Bunnies, Bunnies, Everywhere… An Easter Tale

I drove into the Pleasant Valley Campground near Tillamook, Oregon and there were bunnies everywhere, including this magnificent creature.

I drove into the Pleasant Valley Campground near Tillamook, Oregon and there were bunnies everywhere, including this magnificent creature.

 

With Easter having arrived, I couldn’t resist re-blogging/modifying a post I did on some really cute bunnies a while back.

I had stopped over in Tillamook, Oregon to visit the cheese factory. It sends out tons of the stuff annually. I assume all over the world. I watched women whip around 50 pound blocks of cheese like they had been working out with Arnold Schwarzenegger. This made me hungry, so I ordered a sample plate of Tillamook ice cream. Bad idea. It’s really good. I mean really, really good. But eating all of those calories made me tired. It was time to find a campground.

And this is where the bunnies came in. I pulled into Pleasant Valley Campground, a few miles south of Tillamook, and was greeted by (drum roll please) RABBITS, dozens of them. There were black ones, and brown ones, and white ones, all of whom seemed to be chasing each other around in a glorious romp to make more bunnies. After all, isn’t that what rabbits do beside deliver Easter eggs?

Ignoring the obvious, for the moment, I asked the owner where all the rabbits came from. “Oh they used to live across the street,” she informed me. “One day, a few moved over here. They didn’t do any harm and the campers seemed to like them. So I let them stay.” The rest is history, as they say. Anyway, here are some photos I took of the rabbits. Enjoy.

I am going for the awww factor with this baby bunny.

I am going for the “awww” factor with this baby bunny.

This was only a few of the rabbits, but it makes the point.

This was only a few of the rabbits, but it makes the point.

Furry rabbit near Tillamook, Oregon.

This furry gal was napping when I snuck up on her, but then, her eyes popped open…

Alert brown rabbit near Tillamook, Oregon.

And she was all wiggly ears and twitchy nose.

It rained really hard that night. I discovered I had several rabbits using my van as shelter. The step is the doorstep to my van.

It rained hard that night. I discovered I had several rabbits using my van as shelter. The step is my doorstep. My flashlight caught their eyes. Scary. Was it a case of when good bunnies go bad?

Tillamook, Oregon Bunny. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Nah. I’ll finish off with another baby bunny. It was cold out and this tyke looks cold. I almost invited it into my van to warm up. 

I don’t know how many of these bunnies participate in delivering Easter Eggs, but any of them would be welcomed here! A very Happy Easter to our friends throughout the blogging world— Curt and Peggy

A Cow Has Four Stomachs and Other Tales from the Pacific Northwest

Cow T-shirt at Tillamook Cheese Factory

Raising cattle to produce dairy products is big business in the Tillamook area. Peggy and I found this T-shirt at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

 

I am going to get to the cows and their four stomachs, but first I want to cover our stay at Rockaway Beach, which is about 15 miles north of Tillamook on Highway 101. Our suite looked out on the ocean. We could watch the waves roll in and hear the continuous roar of the ocean. Wintry skies brought rain but the clouds were also great for beautiful sunsets. We headed out whenever there was a break in the weather, and even when there wasn’t. We walked the beach, visited local shops, and ate out at the town’s restaurants. Thanksgiving dinner was at Grumpy’s and Mrs. Grumpy hovered over us to make sure we ate our veggies. How much more down-home can you get? The complete meal, which included all of the Thanksgiving favorites, cost a whopping 12 bucks. “I want it to be affordable for everyone,” Mrs. Grumpy primly informed us.

Gentle waves roll in at Rockaway Beach, Or P

The ocean was shallow and produced a long line of waves that created a roar as opposed to the sound of single waves crashing.

Sunset over Rockaway Beach on the Oregon Coast near Tillamook.

