Fish sculpture on overpass in The Dalles, Oregon. Salmon and sturgeon leap and splash in churning waves in this metal artwork. This sculpture is by the exit for the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, a sight worth seeing.
A garden shed at the Oregon Garden, Sublimity, Oregon
I feel most at home when visiting the Wild West.
In the West, tall tales are told in layers of intense and pale colors.
Odd-looking plants stand tall, like characters in a children’s picture book.
You may find ancient hidden stories exposed by wind and water.
When you visit the Wild West, look for cloudbursts highlighting the mood of mountains.
Notice arid landscapes cracking and folding, longing for the moisture on distant snow-topped peaks.
Admire towering sentries from a distance, knowing they guard reserves of water with tough skins and sharp spines.
For more photos of the Wild West, see my Visiting Westworld post.
Many windowed barn near Dayville in Eastern Oregon
Last month, we took a trip to see the Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. This museum is in McMinnville, about 50 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. Its star attraction is the airplane associated with Howard Hughes, Jr.
In 1942, steel magnate Henry Kaiser approached Hughes about creating a massive flying boat. Hughes was well known for breaking records as a pilot, including a 1935 landplane airspeed record of 352 miles per hour. In 1938, Hughes flew around the world in 3 days 19 hours 17 minutes, beating the previous record by almost four days. He was also a brilliant engineer.
After Kaiser withdrew from the flying boat project in 1944, Howard Hughes renamed the plane H-4 Hercules. It’s also called the Hughes Flying Boat and the Spruce Goose. Hughes become obsessed with the project. Though the original intention was for the aircraft to help with war efforts, by the time they completed the project, the war was over.
Hughes flew the plane on November 2, 1947. He wanted to prove it was airworthy and not just a flight of fancy. In its first and only flight, he flew it at an altitude of 70 feet for 26 seconds. The aircraft flew for about one mile at a speed of 135 miles per hour.
Exterior of the Spruce Goose
I knew the Spruce Goose was large, but I had no idea how enormous it was. I’m including several exterior photos to show the scale of this massive aircraft. The first picture shows a view from the second-story balcony.
The next two show aircraft on display under one wing and then the other. They look so small in comparison.
There’s a diorama showing the construction in progress on the left side of the photo below. Helpful volunteers are stationed nearby.
This view is of the huge nose section. Vintage airline seats are set up under the nose for those seeking a brush with greatness.
There are informational displays in and around the Spruce Goose. A photo of Howard Hughes, Jr. is in the lower right on the display board below and you can also see him speaking with congress. This display shows several pictures of parts of the plane being transported.
The next display shows construction photos and a construction breakdown drawing.
The original plans included clamshell opening nose gear to make the plane easier to unload. This diorama shows how Hughes envisioned the Spruce Goose doing its job.
After the flight
After its flight, Hughes paid around one million dollars a year to retain a crew and maintain the aircraft. He passed away in 1976, but he always hoped it would fly again. Initially, plans were made to part out the Spruce Goose to eight museums.
After aviation officials and the public expressed concern, the Spruce Goose was gifted to the Aero Club of Southern California and put on display in Long Beach. When Disney took over ownership of the location, they displayed it for two more years but decided it no longer fit with their plans. In 1992, the plane was put up for auction and Michael King Smith and Delford M. Smith, founders of the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, had the winning bid.
Moving and reassembling the Spruce Goose was a big undertaking. After many hours of painstaking work by volunteers and staff, the aircraft was open to the public in its new home on June 6, 2001. On November 5, 2022, the museum will host the Spruce Goose’s 75th Anniversary Gala.
This 9-minute video from the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum about the Spruce Goose shows its flight, temporary home in California, long trip to Oregon, and its current home in McMinnville.
There are carefully preserved artifacts near the aircraft, including Hughes’ original log book.
Do you know what’s pictured below and why it’s important to the path Howard Hughes, Jr. chose? The answer is at the end of this post.
