Monthly Archives: April 2009

An open letter, to the state of Oregon.

Fact: I am in Oregon. Let’s start with that.
Next fact: I’ve never been to Oregon before this weekend. Ever.
Fact #3: My rental car needed gasoline, since I’ve been driving a lot the past couple of days.

So here we go. Time to get gas. In Oregon. I pull up to the gas station, and there’s this grizzly-looking bearded man in a tattered orange vest. I get out of the car, and walk over to the pump.

“Hello,” says the man.

“Hi,” I said.

“Would you like to pay with cash or plastic?”

“What?” I said.

“I’m here to pump your gas,” he said.

I paused for a minute, and then said: “That’s okay, I can do it myself.”

“Well, it’s a law here in Oregon. We pump your gas for you. So if you’ll give me your card, I’ll pump your gas.”

“Uh, thanks… but I’m not really comfortable with that.”

“Suit yourself, there’s a station across the street.”

So I get in my car and drive across the street, thinking some random crazy person is trying to get me to give him money. I get out at the next gas station and try to pump my gas, and the guy comes over to stop me.

“So… is this the part where you come and try to pump my gas for me?” I asked.

“Yeah,” says the guy.

“Oh. See, because that’s what the guy over there just said, but I figured he was lying to me. I mean, I know they did that in the 50s and stuff, but I’ve never, in my life, had someone else pump my gas.”

“Where are you from?” He asks me.

“California.”

“Oh. Well, yeah. We have this no-spill law, and it creates jobs, and–”

“Okaaaay… I just think it’s super weird, that’s all,” I said. Then I hand him my card, and he gets started pumping the gas. After the gas is done pumping, the pump sort of recoils a bit, and it falls on the ground and spills a bunch of gas.

“So… this is the part where the gas doesn’t spill, right?” I said. He just looked at me. Then he picked up the pump and put it back, handed my receipt, and I got in the car and drove away.

So here it is. My letter to the state of Oregon:

Dear Oregon:
I’m a big girl. I can pump gas all by myself now. And you know what? I don’t spill it. Ever.
Sincerely,
HB.

Biking in Calistoga.

Connor and I went for a bike ride in beautiful Calistoga. We had a lovely time, started the trip with a stop at Taylor’s Refresher (where only the one-armed man gets to use the restroom), had a Western BBQ blue cheese burger (sweet!) and an awesome white pistachio milkshake. They have this outdoor eating area that feels to me like the town of Spectre from Big Fish. It’s not just the lights, although that helped… it’s something else about the place. It feels like it’s from another time.

Connor did really well on the bike. He was too short for the tandem, so the bike shop hooked us up with a “tagalong”. It’s got one wheel with pedals, and it attaches to a normal bike with a hinge, so it’s kind of like a hinged tandem bike. We didn’t fall over one time.

In the middle of the ride, we stopped for pizza. This time, the restroom was only for costumers. (Visions of roadside Ren Faire prep going through my head… where was this bathroom when we needed it?)

We also stopped at the “Old Faithful of the West”. It’s a genuine roadside attraction, complete with vintage signage. I loved it.

After the ride, we went to this lovely chocolate shop, Woodhouse Chocolate, in St. Helens. It was a beautiful little store with tons of chocolaty goodness. The ones that look like pineapples are hazelnut chocolates. Really, really good.

What a great weekend. What a great friend, who planned the whole thing for us (you know who you are). A+++ WOULD BIKE AGAIN.