People sometimes go to extraordinary ends for the people they love.
Case in point, my sister had asked for some chocolate for Christmas, from a chocolatier that she thought was located in Seattle, when it was in fact located in Portland.
Their website indicated that all of their chocolate was sold out, though I had my suspicions that they had to have some available in person. I figured it would be sensible to call and ask first.
Meanwhile, late on a Friday I was once again checking on the status of a photo printer, which I had ordered when I moved to Seattle. It seemed to be on indefinite backorder. (Months later, the particular model still appears to be out of stock everywhere online.) However, to my surprise, the website of a certain office goods chain indicated that they had one available in a certain state to the south of Seattle, known for its lack of sales tax.
I had the chance to delight two people that I love: my sister, and myself. A serendipity that I had to take advantage of.
I would have driven to Portland for the chocolate, but I wouldn't have driven even further to Salem for the printer without that other impetus. And armed with a drive to delight, I set off on a journey of discovery, awe, and disaster, but mostly just dull driving.
I made myself a lot of coffee, and headed directly to Cloudforest Chocolate in Portland. It's a real, swell, hipster shop run by really nice people who were happy to chat with me, and even let me use their restroom, which I suspect is not intended to be customer-facing.
They also had pretty damn fantastic ice cream. I believe I had something along the lines of a cacao fruit sorbet and it was great. I also bought a selection of their chocolate, which they were happy to put in a nice gift bag. I would have enjoyed spending more time around Portland, but as far as I was concerned, my first errand was run, and I would be best served by continuing south. I had a lunch recommendation in Salem, after all...
Somewhere along the interstate, a tire pressure warning came on, but I didn't think much of it...
My pal, good 'ol Andrew Wilkinson used to live and work in Salem and gave me a few recommendations.
At Andrew's behest, I meandered through the charming small-town downtown to the Court Street Dairy Lunch, where I had some diner food and a milkshake. It was well-needed nourishment.
From there, I meandered o'er to check out what he dubbed the "acid ball eco earth," a giant globe shaped structure that had seen better days. It was nice to see Salem's answer to the Unisphere. I preferred the tiles that were on it to those that were missing.
I also took a peek at the Oregon State Legislature. As I looked upon it, I was reminded deeply of the famous rotating gold statue of former Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov. On the top of this building there stood Oregon's most exalted figure... a pioneer.
After my meanderings, I returned to my car and took a tire pressure measurement. The prognosis was not good.
Yes, one of the tires I had only just bought in Idaho was quite deflated. I wasn't far from the nearest tire shop, and it seemed to have been losing air slowly, so I brought my car in to see if they could fix it, or otherwise, exchange it for the full-size spare tire (with no wheel) that I had in my trunk.
I spent a good number of hours sitting in the Les Schwab waiting area, reading about the woes of arranged marriage in early 20th century Uzbekistan, and gradually getting confused by how much time had passed until I realized my Kindle's clock was an hour ahead.
Two or so hours later, I was informed that the tire valve had failed. The men had fixed it free of charge. I was given a receipt that indicated that the work was covered as a courtesy. (I have no idea why, given that I bought the tire in Idaho.) I bounced.
I drove to the world's least well-lit Office Depot parking lot, collected my printer, and hopped back on the interstate.
It was a long, drizzly drive back to Seattle.
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