Interior of the Spruce Goose
The inside of the aircraft can be seen by climbing a stairway or taking an elevator. For an additional $30, visitors get a 15-minute guided tour of the cockpit.
This view shows the fire suppressing canisters.
Here’s a more distant view. What are those colorful objects on the right side of the picture?
If you guessed beach balls, you’re right! Howard Hughes was worried the Flying Boat may not float, so he had these inflatable balls put in the lower hull and wing floats.
A few more Spruce Goose facts for you:
- The plane is actually made from birch, not spruce.
- Wingspan 320 feet 11 inches; length 218 feet 8 inches; height 79 feet 4 inches; weight empty 300,000 pounds.
- Still the record holder for largest wooden aircraft, largest seaplane, and largest propeller plane ever built.
Did you guess what the odd object pictured above the first interior shot was? That’s a drill bit that made Howard’s father, Howard Hughes, Sr., a rich man. He disliked the bits used to drill for oil and bought the rights to a bit created by Granville A. Humanson for $150. He improved the design significantly and applied for several patents. The bit, with its 166 cutting edges, became the industry standard. Howard, Sr. created the Hughes Tool Company and leased the bits to drillers.
The money Howard, Jr. inherited at the age of 19 helped him tremendously when pursuing his aviation interests. He increased his personal wealth with forays into entertainment and real estate businesses. Later in life, his eccentric behaviors affected him personally and financially.
When you have a lot of time one day, read the long entry about Howard Hughes, Jr.’s fascinating history on Wikipedia. Wow, what a life!
Rollin’ across the Columbia River near Biggs Junction, Oregon
Here are some peak peeks from near and far. These volcanic peaks are in the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon.
The first picture shows a distant view of Mount Jefferson I took on a flight to Seattle. The small cloud hovering over its peak looks like a puff of smoke.
Here’s a closer view of Mount Jefferson taken from the road near Madras, Oregon.
This picture shows a distant view of Mount Washington. It’s the snowy peak in the middle of the photo.
Here’s a closer view taken west of Sisters, Oregon. From certain angles, this mountain has a distinctive silhouette. It looks like it has a tiny pyramid-shaped peak on top of it.
This view shows a distant view of the three Sisters peaks taken while on another flight.
Here’s a closer view of North and Middle Sister taken near Sisters, Oregon. These two peaks are in close proximity to each other. South Sister is located 3.3 miles to the south.
These peak peek photos were taken in the spring and summer months in Central Oregon. The haze you see in some of these pictures is from wildfire smoke. At certain times of the year, agencies manage “prescribed burns.” Underbrush is intentionally burned to reduce the fuel load of potential future fires. This technique helps conserve our forests, but, unfortunately, drier conditions are making wildfires burn longer and cover larger areas.
I hope the rain expected later this week douses some of the long lasting fires in western North America. As always, we appreciate the work of firefighters who battle these blazes. We’re looking forward to clearer peak peeks!
Here’s a picture of the new “Greetings from Bend, Oregon” mural. This mural is near the flag bridge in the Old Mill district in Bend. It’s on the Mill A Loop trail, where I walk regularly.
This colorful mural is by artist Karen Eland. I’m a big fan of her artwork and have previously featured her work in Bend. She collaborated with five other artists on this work in the Foxtail Bakery in the Box Factory district.
Foxtail closed in January 2022. The restaurant currently at that location, Papi Chulo’s Taqueria, has new murals adorning their walls. More murals for me to seek out and share!
Karen features local flora and fauna in this Greetings from Bend, Oregon mural. This mural includes columbine, lupine, and paintbrush flowers. A Western Tanager perches on “From” and a Rufous Hummingbird hovers over “Oregon.” Tiger swallowtail butterflies flit about the edges and a honeybee perches on a flower in a corner. Cascade volcanoes float in the background and the iconic smokestacks of the Old Mill stand tall in the foreground.
You can see another example of Karen’s work in this mural in Sisters, Oregon. She collaborated on that piece with fellow artist Katie Daisy .
