Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tillamook - Air Museum, Cheese Factory & a Waterfall

We started the day by first visiting the Air Museum in Tillamook.  The Air museum is located at the old United States Naval Station.  Commissioned in 1942, it was a Naval Station for 6 years, and mainly was used to house blimps.  It was the base of operations for Squadron ZP-33 with a complement of 8 "K-Class" blimps made by Goodyear.  Now since my Uncle Rodney was a Blimp pilot and was stationed at Tillamook for a time (Lt. Everett Rodney Engle), I knew a bit about the importance that the Blimps played in WW2.

Due to the lack of steel during the war, the hangers had to be made mainly of wood.  There are four concrete pillars, two on each end of the hanger.  There is now sheet metal over the hanger today, but the structure is made nearly entirely of wood, a huge construction landmark of that day.
The hanger is huge.  It housed 8 blimps at a time. In both pictures you can see the concrete pillars on each side of the door, but that is wood going across above the door.   In the bottom picture to the far left you can see two concrete structures, which were the pillars for the other hanger which burned down in the early 1990's.
There is a fee to get in, I think $17 got us in the door, but it was well worth the price.

Below you ca see the wooden roof of the hanger from the inside.
Now one would think that the hanger would be filled with blimps, but it really has many old airplanes inside of it, while a small portion is being used as storage for RVs, trucks, etc. for a fee, which helps with the cost in running the museum.

Instead of trying to post every picture that I took, I have selected 12 of them that I put together into one picture, with their names along the top of each picture.  They have more than 12 airplanes, but these seemed to be of the most interest to me....
They had many wall exhibits, many pictures, and we spent a good couple of hours at the museum.  Never did see anything about my uncle, but he could have been in one of the many pictures and I would have never known it.  

Below is a picture of a picture showing the inside of one of the hangers filled with 8 blimps back in the 1940's.
As we left, I took this picture of a adjacent airplane hanger, but this one had a Japanese zero in front of it.  They had revved up the motor while we were in the "blimp" hanger....don't know if it is part of their future exhibit, or if it was just visiting.  Also, not positive it was a zero, or a plane that looks like a zero...but I include it in case it was.
With that, we did indeed go back to the Blue Heron, and we were lucky enough to get out of there spending less than $100, and yes, Marcia was glad that I had her go in.  We then took our sandwiches back to the motor home where the dogs were very happy to see us, and after we ate, we both napped before we went out again.

Our next place was the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  There is no fee to get in, but you do pay as you go out because you are probably going to buy some cheese and ice cream and other things on your way out.
The plant is large, but the tour is not real long, and very enjoyable.  You do it at your own pace, there are plenty of signs, and it is very interesting, and full of samples of cheese and ice cream.
The parking lot is large, there is plenty of ADA parking up close, and it is well worth the effort to do the tour.  If one is in an RV, there is a large area for big-rig parking off to the right, with well marked signs, and one should not be worried if they are pulling a tow vehicle behind them, as you can see in the picture below.  We were just in our HHR, so this was not an issue with us.
Below you can see the large vats that the cheese is made in.

There are 8 of these stainless steel cheese vats, which hold 53,500 pounds of fresh milk.  On average, each vat makes three batches of cheese per day.  It takes 10 pounds of milk (1.16 gallons) to make 1 pound of cheese.  More than 1.7 million pounds of milk arrive at the plant each day.  Around 167,000 pounds of cheese are made each day.

The cheese comes out of the pressing tower, and into a plastic bag, moves along the belt to the orange machine which sucks out all the air and seals the plastic bag.  Each block weighs between 41-42 pounds.  From here, they are boxed, then cooled and sent to the warehouse for aging.

There were a few other pictures which did not turn out due to the windows I was shooting through, and I did not take pictures of the cheese tasting area, gift shop, ice cream parlor, etc. because I was a little busy at that point.  :)

We left the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and went back to get the dogs, then we were off to see the Munson Creek Falls, which is just 2 miles away from the motor home.  The falls are located at the Munson Creek State Natural Site, which has no charge to use. There is no water, no restrooms, but a few park benches, lots of peace and quiet, and a nice water fall which tumbles down a series of falls for nearly 320 feet, making it the tallest waterfall in the Coast Range.  The park is home to ancient Western Red Cedar and Sitka Spruce. 

The road to the park is a lovely drive, but you have to dodge the pot holes (above).  Below is the start of the path to the water falls.  As I was walking along, just past this area, I came across a garter snake, which stopped, looked at me, then skirted off into the brush.
The path runs along Munson Creek, which you can see most of the time, and hear it as soon as you get out of the car.
 Below is your first view of the falls, which only 1/4 mile down the path.
The path finally ends, and you get the best view of the falls.  It looks like the path went further, but there is a large, clear sign which says that the path has officially ended.  I did not even give it another thought since two trees had fallen over the previous path, which had at least a few years of growth after they fell.
This tree (below) is near the end of the path, and is a very interesting looking are many which are along the path.  I had to leave Marcia and the dogs in the car, and was gone for at least 20 minutes.  We saw no other person, and it was a bit eerie walking in the deep, dark forest with no one else around.  Marcia had just started to worry about me when I returned.  I looked back behind me a few times as I walked back...if a mountain lion or bear had been in the area, I was not prepared to respond to that....
But the only thing we ran across besides birds was this ferocious little bunny rabbit.  Well, thank goodness I was in the car driving when we came across it.
Tomorrow we head up to KOA near Fort Stevens State Park, in the upper most part of the Oregon Coast.  Other than the smell of the cows in the Tillamook Valley, we have enjoyed this place.  She says that is smells worse than the paper mill in Pine Bluff....I have to agree with that.

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