It has been many years since the NW Thunderbird clubs had a multi-club, multi-day event. And I think the last time we hosted one was in 2001 (we called it Soaring in September). It was a very subdued, somber event because it was held just a couple of weeks after 9-11. Several people canceled because of the events of 9-11. However nothing like that dampened the spirits of those attending Soaring in September II.
But enough of all of that, let's talk about Soaring II. Soaring in September II has come and gone. Unfortunately, we had several last-minute cancellations: two cancelled because they all had Covid, another couple had to cancel because their next-door neighbor’s house caught on fire about 1am on the Sunday morning that the event started and burned beyond repair. I believe most of you know this couple: Frank and Cathy Stubbs. The house that burned was their former home where they had lived for over 40 years. A few years ago, they built a new house and sold the other one. Even though the house was destroyed nobody was injured, but three dogs were lost. Even though they had sold the house their emotions were just so affected they made the tough decision to not attend was made. This also gave them the ability to assist their neighbors with clothing and emotional support. Even with the smaller numbers we had a great event. The first official event was a tour of the Ken Austin Collection in Newberg. The Yellow 1955 above used to belong to club members Norm & Kathy Dodd. Dave did all of the bodywork and paint on it, I did the wiring and helped Norm with a few other things. The collection was free to tour; however, Austin Industries Foundation requires a $150 donation be made to one of three charities that they recommend. We asked each person going through the collection for a suggested $5 donation, we collected $190. We donated all $190 to the NW Vintage Car and Motorcycle Museum – Speedster Program. This is a non-profit organization that trains students to become auto and motorcycle mechanics specializing in vintage cars and motorcycles. This donation has already been sent. Most of those attending then drove back to McMinnville and had lunch together at Nancy Jo’s Hamburgers and Fries. Everybody enjoyed the food and the 1950’s atmosphere. From there we headed back to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon just catching up with Thunderbird friends from around the country. (We had attendees from BC Canada, Washington, California, Texas and of course Oregon.) Dinner that evening saw everyone headed out in small groups all over town. We kept the group busy Tuesday morning and spent part of the afternoon touring Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. The Pastor from Dave Van Winkle’s church has been a volunteer docent there for several years. He provided us an excellent tour of the facility; he fed us a whole bunch of trivia about most of the exhibits that most of us didn’t know. As many times as I have been there, I didn’t know until this trip that two of my favorite exhibits are replica aircraft: the Messerschmidt ME 262 (which was the world’s first jet fighter aircraft, it was introduced very late in WWII by the Germans); and the USAF X-15 Rocket Plane are so rare that replicas are used in most museum. We had a box lunch at Evergreen Air which was plenty to tide us over until dinner that night at Michelbook Country Club. There we had an absolutely great buffet dinner featuring Chef carved Prime Rib, and a baked Salmon dish. Several side dishes and an excellent salad rounded out the meal, which was then topped off with a great dessert. During the dinner we were able to recognize Al and Sally Brett (from BC Canada) on their 50th anniversary, also just three days later was Al’s 80th birthday. To close that evening out many of the attendees complimented us on the event. Most thought it was just what was needed in terms of bringing many old Thunderbirding friends together for a few days. One club member from Sacramento delivered a $200 donation from another couple in Sacramento. This was totally unexpected and appreciated. I have written them a letter of thanks. Below is a collection of the photos I took during the event.