Here are photographs of South Falls from 3 perspectives. This 177-foot high waterfall is located along the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park in Sublimity, Oregon. South Falls and Upper North Falls are the only trails where dogs, on leash, are allowed.
The first picture shows a distant view from the overlook trail in afternoon light.
The next photograph shows a closer view of the falls.
The last image shows a view from the top of the falls. This is a view you don’t often get at waterfalls.
South Falls is one of the places in the park where you can walk BEHIND the waterfall. You can see the trail leading behind it in my last photograph. I did not hike the trail during my recent visit, but I’m sharing a beautiful two-minute video of the trail taken by John Minar Photography. Enjoy!
Old homestead & Mt Hood near Maupin, Oregon
Find treasures on walks
When out and about taking pictures, you never know when you might find special surprises. This delightful dragon sculpture was at The Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. It brought a little cheer into a cloudy day.
Though not as much is in bloom at this time of year, I was happy to see these fall-blooming crocus at the The Oregon Garden last week.
Find special surprises in the skies
Here’s the last glimpse of the sun going down on a nearly cloudless day near Waldport, Oregon.
In the fall, clouds begin to fill High Desert skies, leading to dramatic sunrises. I took this picture from my house a couple of days ago.
Find special treasures nearby
You don’t always have to capture faces to capture a mood. These two kids were fascinated by the otters in this exhibit at the High Desert Museum. You can see the frame of the window they were looking through in the next picture.
This picture shows reflections in the water and two Northern river otters swimming together, reflecting each others movements. Another submerged otter follows behind them.
Find odd things while on the road
Sometimes when you’re driving down the road on your travels, you see something that makes you say, “What is THAT?” Do you know what this truck was hauling? (Find the answer at the end of the post).
Find special surprises from the past
Other times you’re walking down the street in your hometown and find special surprises. This is Bend’s Pet Parade, the oldest parade in the city. This community tradition began in 1924. Can you find the umbrella in this scene?
While digging through my archives to find pictures for this challenge, I found this little treasure. This was my cat, Weasel, my first pet I had after moving away from home. I was lucky to find this photo of a special pet from my past who brought me much happiness.
So did you guess what the truck pictured earlier in this post was hauling? According to my brief research, those are parts for SpaceX’s Starlink ground stations. You learn something new every day!
Last week we took a trip to Silver Falls State Park, in Sublimity, Oregon. We went on a short hike to visit Upper North Falls. Lush vegetation and towering trees surround the trail.
The Trail of Ten Falls in this park passes by ten waterfalls along a 7.2-mile moderate level route. Upper North Falls and South Falls are the only parts of the trail where dogs, on leash, are allowed.
We stayed a couple of nights at the campground in the park. There are cabins, RV and tent sites available for rental. This beautiful park is very popular so be sure to reserve in advance here.
Little blue caboose in Hood River, Oregon
In late August, while out exploring places along the Columbia River, we stumbled upon the Northwest Mural Fest in The Dalles, Oregon. Painters from all over the country met in The Dalles to create 15 murals in three days. Yes, it was a huge undertaking, literally and figuratively.
The 200+ sign painters and mural artists who took part in the event belong to a group called The Walldogs. Imagine a “pack” of artists gathering in a town for a few days to create unforgettable works of art. The murals depict places, people, and products that have local significance. The murals attract tourists and give residents a sense of hometown pride.
Honoring the History
The artists working on this mural, by Anat Ronen, must not have a fear of heights. This mural portrays photographer Benjamin Gifford. He moved from the Midwest to Portland in 1888, and to The Dalles in 1896. His work highlights scenic views of the Columbia River and the scenic highway running beside it. Gifford also featured portraits of local Native Americans.
The Benjamin Gifford mural is being painted on the back of the Clock Tower. This photo shows the building, built in 1883, from the front.
If you’d like to see a large collection of amazing airplanes, be sure to visit the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) in Hood River, Oregon. The indoor hangar space is more than 3.5 acres in size.