We were treated to several beautiful sunsets looking out from our suite at Rockaway Beach. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Small shops had the usual touristy stuff found in coastal tourist shops everywhere. “Go to Flamingo Jims,” we were urged. As to why it was named Flamingo in an area where the tropical bird would freeze, I didn’t have a clue. But we went. And we weren’t disappointed; it was filled to the brim with cheap souvenirs. We wandered around and checked out T-shirts, mermaids and sea shells. We could have bought a sand dollar for a dollar, but Peggy prefers to find her own. I was reminded of this old tongue twister. Try saying it as fast as you can without a mistake.

She sells sea shells by the sea shore.
The shells she sells are surely seashells.
So if she sells shells on the seashore,
I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

Seashells for sell at Flamingo Jim's in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

Any good tourist souvenir shop on the ocean has seashells to sell.

Mermaids for sell at Rockaway Beach in Oregon

And mermaids. A twist for the Northwest is Bigfoot(s), or is that Bigfeet? You can see some up in the righthand corner.

The beach seemed to go on forever. One end was dominated by the sea rocks that Rockaway Beach is famous for; the other by a forest covered mountain. If you look at the rocks from the right angle, they make an excellent sea dragon. Welcome to Oregon, Nessie! A creek divided the beach about halfway along. Sea gulls patrolled the waterfront, checking out both the ocean and tourists for possible food. A small boy threw out a couple of pieces of bread and was suddenly surrounded by 50 of the birds, in seconds! They seemed to materialize out of nowhere. How do they do that?

Rockaway Beach Oregon Beach

Looking north up the beach at Rockaway. Our suite was on the second floor of the building on the right. Our footprints lead down to where we took the photo. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

The rocks of Rockaway beach photographed by Curtis Mekemson.

The sole rocks of Rockaway Beach look very much like a sea serpent with its head under water searching for tasty fish. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

creek that divides Rockaway Beach, Oregon

A creek flowing across Rockaway Beach limited how far we could hike south.

A seagull steps out at Rockaway Beach, Or

A seagull steps out on his gull-friend at Rockaway Beach.

When we ran out of things to do in Rockaway, we drove 15-miles south to Tillamook. I’ve already done posts on Cape Meares, Munson Creek Falls, and some very wet alpacas. On our way, we decided to check out a small county park in Barview and found the Coast Guard practicing air to sea rescue missions by helicopter, which is what our son Tony does.

Seagull stops to watch Coast Guard practice rescues

And here, a seagull joins us in watching the Coast Guard practice rescue operations at Barview, just north of Tillamook.

Practice rescue mission by the Coast Guard

Part of this practice included dropping a man down on to a rocking boat to help in a rescue effort, which was a operation our son was involved with several times while flying  helicopters over rough Alaska waters.

In Tillamook, it is almost required that people stop off at Tillamook Cheese and Ice Cream factory. The cheese is good and can be found throughout the US, but the ice cream is to die for. Our refrigerator is always stocked with a half-gallon.  I should probably weigh 300 pounds but we limit our consumption to Date Night, which falls on Wednesday, as it has for the past 27 years.

Welcome to Tillamook Cheese Factory

The visitor’s center at the Tillamook Cheese Factory included a number of exhibits on the dairy industry, from beginning…

Rear view rear at Tillamook Cheese Factory

…To the end.

cow stomach

I was particularly interested to learn that a cow has four stomachs, which were two more than I was aware of. I also learned that when a cow chews its cud it’s know an ruminating, is case you ever wondered about where the word came from. So, next time you find yourself ruminating, you might want to break out some gum.

When we were out and about and lost, we also came on the Latimer Quilt and Textile Museum where I found the alpacas. Peggy’s love of quilting demanded a visit. We found numerous quilts, a doll collection, looms, and a lot of history.

Alpaca photo in Tillamook, Oregon by Curtis Mekemson.

You will probably remember the alpacas. Check out the blue eyelashes on this gal.

Quilts at Latimer Quilt and Textile Center

As might be expected, the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center was filled with quilts. The Center was preparing for a big sale. These are more traditional quilts.

