No, Finn!!

I was too busy trying to explain things to security to get any good photos of what happened next, but let’s just say this was a fairly accurate artist depiction of the event…

Thanks for popping by everyone. Finn and I will be back next week with the continuation of our time in Dublin, and I’ll be back next Wednesday with Chapter Three of my upcoming historical fantasy novel, Domna (in the meantime, you can catch up on Chapters ONE and TWO)

***

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13 thoughts on “A Monster Mission to Outer Space

  1. Finn is friggin adorable! I love the photo where he is just peeking in the shot. Enjoyed the tour of the aviation museum! Next time my nephews come to central Oregon vis PDX we need to spot there!

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    1. Thanks! It was almost impossible to get good pictures in there because it’s so bright with all the tall windows, so Finn and i weren’t having our easiest photo shoot. You nephews would love it!! I think the regular admission also gets you into the two museums and a few air-&-space themed IMAX-type movies at their theater. There’s also a water park attached to the museum (because you know, “air museum” and “water park” are such a common pairing). I’ve heard the prices are pretty steep, but always worth looking in to.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ohhhhh hello there, Leo! So nice to see you! That is riiiiiiidiculous about the Spruce Goose. What a waste. Men and their need to build great big things, eh? The Cornelia Wood in me was dying to get her hands on those controls though. Great post and looks like a fun day out… as long as Finn’s wool didn’t go up in flames in the fireball.

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    1. I suppose if Hughes had gotten some meds for his neurotic behavior, the thing might have actually been done in time to be of use, but as you say… Although I guess it did keep a few people employed, and Hughes would eventually give Leo a great roll to play, so you can’t hate the nutty billionaire too much, right? Maybe you’d like to take flying lessons from Finn? I hear he’s a great teacher….of what NOT to do!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally worth it to give Leo another chance to shine on the big screen! And, um, yeahhhhhh… I don’t think I’ll be looking to Finn for any kind of guidance… in the sky or otherwise! 🙂

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  3. Are you sure Finn survived that fireball? Wow, wool’s flame retardant properties never cease to amaze me. And he gets to be the first Beastie in space now, as well as the first Beastie underwater… Explorer Beastie really needs to up his game, I think! Thanks for bringing us on your day out – and hooray for the library, for getting you in for free! 😀

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    1. Yes, YAY library! Finn did survive the fireball, but was complaining about feeling REALLY warm the rest of the day…possibily why he was so eager to get to the hotel pool that night. I’m sure Explorer Beastie lives up to his “explorer” name just fine. It’s got to be better than the Jump-In-And-Damn-The-Consequences method of exploration Finn seems to be doing.

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