All of the aircraft have been restored to working condition. This process takes a long time and the Museum restores an average of two per year. Our family donated a Fly Baby homebuilt plane, but it’s not yet on display.
The planes are generally arranged by type within the buildings.
Biplanes have interesting designs and they’re a great subject for photographs. I featured one of them in a black and white photograph in a previous post.
Mike and Linda Strong, friends of the family, donated the two 1929 WACOs pictured below. Mike worked as an airline pilot for many years and liked to fly smaller planes in his spare time. He gave me a ride in one of the WACOs years ago and it was a memorable experience.
The first WACO is a taper wing. At high speeds, tapered wings decrease drag and increase lift. They also make the plane lighter and more maneuverable.
Gentle reminder sign at Yaquina Head in Oregon.
In your travels near and far, you may find weird and wonderful sights.
Sometimes you find a weird sight when you’re driving down the highway and look it up later. This is the Smith Mansion, located in Wapiti, Wyoming, halfway between Cody and Yellowstone.
Lee Smith, a former builder and engineer, began constructing this structure from locally harvested logs. However, he became obsessed with adding on to the building, which led to his divorce. For 22 years he continued construction so that eventually it was 5-stories tall. One day, unfortunately, he slipped while working and fell to his death. His daughter owned the house for many years until it was sold to a neighbor in 2020.
For a better look at this amazing structure inside and out, watch this video by Scott Richard.
At other times you’ll go a little off the beaten path in search of a good meal. This delicious barbecue dinner is from the Apple Valley BBQ in Parkdale, Oregon. Parkdale, at the base of Mt Hood, is a small town with a population of about 650. Fruit orchards fill the valleys in this part of Oregon and the restaurant incorporates fruit into their meals. The coleslaw pictured contains slices of fresh pears. They use local cherry wood to smoke their meat. Yum, definitely one of my favorites!
Seeing seaside sunset with my dog near Waldport, Oregon. She doesn’t like water, but felt comfortable taking in the scene from this distance.
The Lens- Artist Photo Challenge this week is Here Comes the Sun, but this is more like “there goes the sun.” 😉
The Imagine a World exhibition at the High Desert Museum focuses on past and present efforts to create utopian communities. Participants joined for assorted reasons, including religious persecution, environmental concerns, and anti-war sentiments.
The communities featured are in the Western United States. Founding members often thought of the West as an idyllic, “empty” place to settle. However, they did not always consider who was already living in these environments.
As you enter the gallery, two life-sized astronauts suspended in front of a bold painting of bison catch your eye. Two bright paintings adorn the walls next to this display. These works represent Indigenous futurism. They highlight how important cosmology, science, and futurism have been to Native peoples. Grace Dilon, Ph.D. (Anishinaabe) states that Indigenous futurism is part of the process of “returning to ourselves.” The goal is to recover “ancestral traditions in order to adapt in our post-Native Apocalypse world.”Continue reading
This Sisters Oregon mural in Central Oregon is full of life. North Sister, Middle Sister, and South Sister volcanic peaks hover in the background. Local wildflowers and wildlife fill the bottom of the frame.
I especially liked the great gray owl in the middle of the mural. If you stand in front of this mural in just the right spot, it looks like you have wings. Great for pictures!
The Sisters Oregon mural was created in 2020 by local artists, Katie Daisy and Karen Eland. You’ll find it on the wall of Marigold and True, a boutique gift shop. Katie also contributed to murals painted in Foxtail Bakery, which I featured in a previous post.
As noted in this article in The Nugget Newspaper, Katie and Karen had known the store’s owner, Kelley Rae, for ten years. She commissioned them to paint this piece and it turned out beautifully.
I was in town taking pictures of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show when I stumbled upon the mural. The arts are alive and well in this small town.
I dip a dry brush into Titanium White and tentatively paint delicate wisps onto Cobalt Blue Wyoming skyscapes
Emboldened, I fill my brush and paint curving lines reaching towards the sky
Historic Short Bridge, built in 1945.