Quilt at Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, Or

And this one a more modern version.

Interesting dress at Latimer Quilt and Textile Center

A number of other textile products were offered as well, including this dress. We assumed something would be worn under it, but possibly not at Burning Man.

Looms at Latimer Quilt and Textile Center

A number of looms were available for weaving.

Doll at quilt shop

There was even an extensive doll collection. I picked this one out for her reading material. 

Peggy Mekemson quilt

I’ll conclude today’s post with this gorgeous quilt that Peggy made for our bed using a vintage Singer Featherweight sewing machine that her grandmother bought in 1933.

 

WEDNESDAY’S PHOTO POST: Join Peggy and me as we explore the Greek island of Santorini.

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The Highest Waterfalls on the Oregon Coast: Munson Creek Falls

Munson Creek Falls near Tillamook, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

The upper section of Munson Creek Falls.

Peggy has been lobbying for a tour of Oregon waterfalls for quite a while. So, when I read that Munson Creek Falls was near Tillamook, I knew we would have to pay a visit on our recent trip to the coast. We drove over to Tillamook from Rockaway Beach where we were staying and then south for seven miles following Highway 101. Along the way, we passed the giant blimp hangar built during World War II that now serves as an air museum. I visited the hangar a couple of years ago when I was passing through the area. Close to the turnoff, we also passed the campground where I had stayed. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the falls— I’d been too busy counting rabbits.

A view of the blimp hangar during World War II. The blimps were used for spotting Japanese submarines off the coast. (Photo from Tillamook Air Museum.)

The Tillamook Air Museum shown here, served as a blimp hangar during World War II.

A photograph of the Air Museum I took on my previous visit. The airplane in front is known as a guppy. The house provides a perspective on size.

White rabbit near Tillamook, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

This lovely creature was one of over a hundred rabbits wandering around freely at Pleasant Valley Campground near the exit to Munson Creek Falls.

A sign along 101 told us to turn inland for the falls. We followed a narrow, pothole filled road that became narrower as we went, making it more difficult to dodge the potholes that were simultaneously becoming deeper and more numerous! The short three and a half miles felt like twenty. We finally reached the parking lot, however, and discovered that we had entered a rainforest. Trees covered in moss gave a magical feel to the area.  An easy, quarter of a mile trail led off toward the falls. More moss-covered trees and rocks, the dashing Munson Creek, brightly colored fallen leaves, mushrooms and ferns lined the trail.

Moos covered tree along path to Munson Creek Falls. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Moss covered trees gave a magical feeling to the path leading to the falls.

Hanging moss at Munson Creek Falls near Tillamook, Oregon.

A close up of the hanging moss. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Moss draped across branch along trail to Munson Creek Falls on the north coast of Oregon.

And another. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Fall leaves along trail to Munson Creek Falls near Tillamook, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

The damp conditions added to the colors of the leaves that had fallen along the trail.

Fallen leaves along trail to Munson Creek Falls near Tillamook, Oregon.

A close up. This is from a Big Leaf Maple tree. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Mushrooms along the trail to Munson Creek Falls off of Highway 101 in northern Oregon.

These reddish mushrooms caught my eye.

Munson Creek near Munson Creek Falls on north coast of Oregon.

Munson Creek dashed along beside the trail, keeping us company. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Moss covered rock in Munson Creek near Munson Creek Falls on north Oregon Coast. (Photo by Curtis Mekemson.)

A moss-covered rock decorated with fall leaves sat in the middle of the creek.

Moss, ferns and leaves on a tree near Munson Creek Falls near Tillamook, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Moss, ferns and fallen leaves on a tree had a Christmas look.

Trail to Munson Creek Falls near Tillamook, Oregon. (Photo by Curtis Mekemson.)

A view of the trail.

