I love hanging around airports, of course, but I also find bliss when let loose in small museums filled with odd and unusual artifacts or if there’s a wacky roadside distraction somewhere and I’ve got the keys to the car.
So I’m fortunate to be able to produce radio features and write books about my discoveries. More than two hundred of my favorite offbeat attractions in Oregon are in the newly updated Oregon Curiosities book you see pictured in the craftily-titled Buy My Books section here on this site. There are an equal number of unusual people, places and things in the Washington Curiosities book I’m starting to update right now.
One of the aviation-related places in the Oregon Curiosities book is The Bomber Restaurant complex in Milwaukie, about six miles south of Portland.
From 1947 until 1991 this vintage World War II B-17G four-engine bomber served as shelter for a forty-pump independent gas station that was one of the top performers in the country. When the gas station closed, the bomber fell on hard times and for years the plane was just a sad-looking roadside attraction suffering from bird poop, vandalism, and Oregon’s rainy climate.
Now restoration of the bomber is under way. Her nose is all shiny and new and on display inside the on-site WWII-themed Wings of Freedom Showcase. And while the gas station is long gone, you can fill up your stomach at the memorabilia-packed Bomber Restaurant, where the menu includes Bomblettes (omelettes) and Bombarded Hash Browns for breakfast, and Tokyo Rose BLTs and Bomberburgers for lunch and dinner.
If you want to see The Bomber for yourself, be sure to enter the Oregon Mt. Hood Territory’s Secret Sweet Spots contest. Each week you’ll be asked to answer a (very easy) question about a “hidden gem” in the region. You’ll find the answers in the short videos on the Mt. Hood Territory website.
Of course, one of those Secret Sweet Spots is The Bomber.