I had planned McMinnville as my informal end to my bike ride. The town is only 45 miles southwest from Portland. Gigi was going to meet me here and we were going to B&B it for two days before my final day of riding into Portland. Getting ahead of schedule and arriving in Portland 3 days early messed up these plans just a bit. I skipped McMinnville on my ride, it was a little too far west while I was aiming straight at Portland on my final, long day of riding. Ended up my friend Sheri drove me out to McMinnville from Beaverton. (The bike is back in Jordan’s dorm – I am done with biking for the rest of this trip). Gigi was driving up from Ashland, where she had spent the night with a friend.
Main Street USA town – McMinnville is easily the prettiest, most vibrant town I have seen on this trip. 3rd street is the downtown street. The town has a wine tasting walk, seems wineries like to have tasting rooms in town. Looks like some good restaurants – see Thistle, a farm to table restaurant – although we just ate veggie bowls at the Local Flow Health bar and cooked in at our Victorian on 10th B&B (see Gigi’s post). McMenamins runs the Oregon Hotel, Sheri and I had a drink in their 4th floor rooftop bar while waiting for Gigi to arrive. Lots of cute shops on 3rd street to window shop and visit.
Evergreen Aviation and Space museum – Another ‘seal the deal’ for visiting McMinnville was that the Spruce Goose was here. What the heck? The world’s largest wooden seaplane in a land locked air museum. The thing had sat in Long Beach for decades. Well, come and watch the video that explains the whole story behind this. We spend two hours here, soooooo much more to see than the Goose. I was
getting my WW2 history nerd on. A Spitfire and Messerschmitt side by side, around the corner the German’s WW2 jet fighter plane; in the space museum a V1 and V2 rocket. Also in the space museum building, a real Mercury 10 astronaut’s capsule, TWO titan rockets, an SR-71 blackbird, etc, etc, etc. This museum is truly first class.
More Pinot, Less Pain – I had looked at Oregon Wine maps before my trip and expected to see wineries along my route. If you look at the oregonwinecountry.org map explorer, the Willamette is just packed with wineries. I was going to slow down and only do 45 miles a day to allow wine tasting. Well, pretty much all I saw was grass. Maybe two small plots of vines over 140 miles. I literally saw one sign for a winery outside Newberg. I ended up choosing Pain to get to Portland in one hop from Corvallis. I would find these elusive
wineries by car. Gigi and visited one winery, and I think we picked a good one: Brooks. It is located in the Eola-Amity hills. Beautiful tasting room with views out over the Willamette valley; fun, friendly, easygoing staff; great pinot. Our B&B landlords have their own vineyard and make their own wine, so I had an unlabelled bottle of homebrew to sip from when we were back in the B&B. Pretty darn good.
Miller Woods Conservation Area – Did not see this advertised in any of McMinnville’s Things to Do, but we love hiking and I found this doing a ‘hikes’ search – oregonhikers.org. Beautiful 4 mile hike through forest and open pasture. The area was logged, but up on the hill there are a few old-growth Douglas Fir trees. Streams to cross on wooden bridges, wildflowers everywhere, even the occasional wild iris along the trail. Out in the pasture they have put bird houses on posts, and we saw blue swallows flying around and bringing grass into the boxes to make nests. This was a nice recovery exercise after a day of rest for me.