Our first view of the falls assured us that we had made the right decision to make the trip. Water shot out from the top and tumbled some 319 feet to the bottom, making Munson Creek Falls the highest on the Oregon coat. Halfway down a log jam gave testimony to the power of the stream. The rainforest provided a dramatic backdrop. We wandered around seeking various vantage points to appreciate the beauty, and finally, being satiated, hiked back to the parking lot. The drive out went much faster, or so it seemed.

Munson Creek falls in the coastal mountains near Tillamook, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

The 319 foot tall falls. The log jam with its large logs spoke to the power of the creek. I also like the moss-covered tree to the right.

Photo by Peggy Mekemson of Munson Creek Falls near Tillamook, Oregon.

A final look at the falls above the log jam. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

 

Photos: Most of the photos I use on this blog are taken by either Peggy or me. Photos without attribution are taken by me. I always note any other sources such as the Air Museum above.

NEXT POSTS: Almost everyone I know who tries to maintain a blog while writing books runs into a challenge with time. There isn’t enough. Solutions range from dropping out of the blogosphere for a while to limiting blogs. I am going to try something else for the next month. If it doesn’t work, I’ll have to a move to a more dramatic solution. Here’s what I am going to try: On Mondays I will do my usual travel blog; on Wednesdays I will put up photos from my collection of 76,000; on Fridays, I am going to blog my book on MisAdventures. The theory is that this will allow me most of the week to work on the book. We’ll see.

WEDNESDAY: We will drop down to the South Island of New Zealand and visit the beautiful Milford Sound.

 

 

 

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The Cape Meares Lighthouse, an Octopus Tree, and the Three Rock Arches of Oregon

Cape Meares Lighthouse

At 38-feet tall, the Cape Meares Lighthouse is the shortest lighthouse in Oregon. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Towering cliffs, abundant sea life, a lighthouse, massive rocks rising out of the ocean, the Octopus Tree, and an old-growth forest of Sitka Spruce… How could we resist? With the sun tentatively breaking through the clouds, Peggy and I grabbed our cameras, packed our raingear, and headed out to Cape Meares, which is located about 30 minutes away from Tillamook, Oregon.

But first, our stomachs demanded lunch, so we stopped at the Pelican Brewing Company in Tillamook for a hamburger and, of course, a beer. Peggy and I shared a pint of tasteful ale. The Northwest is noted for its great craft beers and Pelican has some dandies. Several have won national and international awards.

Pelican Brewing Company

Good things were brewing at the Pelican Brewing Company in Tillamook, Oregon.

Curt Mekemson enjoying a pint at Pelican Brewing Company in Tillamook, Oregon.

Cheers! (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Having tamed our hunger and thirst, we headed out to the coast and were soon perched on an overlook admiring the Three Arch Rocks, so named because each one contains an arch. Of greater significance, the rocks are known for their large nesting colonies of Common Murres, Cormorants, Western Gulls, storm-petrels, auklets, Black Oystercatchers, Tufted Puffins, and Pigeon Guillemots. In 1907, Teddy Roosevelt declared the area a wildlife sanctuary, the first in the US west of the Mississippi. He did so on the recommendation of a pair of young conservationists, William Finley and Herman Bohlman, who had watched hunters decimate the sea lion population on the rocks, and even worse, observed local ‘sportsmen’ row out to the rocks on Sundays and use the birds for target practice, killing thousands.

 

Three Rock Arches near Cape Meares

Three Rock Arches as seen from an overlook just before the small town of Oceanside.

Three Rock Arches near Oceanside

Peggy used her telephoto to pull in the middle of the Three Arch Rocks. While you can’t see through the arch at this angle, you can see how big it is. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Three Rock Arches 1

A convenient pine provided a different perspective.