When I was strolling down Hood Avenue on 9 July 2022, something across the street caught my eye. I was there to see the art of quilters at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Though the event has taken breaks due to wildfire smoke and pandemics, it proudly celebrated its 47th year in 2022.
A WOW! quilt
I had to take a closer look at this quilt. WOW! I think it was my favorite of the whole show. The intricate stitching and subtle changes in color drew me towards it. There are signs telling you not to touch the quilts, but I really wanted to touch this one.
I continued my walk and noted some of the interesting architecture in this western-themed town. This clock business was one of my favorites. I’ve always wanted to live in a house with a tower.
Some quilts attracted a lot of attention and I had to wait for visitors to pass by before snapping a picture. Here is one of those.
Once again, I am sharing images of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on 9 July 2022. Today I’ll show quilts with critters, people, holidays, and places.
Buzzing bees on quilts
One of the groups attending the event had a bee-themed challenge.
The one below was my favorite. It’s simple but complex at the same time.
This “Phoebee” quilt had a lot of quilting stiches.
This one had a more traditional design.
The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is one of the biggest events in Central Oregon. You know it’s summer when you start seeing advertisements about the show.
Set in the small town of Sisters, Oregon, this show “is internationally recognized as the world’s largest outdoor quilt show.” The show often displays more than 1,300 quilts. Visitors from all over the world gather in Sisters on the second Saturday in July to view the quilts.
The quilts shown include more traditional patterns.
North of Madras, Oregon, you’ll find giant thundereggs tucked away on a hilltop near the ghost town of Ashwood. Polka-dot agates and thundereggs occur naturally at the Priday Polka-Dot Agate Beds.
The thundereggs you’ll find here are amazing! You never know what kind of treasures you’ll find on the inside.
The Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon has a large collection of cars from the “Golden Age of Transportation” – the period from the early 1920s through the 1940s. The Museum has a collection of over 130 vehicles from the 1900s to the 1960s. You can get more information on vehicles in the collection by year or manufacturer here.
Cars from the Golden Age and beyond
Artifacts from the time period are on display near many of the cars. Here’s a camping scene.
Storefronts around the perimeter of the building add visual interest to the collection.
The color and design of the cars make them great subjects for photographs.
I noticed these whimsical doors in Tumalo, Oregon while visiting a pod of food trucks. The Bite currently hosts five food trucks. You can get an assortment of beers on tap inside the main building. There is comfortable seating inside and out.
These paintings were done by local artist, Nicole Fontana. There are more pictures of her work at The Bite here. She even included her whimsical take on things in the signs for handicapped parking spots. 🙂
A couple days ago, we went on a Lower Crooked River drive. We were there early in the morning, attempting to avoid an incoming storm system. I remembered I had been there about a year earlier for an afternoon drive. How would the lighting differ in the photos taken on both trips?
Just south of Prineville, Oregon, the Lower Crooked River Back Country Byway winds its way along the Crooked River. The 43-mile long road meets up with Highway 20 to the south.
This post highlights the 8-mile section between Prineville Reservoir and Castle Rock. See map at the end of the post. On this drive, the curving lines of the road and river contrast with the straight lines of geological features.
A morning drive
As we drove north from the reservoir, shadows covered the east side of the road. The morning light cast a warm glow over the canyon lands.
Basalt columns looked pretty in full light…
But took on more character in the shadows.
Today I’m sharing photos and a short video related to the Guinness harp. The emblem is based on a 14th century Irish harp known as “O’Neill” or “Brian Boru.” Guinness has featured a harp image on its beer labels since 1862 and trademarked it in 1876. The logo consists of the harp, the GUINNESS® word, and Arthur Guinness’ signature.
Harps outside the Storehouse
Here’s a harp on a sign outside the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland.
Here’s another harp outside the entrance where visitors can take horse-drawn carriage tours.
