Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cottage Grove historic district's public murals near I-5 in western Oregon

'Buster Keaton' mural (Howard Tharpe, 2002) in Cottage Grove's Historic District.
Large-scale public paintings are "the people's art works." Everyday ordinary traveling families don't have to worry about making a special trip to a museum or step into an art gallery to be exposed to local creative expressions and a little bit of history.

Many smaller communities across America are enhancing their downtowns with huge murals that reflect the historic events of their region.  Cottage Grove, just south of Eugene in western Oregon, is one such community.  With a population of around 10,000, it is home to 20 murals that tell the town's stories and "colorfully illustrate" the community's character.

Historic Coca-Cola mural on Main Street in Cottage Grove.
One such mural depicts the silent film star Buster Keaton in one of his best known films, 'The General.' In 1926, the film was made in Cottage Grove and the surrounding area. "The movie included a spectacular locomotive crash, and the wrecked train became a minor tourist attraction until it was dismantled for scrap during World War II," according to historic reports.

Another nostalgic mural captures Cottage Grove's 1920s' Main Street. This black and white rendering was painted by Connie Huston from an actual photograph of Main Street almost a century ago. 

1920s' Main Street mural rendered by artist Connie Huston (2007)
Click here for the Cottage Grove, Ore., Scenic Murals Directory and Map.  To read more about other family-friendly things to do in Cottage Grove, the "Covered Bridge Capital of Oregon," click here.

 - Julianne G. Crane
To read more articles about the RV lifestyle by Julianne G Crane, go to

Photos and information sources: Cottage Grove Mural Committee, Lane County,, Oregon's Secretary of State website, Wikipedia. 


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

LeMay - America's Car Museum in Tacoma

The popular 1966 Mustang at the LeMay America's Car Museum in Tacoma, Wa.
LeMay America's Car Museum (ACM), is a sprawling four-story, 165,000 sq.-ft. facility near the Tacoma Dome in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. And it is perfect for a family's afternoon RV Short Stop.

Since 2012, the museum has housed 815 vehicles including cars, motorcycles and boats (sorry no RVs included, as of yet).

“The automobile played a significant impact on our nation’s heritage and development, and our current focus is ensuring that unforgettable vehicles are enjoyed by future generations,” said America’s Automotive Trust President and CEO David Madeira.

Lucky's Garage exhibit at America's Car Museum (ACM)
The museum’s eclectic cars and rotating exhibits give a glimpse into the histories of countless different marques and vehicle types.

“The wide-ranging assortment at ACM is truly one-of-a-kind and the vehicles rotated into the museum are prominently displayed alongside staple exhibits like ‘Lucky’s Garage’ – which pays tribute to Harold LeMay’s unbelievable treasure trove of cars and auto-related memorabilia,” said ACM President and COO Paul E. Miller.

Route 66 Gallery (LeMay America's Car Museum)

The museum's Route 66 Gallery is known for featuring vintage American cars from the golden age of motoring – the ’50s and ’60s. To pay homage to the historic Route 66 – aka “The Mother Road” – the primary means of interstate transportation a half century ago, the museum has rolled in an assortment of convertibles from the era.

Take a Spin in history. (ACM)
For a year full of events, click here. One hugely popular event is the Summer Drive Series (free with admission).

This is where visitors can ride in vehicles from the ACM Collection and "experience history in motion." Vehicles will vary and may be a selection from antiques and pre-war classics, to the Fabulous Fifties. Click here for the 2017 "Take A Spin Dates."

In celebration of the museum's fifth year, it is offering $5 off admission on every "fifth day of the month throughout the year." (Also if you are an AAA member, ask for the extra 10-percent off.)

If you go:

1930 Duesenberg (ACM)
LeMay America's Car Museum
2702 East D St.
Tacoma, Wa 98421
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Daily
Museum will close at 3 pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and will be closed all day on Thanksgiving and Christmas

1994 Flintmobile (ACM)
  • Adults: $18
  • Seniors (Age 65+): $16
  • Military: $16
  • Students: $14
  • Youth (Ages 6-12): $10
  • Child (5 and under): Free
Parking on site: $5-10
Traffic Lane Switch on I-5 in Tacoma. Two big traffic shifts on I-5 in Tacoma are scheduled to occur between July and December 2017. Click here for details.

- Julianne G. Crane
To read more articles about the RV lifestyle by Julianne G Crane, go to