We drove on to the Cape Meares Lighthouse where a sign in the parking lot suggested a detour toward the Octopus Tree that sent our imaginations spiraling out of control. Was this a magic tree of fantasy lore? Would we be swept up in its tentacles? Naturally, we had to check it out. The tree turned out to be a Sitka Spruce with eight trunk-like limbs that once made it into Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The story behind its unique shape is that the local Tillamook Indians shaped it to grow that way, created a sacred site where elders could gather to make important decisions and Shamans would travel on their mystical journeys. A few yards away from the tree, a plunging cliff provided more views of the Three Arch Rocks, this time backlit by the sun. Peggy found a man operating a camera drone on the edge of the cliff, capturing pictures of the 200-foot drop off that we weren’t willing to lean out far enough to get.

Sitka Spruce forest at Cape Meares

We walked through a Sitka Spruce forest to get to the Octopus Tree.

Octopus Tree

The Octopus Tree is surrounded by a fence to keep it from eating people. Whoops, fake news. It’s surround by a fence to keep young and old kids from climbing on it.

Octopus Tree

The Tillamook Indians were said to place their canoes on the branches. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Three Rock Arches backlit

We were south of the cape looking north when we took the first photos of the Three Rock Arches. Here we were looking south with the rocks back lit by the sun. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Three Rock Arches backlit

This shot of the rocks gave the feeling of a lurking sea monster with the light showing through one of the arches serving as its eye.

Three Rock Arches

Two of the arches can be seen in this photo by Peggy. The rock on the left is the same one she took a close up of from the other direction.

Man with drone at Cape Meares.

The drone man who was capturing shots of the cliffs.

Walking back toward the lighthouse, we found more cliffs on the other side of the peninsula where the lighthouse sits. These featured a waterfall that tumbled down into the ocean. We also noticed white guano (bird poop) decorating the cliff sides, a sure sign that birds build their nests along the cliffs. Imagine being a young bird looking over the edge of your nest and pondering your fate.

Waterfalls 1

The waterfalls came tumbling down. The white spots on the opposite cliff show the sites of bird nests.

A sign at the site informed us that baby birds are either flyers or jumpers. Murrelet chicks, who are fliers, have been observed pacing back and forth in their nest for a couple of days, flapping their wings frantically, and nervously peering over the edge before they finally take the plunge. It’s worse for Common Murres. Their mom kicks them out of the nest when they are three weeks old… before they can fly! No Mom of the Year there.  They simply stand on the edge and jump, hoping that their stubby wings will guide them to them into the ocean instead of the rocks below. Dad patiently waits in the ocean where he will take over parenting responsibilities for a few weeks until the babies can fend for themselves. Meanwhile, a whole host of hungry predators are waiting below chanting “Crash! Crash! Crash!”

While I am on the subject of birds and food, I learned at Cape Meares that the Tufted Puffins have a barbed tongue that they use to spear fish. They can get three or so minnow-sized fish on their tongue at once. The first one is pushed up the tongue by the second and the second by the third. The barbs hold them in place until, I assume, baby birds wrest them free. I also found out that a pair of Peregrine Falcons were known to nest in the area. These birds are the fastest animals in the world. They fly high above their prey, fold their wings and literally fall, or dive, hitting speeds up to 250 miles per hour (402 KPH) before smacking into their dinner.

At 38-feet tall, The Cape Meares Lighthouse is known for being the shortest lighthouse in Oregon. Given that it stands on a 217-foot tall cliff, however, size probably doesn’t matter. The lighthouse was built on location but the first order Fresnel lens (pronounced ‘fraynel’) was wrestled up the cliff in 1899 using a wood crane built from local timber. The lens had been manufactured in France and shipped around Cape Horn and up the coast to Oregon. It was built with four primary lenses and four bull’s-eye lenses providing light that can be seen 21 miles out at sea.

Cape Meares

This T-Rex perspective of Cape Meares by the Fish and Wildlife Service provides a good view of the cliffs. The lighthouse is the white speck at the end of the lower ‘jaw.’ The Octopus Tree is on the upper end of the lower jaw. The waterfall was inside the lower jaw.

