Another cloudy cold day on the Oregon coast. David and I are headed to the Portland airport to pick up a few wedding guests. It was another beautiful drive through the hilly forest. No stops along the way. We were trying to arrive at the airport in a timely manner.
We planned to squeeze 5 people plus luggage into an SUV with a second airport pick-up later today for a 6th person.
With our passengers in tow, we headed toward downtown making a stop for gas on the way. I pulled into the gas station and a man came up to my window and wanted a credit card. I wasn’t sure that he actually worked there and was hesitant to let go of the credit card.
David jumped out of the car and ran around to start pumping gas. The “attendant” told him that he could not do that … it was illegal. I released the credit card and the man inserted it into the pump and started filling our tank. David hovered around him and started washing the car windows which the attendant said was ok to do. I anticipated a “service charge” in addition to the gas payment but that didn’t happen. How odd is this?
We sooner (or later) realized that all of the gas stations in Oregon have attendants. There is up to a $500 fine for pumping your own gas. Oregon remains only one of two states that doesn’t allow drivers to pump their own fuel. (New Jersey doesn’t trust drivers to responsibly pump gas either.) Because of the pandemic and nationwide workforce shortage, they are considering legislation to allow for both full-service and self-service pumps.
Across from the gas station was a string of food trucks about as far as the eye could see. We were hungry but this seemed overwhelming, not to mention that we would have to find a place to leave a car full of luggage. So we passed and went downtown.
After lunch we walked to the Lan Su Chinese Garden, a tranquil oasis in the midst of some sketchy old streets in the historic Chinatown district. It is an authentic Ming Dynasty-style garden built by Suzhou artisans that brings together art, architecture, design and nature in this 2,000-year-old Chinese tradition. It was lovely.
Walking back to the car, we made a stop at Voodoo Doughnuts — good things come in pink boxes. The flagship store is tiny and being mid-afternoon, the line was short. It was hard to choose from the large selection but we managed. The famous Voodoo Doll donut has a pretzel stake plunged through its raspberry jelly belly. The interior of the store was whimsically decorated in retro green and pink with yellow accents.
Another run to the airport to pick up our oldest son Quinn who brought his “suitcase bike”. To make room in the car, Owen stayed downtown and rambled around. We reconnected for dinner at Mother’s Bistro, just down the street from Voodoo Doughnuts.
Mother’s Bistro featured home-made favorites that have been refined with classical cooking techniques … Mac & Cheese, meatloaf anyone?
The sun set early, there was a steady rain and it was dark and dreary. I tried not to think about the possibility of a beach wedding in the rain. It was a snug fit in the rental car with a half-hour ride to our suburban hotel which was near a bike trail. Tomorrow, Quinn, a bicycling enthusiast who has completed a few century rides (100 miles) was planning to bike to our Pacific City destination where we have a beach house reserved for our group of 14.
At the hotel, Quinn got busy assembling his Ritchey suitcase bike. It’s a good thing he is determined to ride the 90 miles to Pacific City even if it rains. Otherwise, we would have to figure out how to load and secure suitcases in the rack on top of the car so we would all fit. He did bring rain gear.
Quinn said he was impressed with the Portland airport because it has a bicycle assembly station. The assembly station offers a work stand with two clamps, basic tools, maps and other literature about resources in the region. The station is not only for those who travel with a bike but for employees who commute by bike.
Thursday morning … Quinn is ready to roll to the coast. The rest of us were planning to take our time. We had a late-afternoon check-in at our rental house.
The weather looked favorable even though it was a bit overcast and on the cool side. The wedding is scheduled for tomorrow night and we were all nervous about the beach venue. I can imagine how stressful it must be for the bride and groom. Quinn said the weather was perfect for bicycling.
Today was a rerun of most of the sites David and I had visited earlier in the week except for Cannon Beach which was too far out of the way.