Harps inside the StorehouseContinue reading
Today I’m sharing Deschutes River sights to see. Since the river, located in central and northern Oregon, is 252 miles long, I’ll show just a few of its riches. At the end of this post, a map shows these locations.
Where the Deschutes begins
The first picture is of Little Lava Lake. This is a more peaceful place to kayak than the much larger Lava Lake. The spot below shows where the Deschutes River begins.
The next picture was taken on another kayaking trip near Harper Bridge in Sunriver. The waters are calm on this part of the river, but get much rougher when you get to Benham Falls, a class V section. I got out well ahead of the falls!
These Hells Canyon Overlook views were taken in the Hells Canyon Recreation area in northeastern Oregon. Though more people are familiar with the Grand Canyon, Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America. He Devil Peak, on the East Rim, stands 8,043 feet above the Snake River, at the bottom of the gorge.
You can learn about this unique geological feature at the Hell’s Canyon Creek Visitor Center in Imnaha. When we visited in June a couple of years ago, the road to the center was still closed due to snow so check ahead of time.
Visitors seeking Hells Canyon views in the spring and early summer are rewarded by a wide variety of wildflowers in bloom at the scenic overlook. See Hells Canyon in the Spring for closer views of these beauties.
Today I’m sharing pictures taken at the Plains Indian Museum section of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. This world-class museum has five sections focused on western history, culture, and the environment. It’s in Cody, Wyoming, a half an hour drive from the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
The theme this week for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is “low light.” Museums and galleries often have challenging lighting for taking photographs. I used my Samsung phone to take most of these photos since it does well in low light conditions. I’ll share some of my tips for taking and editing photos.
The first image shows a war lodge. Warriors made these temporary structures in wooded areas to hide their presence in enemy territory.
There was a reflection of a large blue screen on the right side of the image that I eliminated with my editing program, Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. I also used a vignette effect to direct viewers to the most interesting parts of this structure.
There have been some big changes at the amphitheater in Bend, Oregon. I featured the art in and around this venue in a post in June 2020. At that time, it was called the Les Schwab Amphitheater. It was named after a local entrepreneur who developed a thriving national tire business. Now the site is the Hayden Homes Amphitheater, named after a local home builder.
This site, the largest outdoor music venue in Bend, hosts concerts as well as events like Brewfest. Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment company, will partner with Hayden Homes in managing events. This page lists events scheduled for 2022.
Before and after views of the big changes
Today I’ll turn my lenses toward some of the changes at this site.
The stage before was small with whimsical art on the front and back. Here’s the artwork that was on the back of the stage. I loved the raven in this mural.
The new industrial-style stage is much larger and has a big open “window” space to take in the view.
I took photos of Double Arch while on a trip to Arches National Park, Utah. I’ll be showing how I processed this photo three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021.
Prior to trying various effects, I increased the brightness, contrast, fill light, and clarity. Since this photo was taken from a distance, I also adjusted the sharpness.
The first two show the original image and the same picture with a Film and Filters effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Film and Filters. I selected Warm Earth Tones from the first pulldown menu and Warming Filter from the second one. The filter intensified the color of the arches and darkened the sky.
The next two show the original image and the same picture with an Infrared effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Infrared. This effect softens the edges and highlights the contrasting vertical lines of lichens on the arches.Continue reading
I saunter along distant trails, not knowing what wonders nature will share with me.
Will falling water sing between rocky cliffs?
Will earth show its origins in the soil?
Will wind turn wheels of history over parched plains?
And when I return home from distant trails, will fireworks light the skies?
I’m sharing memories of a fruit-filled Friday in Hood River, Oregon last fall. We took a trip to northern Oregon in search of fall foliage, but stopped to buy some tasty fruit in Hood River. These apples were at Smiley’s Red Barn, one of 26 stops along the Hood River Fruit Loop. Visitors can stop at fruit stands, orchards, wineries, and vineyards along this route. If you’re craving a good beer, check out some of the great breweries and pubs within a half hour from Hood River.