April 22nd, 2023 – The Museum of Flight, Write-Up and Photos

April 22nd, 2023 – The Museum of Flight, Write-Up and Photos

Text and photos: Carl Foleen

Saturday, April 22nd dawned overcast and misty in Portland so the roads were wet, and there was plenty of road spray on I-5. Which dictated the use of “daily drivers” for at least a few of the JOCO contingent, while others decided this was a perfect time to get their cats out for some exercise. Today’s group for the drive-up consisted of ‘Cars and Coffee” friends Kevin Countryman and Perry Fellman; JOCO members Rich and Janet Stephens; Rex and Suzie Schneider; Matt (and son Scott) Nowak; Seth Shenker; Jim Hubbard (and friend Norm); Carl and Clara Foleen; Gene and Sarah Owens (who would meet us at Bahama Breeze, having driven up on Friday night); and Dick Ackroyd (now a Puget Sound resident – so this was a local event for him). Unfortunately, Tim and Mandy Ashcroft were under the weather and communicated their regrets.

Everyone was at the assembly point by 0730 hours (one couple had arrived by 0645!) so why wait? Adventure is just around the corner and up the freeway (and a couple of hours behind the wheel). Unfortunately, Rich Stephens was greeted with a chattering sound, but no other mechanical response from his starter. Luckily, Kevin had a booster pack and we were all on our way.

Traffic was relatively light, so once the group had lined up on I-5, we were northbound to our first rest stop at the Toutle River rest area for a stretch and a hoped-for cup of coffee. Alas, the volunteer coffee folks were not there at this early hour, so it was back on the road to the next stop at the Scatter Creek Safety stop (once Rich’s battery received another quick boost).

The freeway traffic was considerably lighter today, so we made good time enroute, arriving at Bahama Breeze at 10:15, a full 30 minutes before the scheduled meeting time. As luck would have it, some of the Seattle Jaguar Club (SJC) members were already there, so “schmooze time” commenced almost immediately upon arrival.

Cars were duly admired and the obligatory group photo was easily captured. About 1055 hours we sauntered toward the main entrance (having parked at the rear of the building, where there would be plenty of space). In just a few minutes the early arrivers were seated, and the combined group was moved to the patio area. Open, spacious, and very inviting. Our wait staff was quick to take our food and beverage orders, and brought the checks out a bit later than hoped, but that was a minor issue. Everyone agreed that the fare was quite plentiful and delicious.

As we gathered for the drive over to Boeing Field, Rich’s car once again was plagued by the clicking gremlin. Nothing to do but call AAA and by the time they arrived, Rich said that it was just more prudent for him to drive on back home. Most of the rest of the group turned our noses northward once more to reach the second objective, which is the Boeing Museum of Flight.

All parties gathered in the main entry area where we put on our wrist bands and walked to the beginning of the Great Gallery where we marveled at the Fokker Eindecker suspended from the ceiling, and waited for the docent-lead tours to begin at 1330 hours. Our tour guide was Frank Cary, a former Army helicopter pilot and twenty-plus year employee of Boeing (now retired) who is starting his second year as a docent. We had a delightful tour of the Great Gallery as he led us through the significant aircraft on display. Several are, of course, Boeing-built aircraft starting with a biplane that was either a float plane or a land-based aircraft. It is distinctive, because the floats are permanently attached to the aircraft, and then the floats were made in such a way as to allow wheels to be attached without compromising the water tight integrity of the floats. Another prominent display is the Boeing Model 80, a three-engine monoplane that was rescued from an aircraft boneyard in Alaska where it served its last owner as a passenger-carrying aircraft.

Arriving as late as we did, it was difficult to pick out what to see next, so a few of our group chose to visit the newly constructed covered area attached to the Space Museum that houses many significant aircraft in a sheltered (but not completely enclosed) area. Included in this display space are several historically significant aircraft among which are a B-17, B-29, and Boeing’s first jet bomber the B-47. Also housed here is the Air Force One that carried many presidents including President Kennedy, a Concorde, and several models of Boeing aircraft including the first flying 747 (which also became an aerial tanker in its varied career).

Some hearty stayed until closing time, and then each made their own way toward their next destination, be it an overnight stay in the Seattle area, or merely heading back down I-5 and home.

The event organizer wishes to acknowledge the invaluable support and “legwork” contributed by several members of the Seattle Jaguar Club to make this event the success that it was. Very special thanks to Brian and Sharon Case and Kent Wilken. Without their assistance this would have been a much different event, and not nearly the fun it was.

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