Cape Meares Lighthouse

The Trail down to the Cape Meares Lighthouse. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Fresnel Lens in Cape Meares Lighthouse

A close up of the Fresnel lens with its red bullseye.

Cape Meares Lighthouse 2

A final view of the Cape Meares Lighthouse.

 

NEXT POST: Peggy and I make our way through a rainforest to the highest waterfall on the Oregon Coast.

 

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We’re Just Glad We Aren’t Turkeys…

White alpaca 4

This alpaca greeted me at the Latimer Quilt Center near Tillamook, Oregon. She had just been through a downpour.

 

I got us a bit lost yesterday and was grumpy. I zigged when I should have zagged. Peggy and I had been visiting the Tillamook Cheese and Ice Cream factory and I had made a left turn onto a country road instead of a right.

“I think you need to go right,” Peggy had suggested as I drove on, thinking I knew where I was going. Teach me. We had continued down the country road, far past where I realized that Peggy was correct, when we saw a sign to the Latimer Quilt Center.

“Oh, I want to go there!” Peggy said eagerly. “Not me,” I’d replied, still grouchy. Whoops. I was thinking it was getting late and we still had to drive into Tillamook and shop at Safeway before returning to Rockaway Beach. And I was thinking we’d be driving home after dark on a stormy night along the coast. I was thinking wrong.

I spotted the alpacas as we drove into the quilting museum. “I’ll see you inside,” my buddy had noted, realizing that I could not resist the charming four-legged sweater factories.

“Oh, you poor fellows,” I had declared when I got closer, barely able to speak I was laughing so hard. A downpour had just passed and they were drenched, the epitome of a bad-hair day. I think one of then mumbled, “We’re just glad we aren’t turkeys.”

Actually, they had a spacious shed they could have hidden out in if they had chosen. Maybe their Andean DNA insisted on them being out in the cold and wet. Anyway, here they are looking half drowned…

Wild haired apaca 2

This gal was definitely having a bad hair day!

Wild hair alpaca 1

As I watched, she worked on lunch.

Brown alpaca 3

I think that this fellow took umbrage at my laughter…

Brown alpaca 4

Eyed me suspiciously…

Brown alpaca 5

And gave me a squinty look.

White alpaca 7

Meanwhile, the cutie shown at the top of the post happily rested on the soaking wet ground.

White alpaca 3

Provided a profile shot…

White alpaca 2

And looked pretty!

 

The alpacas, Peggy and I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

PS… I found the quilting museum quite interesting and took this photo of a quilt featuring a lighthouse as a lead in to my next post where Peggy and I will visit the rugged Cape Meares and the Cape Meares Lighthouse.

Lighthouse quilt from the Latimer Quilt Center

 

 

 

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A World War II Blimp Hangar, a Guppy, and a Cow Escape Route… The Oregon Coast

Eight blimps called this hangar in Tillamook, Oregon home during World War II. (Photo at Tillamook Air Museum.)

Eight blimps called this Tillamook, Oregon hangar home during World War II. (Photo at Tillamook Air Museum.)

I’d been through Tillamook, Oregon several times and never spotted the huge blimp hangar that was built there during World War II. It is plainly visible from the Highway 101. Who knows what I was thinking about when I made my way up and down the road? It must have been a heck of a daydream. I saw the hangar this time, however, and it was like, “Wow!” I immediately changed plans and decided to stay in the area for another day. The hangar was something I had to visit.

How I missed seeing this building is a mystery to me.

How I missed seeing this building is a mystery to me.

Today it serves as a partially abandoned air museum. (Most of its airplanes have been shipped off to Madras in eastern Oregon, where it’s hoped the vintage aircraft will survive better in a drier climate.) The facility is definitely worth a visit, however. The 170-foot high, 1000-foot long building was built to accommodate eight, 252 f00t K class blimps. One hundred and twenty-foot tall doors open up to a cavernous interior.

The Tillamook Air Museum shown here, served as a blimp hangar during World War II.

