Madras to Boise
Today's ride began where yesterday's ended. No surprise there, but Madras, Oregon is so small, just a tiny farming village on US 26, that breakfast was had today in the same place as dinner last night...the Black Bear Diner.
Breakfast was good, and I enjoyed some Portuguese sausage that I'd never had, but other than the Black Bear, there's not a lot to write home about regarding Madras.
The one possible exception is the Erickson Aircraft Collection. During the Second World War, Madras was a US Army Air Corps base. Now it's home to this neat collection of totally air-worthy aircraft from that era and others.
The crown jewel of the collection is the "Madras Maiden," a fully functional B-17 bomber.
My lifelong buddy James Hammons flies her, and I got the treat of a lifetime last year when she was in Savannah and he let me tag along for a sortie.
As of late, the "Maiden" has undergone a transformation and with a new coat of paint and some modifications, has been re-christened the "Ye Old Pub."
If you aren't familiar with the story of the "Ye Old Pub," then Google it. You will not be sorry. It's a great story of unbelievable chivalry during a war of unbelievable brutality.
There are several aircraft there in the hangar, all on display. When I was a kid I thought I'd like to be a flyer, so all this is still thrilling to me. Here are some pictures:
This Waco appeared in one of the Indiana Jones movies.
Here's a beautifully restored Japanese Nakajima Hayabusa, the Japanese word for peregrine falcon. These are extremely rare aircraft and the owner of the collection found four of them in Russia and purchased them sight unseen. The four were all badly battle damaged, and so this one is a composite. It flies! Now Nakajima makes Subarus.
This is a Martin Mauler torpedo bomber. Only four of them exist today.
This is a Curtis Stearman. If I ever win the lottery, one if these will have my name on it.
Here's a B-25 bomber. Look at all the bombing missions that are represented by the gold bombs painted on the nose.
Here is a restored German Me 109 Messerschmitt fighter.
The pilot had over 200 air combat victories and was awarded the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross with swords, oakleaves, and diamonds...the German equivalent to our Medal of Honor at the time.
This is a P-40, with British markings. We're used to seeing them with a dark, olive drab paint job and a red mouth full of big, sharp, white teeth...as how the famous flying tigers used to paint their planes.
Now this is a little more like it!
Years ago I had the honor of having lunch with Robert Scott, one if the flying tigers. He wrote "God is My Co-Pilot."
After visiting the museum, I was off toward Boise, Idaho.
Though high grasslands, Mountain passes, canyons, high deserts...eastern Oregon has it all.
Just beautiful country.
It was somewhere between 101 and 111 today. That will make one's mustache wax melt right off. I needed a break.
I got it midday at the little town of John Day...named for a famous explorer and trapper.
And then more beautiful countryside.
Before sundown I was setting my watch an hour ahead...
Because I was (back) in Idaho.
Boise tonight. Tomorrow I get the bike serviced and then it's on toward Wyoming.
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