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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Six-Year Jinx

This post dates back into August, but I still wanted to share.

On August 29th, on one of our trips to Portland to check out off-road boots, we decided to take the long way home via Tillamook. The reason for the longer route was to stop at the Tillamook Forest Center to see if they had a particular map available.
(Tillamook Forest Center is B on the map above)
On a previous trip to check out the many off-highway vehicle (OHV) areas along Highway 6 we noticed the staging areas all had a specific all encompassing trail map on display. We determined the best place to acquire a copy of the map would be the forestry center.  By the time we passed the forestry center on the earlier trip it was closed, so this time we made a point of leaving the Portland area earlier. 

Entry is free, but a donation is recommended.  We both gave them a donation.  Every bit helps keep the doors open.

We managed to arrive by 4 pm, one hour before closing.  Just one hour - not enough time.


The center was larger than we anticipated.  Not only was there 40-foot tall replica of a fire lookout on display, the center also had a 250-foot long suspension bridge out back.  Inside the center was a gift shop, small theater, and several displays showing old logging equipment and things you'd find in the forest.


The first thing we did was watch Legacy of Fire - a 15-minute film on the history of the area and the famous Tillamook Burn.  This is where we learned of the six-year jinx. To watch the film click this LINK.  Another resource is the Welcome Guide, which you can view by clicking this LINK.

Some highlights of the Welcome Guide include:

"On August 14, 1933 one spark changed the landscape forever. The day dawned hot and dry in a forest ripe for fire.  A logging company working in Gales Creek canyon planned to shut down early due to the extreme fire danger.  As loggers dragged in the last log it was pulled on top of another creating enough friction to ignite a fire."

" The Tillamook Fire burned a total of 240,000 acres including the day it "blew up" destroying 200,000 acres of forest in 24-hours."

" Additional fires scorched the area in 1939, 1945, and 1951 creating the Tillamook Burn and the legend of the six-year jinx."

" In the end, the series of four wildfires burned 355,000 acres of forest land."

"The Oregon Department of Forestry began a huge reforestation project in 1949 which resulted in the hand planting of 79 million tree seedlings."

In the film we also learned that this was the first time ever an agency attempted reforestation by dropping seeds from airplanes.

Watching the Legend of Fire gave us a new appreciation of the area and what people endured to ensure we have the gorgeous forests of today.

We wandered through the center and out onto the bridge.

(Suspension bridge viewed from Forestry Center)

(Looking back at the Forestry Center and the top of the lookout tower)

(Looking East while on the bridge)

(Looking West while on the bridge - water levels are low)

We walked back inside and took a peek at the displays.  No time to dawdle because it was getting close to closing.  We wandered though the gift shop and found the map we were looking for.

We exited the building and climbed the lookout tower.

(A large donation will get your name on a green tree on the wall)



(Troubadour inside the tower)

(A look down at the forest center entrance)

(Ready to go down the stairs)

(Some interesting patterns on the way down)


It was 5 pm and so we had to go.  They were closing the big gates out front.  We headed west into Tillamook where we stopped at Fred Meyer for snacks.  In the parking lot was this gem and Troubadour was in love. The Chevy Vega was produced for the 1971 to 1977 model years and I believe Troubadour might have owned one in high school.

(Chevy Vega Kammback)

(Chevy Vega Kammback)

Now we know why he likes the Subaru wagon so much.

- Au Revoir

"  All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind." - Martin H Fischer
.

43 comments:

  1. Trobairitz,

    It must be nice to have a place like Tillamook in your backyard. Very beautiful and majestic...definitely some nice facilities. So about the six-year jinx, have there been other fires in the sequence after 1951?

    BTW, why "Tillamook"? Sounds like an indigenous native American tribe or something. If you've ever provided a back story or history of the region I missed it.

    Cheers,
    Curt
    Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy.

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    1. Tillamook is a Native American name and the area is rich in Native American history. I apologize for not giving any history of the area in an earlier blog post. Here is a link to a lot of good information on the Tillamook people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tillamook_people

      The 1951 fire was the last in the six year jinx series. Not to say there haven't been fires up there since, but no others have been part of the jinx.

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    2. Thanks for sharing more info about the History of the area! I forgot to mention that the first car I ever bought as a teenager was a Chevy Vega...it was a hatchback coupe. Let the good times roll. :-)

      Cheers,
      Curt

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  2. LOL!!! my first car was a green 71 vega notchback/sedan, with the enclosed trunk... and i had a friend with the GT hatchback, which btw didnt overheat nearly as much (as mine did), lol! :D i have always wanted to put a V8 in one. thanks for the fun flashback!
    lovely place! i love fire lookouts... great pics!

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    1. Good stuff MQ. Brad will be pleased to hear you had a Vega too.

      In Oregon you can rent most of the fire lookouts as camping spots. Some are hike in only, but the views would be so worth it. We wanted to do some camping in them this summer, but it was too hot and dry so they were all being used for their intended purpose instead.

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  3. Great report and photos! At first I thought you were speaking of your own 6-year jinx of some type. Such a beautiful area. I'd love to get back there.

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    1. Thanks Barb. I guess the title might have been a little misleading. No six year jinx for us.

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  4. The Vega! How well I remember that!

    Inside that tower is perfect. I'd call that home anytime. I'd love to visit this place. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You don't see too many Vegas anymore. Probably with good reason, lol.