Here are the massive doors. The airplane in front is known as a Guppy. I’ll show you why below.

A view inside the Tillamook Air Museum that served as a blimp hangar during World War II.

This view inside the hangar gives an idea of its massive size.

This illustration inside the Air Museum provides a perspective on the various sizes of blimps. The blimps housed at the Tillamook Naval Air Station were K-Class.

This illustration inside the Air Museum provides a perspective on the various sizes of blimps. The blimps housed at the Tillamook Naval Air Station were K-Class.

Blimps played an important role in World War II: They protected convoys and shipping lanes by spotting German and Japanese submarines. The blimps’ ability to fly in almost any type of weather, hover, and provide unobstructed views of the ocean made them an excellent choice for submarine patrol. The Tillamook facility was responsible for the coastline between British Columbia and northern California. Nine other naval air stations covered the rest of the west and east coasts of the US.

This illustration at the museum shows where blimp naval air stations were located during World War II.

Another illustration at the museum showed where blimp naval air stations were located during World War II. Sorry about the quality, but I found the illustration interesting. The dark symbols represent blimp hangars still in existence.

An introductory film and numerous World War II era photos at the museum provide an overview of the hangar’s history. I also found other interesting information on the war including posters, balloon bombs and a cow escape route.

World War II Woman Ordinance Worker poster found at the Tillamook Air Museum.

Among the other World War II items found at the museum were a number of WW II posters including this one for WOW, a Women Ordinance Worker.

The first ICBM? As the Japanese war effort was reversed and the US began its air raids on the country, Japan initiated a desperate ploy:  the use of  the jet stream to carry explosive-loaded balloons 6200 miles to the Pacific Coast.

Speaking of ordinance, this fading photo of a balloon has a story to tell; it may have been the first ICBM. As Japan faced defeat in 1944, it initiated a desperate ploy: the use of the jet stream to carry explosive-laden balloons 6200 miles to the Pacific Coast of the US and Canada. Some 6000 were launched but only 300 reached their destination, and they fell on rain-soaked forests, causing little damage.

I was amused when I came across a report on the cow escape route. Tillamook takes its cows seriously. Some of the best dairy stock in the US is located in the area. So it isn’t surprising that the local farmers decided their cows needed an escape route in case the Japanese invaded. Woodsmen were called upon to plan out paths through the forest. Using old logging roads, deer trails, and hunters’ routes, a cow getaway plan was soon organized.

No one asked the cows what they thought. Given that their idea of exercise was to leisurely travel from well-stocked barns to grass filled pastures, they may have preferred to hang around and provide the Japanese with milk, butter and cheese rather than hightail it through the rugged wilderness with udders bouncing.

The guppy airplane at the Tillamook Air Museum.

It isn’t too much of a jump to move from cows to a guppy is it?  One look at the front of this cargo plane explains its name. The Guppy is part of the Air Museums collection.

Inside the guppy.

Inside the Guppy.

Building the two hangars at Tillamook was a massive undertaking. Unstable ground, a ferocious winter, and the use all provided challenges.

Building the two hangars at Tillamook was a massive undertaking. Unstable ground, a ferocious winter, and the use of wood instead of steel for the structure all provided challenges. Steel was being used at the time for other war purposes. (Photo from Tillamook Air Museum.)

A blimp is launched from the Tillamook Air Station during World War II.

A blimp is launched from the Tillamook Air Station during World War II. Note the men holding ropes for a size perspective. Missions could last as long as 15 to 20 hours and some blimps were equipped to stay out as long as 59 hours and travel over 1400 miles. (Photo from Tillamook Air Museum.)

A final view of blimps arrayed outside of the Tillamook hangar during World War II.

A final view of blimps arrayed outside of the Tillamook hangar during World War II. Next blog: I find a surprise in the museum that takes me back to World War II and my wife’s father. (Photo from Tillamook Air Museum.)