For I think the first time the entire week we've been here, it has been a clear, nearly fog-less morning. I stood on the balcony for the last time drinking a final cup of coffee and contemplating the view.
It's hard enough lodgecombing a hotel room after a few days; we'd had a one bedroom, two bath apartment to ourselves for a week, so we did numerous passes through the place to try and make sure we hadn't left behind anything accidentally. We decided to leave them the last of the coffee I'd bought (the grind is too fine for my french press at home anyway). The condo came with a bunch of books, many of which appear to be surplus library books. I finished Ancillary Sword while I was here, and Lisa wanted to keep reading one of the library-sale books, so I left Sword behind; they didn't have enough SF on their shelves anyway.
We were out of the condo by 9 AM, after which we dropped off the keys and headed toward Portland.
Just before 11 we made it to Beaverton, where we had breakfast at the Black Bear Diner there (#12 in my passport book; I'm working on Level 3 of their visit-all-stores challenge). Then it was over to Professional Video & Tape (about which more in a later post). Next we stopped at the Whole Foods Market in Tualatin, which is much bigger than the one in Reno and has things Reno can't get, like Cougar Mountain cookies (they won't ship them that far because the cookies won't keep). After that, we went to Fry's in Wilsonville, and while we did pick up a few things, there were no big-ticket purchases. (It's worthwhile to buy the bigger stuff in Oregon if you can find it because there is no sales tax.)
Then it was on to Brooks to Powerland, where the Oregon Electric Railway Museum lives. The museums were not open today, but the gate was open, so we parked and walked in. I'll have more to post about that visit tomorrow. From Powerland, we drove back over to the Pilot truck stop across the road to fill up the minivan.
Those of you who have never driven in Oregon may not be aware that you're not allowed to pump your own gasoline here. While this is always spun by legislators as a safety issue, our experience today showed that it was anything but safety. After we filled up, we pulled over to a parking space at the side of the lot so we could go inside and use the facilities and buy some drinks. When we came back out to the van, our luck ran out on restarting. The bug in the engine that makes it hard to start when it's warm reasserted itself, and not even starter fluid in the air intake would get it to restart. There was nothing for it but to sit (in a rapidly warming Willamette Valley day) and wait for the engine to cool off sufficiently to restart.
While we were working on the engine at one side of the parking lot, I heard a the driver of a car driving through the parking lot call out. Looking over, I saw gasoline shooting out of another car's fuel tank through a stuck-open pump. I raced over, steps behind the guy who had shouted and stopped his car to run over to shut it off himself (in violation of Oregon law, but in confirmation of common sense). We shouted for an attendant, but there wasn't one around. A minute or two later, the attendant (who had apparently run inside the Pilot station for some reason) came out and we screamed for him to do something. (The driver of the car who had just had many gallons of fuel sprayed out and over his car was nowhere to be seen; he came back eventually.) The attendant and another person (presumably a manger) produced large paper towel-like absorbent material and started trying to clean up the mess.
Besides the obvious and immediate danger from all of that spilled gasoline, there was the secondary unpleasant effect: the fumes were blowing right over us in the Astro, making us both sick. It having been about twenty minutes since the last attempt, Lisa said, "Try starting again." To our immense relief, the van started this time, and we beat it as fast as we safely could.
We had three errands in Salem, but because of the dodgy van engine, we had to do them in such a way that we never stopped the engine. In all three cases, we made the stops (Norvac Electronics, Oregon Glove Factory, and the T-Shirt Outlet), Lisa went in and picked out what she wanted, then she came back out to the van and I went inside and paid and collected her stuff.
After a relatively short by distance but long by time, we got to the Holiday Inn Express in Albany in one piece, loaded down with the proceeds of our various errands. We made dinner in the room from bread, cheese, and lunch meat purchased at Whole Foods and left over from the condo. We did later go out for one more errand several hours later (and the van started again, it having had time to cool off), but I'll write about that tomorrow.
I've made an appointment with my mechanic for him to take another crack at fixing the van the next time I'm in the Bay Area.