      We have 21 fire lookouts that are rentals here in Oregon. Would love to rent one to hang out and just chill with no electronics. They come complete with cooking supplies and have heaters too. Here is a neat link with virtual tours. http://www.firelookout.org/lookout-rentals.html

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  5. Like Runner, I thought that you were referring to something closer to home. One of the first cars I drove was a '71 Vega notchback...

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    1. No jinxes here unless you count going from 80 degree highs to 58 degrees and steady rain for days. No in between or easing into it, but that is Oregon. Bring on the flood warnings.

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  6. It is wonderful that there are folks who care ... and make an effort to restore what was lost. It appears beautiful now. (And wow - the look out tower, what an ultimate camping treehouse, provided it isn't needed!)

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    1. What was neat at the Forest Center is that the volunteer who greeted us and told us about the film was Ted; a senior retired forest ranger who is also in the video and helped not only put out the fires, but replant the trees. Oh the stories he could tell if we had time.

      I agree, the lookouts would be awesome camping treehouses.

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  7. That is one ugly car.The road on the map looks like it would be a great ride though.

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    1. The Vegas are pretty ugly. I am sure that is why they didn't make them past the 70's.

      Highway 6 to the coast is an awesome 2 lane road with nice sweepers. Traffic can be a little heavy during the weekends with campers and people hauling off road vehicle trailers, but it would be a great road if you could go south from Forest Grove and not have to go into the Portland metro area.

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  8. great looking visitors centre they have there
    wish some of our so called park centres here were as good as that
    for the monies we pay for them and to drive/go through them they should be [rant over here]

    as usual great pictures to show the trip off

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    1. This is a fairly new center so it still looks all shiny and big. I think it is staffed by volunteers but someone sure put some work into it. We'd love to go back and check out the displays and go for a hike when we have more time.

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  9. Astonishing how low the water levels are even there. Rain! So pretty regardless...and that Vega!

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    1. That river still had some flow to it, others haven't been so lucky.

      Although we've had quite a bit of rain this last week so I am sure the water level is higher now.

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  10. Our first car was a Vega. I actually liked the look, but oh my, that was one lulu of a lemon-mobile.

    Thanks for the memories.

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    1. Don't worry David, Brad likes the Vega look too. You are not alone.

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  11. I'm a sucker for these kinds of museums and your Tillamook is a peach! These days every time I think fire towers a book by Phillip Connors comes to mind; his a favorite of mine. Rentable towers sounds like one more bucket that needs filling on respectable Lists.

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    1. It would have been nice to spend more time there. Next time.

      What is the name of the Phillip Connors book you are thinking of?

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    2. Fire Season: Field Notes From A Wilderness Lookout....really enjoyed it and listen to parts of it every once in awhile.

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    3. There is a large used bookstore a few doors from my work. I will drop in one day and see if I can finding it, thank you.

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  12. Here's a thing: I knew iOS8 had definitively broken my mini iPad when I couldn't pull up your web page. Now I use it as a marker to see if it's fixed. Which it isn't so I'm on a desk top telling you my tale of woe. PS Nice pictures by the way.

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    1. Glad to be of service. Wish OS 8 didn't break your mini. I am using the iPad now. Slow and a pain the butt, but at least it works.

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  13. Beautiful place! Makes me want to go there. This is much the way Steve and I like to spend our days.
    I had a Chevy Vega Wagon right out of high school, very similar. :)

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    1. The Vega seems to be popular among the bloggers/riders. Wonder why that is.

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  14. I love this site: http://thebridgeclubfive.blogspot.co.uk/

    Apparently he thinks highly of your cooking too.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I have had his blog linked on my side bar for quite a while. I love seeing all his bridge pictures.

      I believe he has a vegan in the family so cheeks the recipes once in a while. I was surprised to see the link on his site the other day.

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  15. Very cool place. I love national park visitor centers, which are a lot like this, always interesting and informative. The gift shops are usually fun, too. I'm going to really explore Oregon one day.

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    1. Come on out anytime. Well, anytime except during an epic snowstorm that is........

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  16. I wish I could go back to Oregon, you guys have such nice roads and places to visit. I could live in that tower, would just need a place to store the bike below. Thanks for the info.
    Love the car too.

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    1. We do seem to have a lot of hidden roads. Well, not that they are hiding, just off the main thoroughfares is all. We are still hoping to get out to one of the working towers. There is one by Huckleberry Flats where we take the little dual sports for dirt riding and can ride up to it to check it out.

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  17. Very nice! Reading in the comments about camping in a lookout tower has me drooling to come to Oregon and rent one. After reading this entry I won't just think "ice cream and cheese" when I hear "Tillamook".

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    1. Glad we might be able to entice you back to Oregon. Does this mean you'll also think of jinxes and forest fires when you think of Tillamook?

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  18. As usual an interesting and informative story, great stuff!

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  19. Neat place to hang out!

    Vega? OMG, I forgot they ever existed. But yep, a familiar sight in my retro-feverish brain...

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    1. You sure don't see many of the Vegas around. At least not it that good of shape. We were surprised to see it.

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  20. wish we would have stumbled on this before, that's our little Vega... has a 215 Buick v-8 and 5-speed in it now.

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    1. It is such a great little car. Feel free to "borrow" the photos since it is your vehicle after all.

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