Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 26 July 2009

900 Tons of Rotting Tuna

Rockaway Beach, Oregon

It was sad when the great ship went down. It was 1976 and the Betty M. was fully laden with a cargo of 900 tons of fresh tuna. She capsized in the mouth of the Columbia River. Local residents still talk about the stench that lasted for months. The diving here involves 50 degree water temperatures and 10 to 30 foot visibility. I think I'll leave the SCUBA gear in the basement until we get back to Florida.

This is a picture of the Tillamook Naval Air Station back in 1943. The Navy dirigibles photographed her are only slightly shorter than the 800-foot Hindenburg.

One of Mrs. Phred's online friends came to visit. Her name is Laura. Mrs. Phred and Laura go to "Garibaldi days" and have excellent fried oysters for lunch. I stay home and do paperwork. I'm pleased to be able to load Laura up with fresh fish. She drove a long way to meet Mrs. Phred. Laura works in the Oregon mental hospital where "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was filmed starring Jack Nicolson. The book was written by Ken Kesey who got his big start from having his brains jarred loose by the CIA during the MKULTRA project, which involved slipping LSD to unwitting citizens. Kesey's fourth child, conceived with another Merry Prankster, was appropriately named "Sunshine"...
Today we took a three-cape scenic drive along the coast. We both had that deja vu feeling that we'd been here before...perhaps we had. The Tillamook Air Museum is not bad. They had some very nice WWII airplanes and airplane engines on display. My own C-124 engine was there. It was the largest airborne piston engine ever deployed. It was used on the B-36 as well....a radial seven with four rows...28 cylinders...what a hog. 4,500 cubic inches...four engines...no wonder we burned 10,000 gallons of high octane on a ten hour flight....about five gallons a mile...

The most lovely plane in the museum is a P-38 called the Tangerine.

I don't recognize it at first...light, flighty, lovely and bristling with 50-calibers. The engines rotate in opposite directions to cancel the effects of torque.

Lt. Ethell who flew one this made some kills. The people next to us gave us a plate of freshly boiled crab. It was good but it ruined our appetite for the sockeye salmon I had cooked so I made a sandwich spread from it with eggs, onions, mayonnaise and chipottle sauce. It made about seven healthy sandwiches.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the air museum was the building housing it. They claim it is the largest wooden building in the world. It's easy to believe. They built it to house Akron Class Navy rigid dirigibles during WWII. They built two, but one burned to the ground about 20 years ago. It had been filled with hundreds of tons of hay. The building that is left houses a bunch of stored boats and RVs in addition to the air museum.

Tomorrow we move on to the mouth of the Columbia where Lewis and Clark wintered in 1805.
I think the WWII dirigibles were very useful for convoy duty.


Rotting tuna, Ken Kesey, P-38s, the Merry Pranksters, Chipottle sauce, Project MKULTRA, the CIA, WWII dirigibles, the Oregon coast capes, fresh fish....it all comes together right here in Tillamook. It's interesting that Lt Ethell's son, Jeff Ethell, wrote a book called "Warbirds of WWII" and crashed a restored P-38 and died in Tillamook in 1997. Apparently he lost an engine, failed to maintain a sufficient airspeed and destroyed himself and one of the last of these lovely airplanes in a flat spin.











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