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By: JP Harr

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Saturday, 2-Oct-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Put A Tiger In Your Tank

gulf, sinclair, chevron
shell, mobil, standard
total, union 76, phillips 66
If you're old -- say, at least forty -- then you may remember the slogan in today's title from the Standard Oil company's gasoline commercials. The idea was that their gasoline would make your car run powerfully and smoothly. And, of course, if there was a tiger in your tank, you would no longer have to worry about gazelles running around in there....
In northern New Mexico, soon after leaving Albuquerque, we continued to modify our trip in order to catch as many wineries as possible. We only chose those that grew their own grapes and made their own wine and had tasting rooms on site, feeling that we would more likely be supporting a true wine artist each time we bought from this type of establishment.
"Modifying our trip" meant that we sometimes had to go out of our way, adding time and miles to an already long drive, but hey, getting there is half the fun for us! On this particular day, we needed to follow a winding road along a river up into a valley that enclosed a small, artsy village in which the winery was situated. It was the kind of place that even the word "village" implies too large a settlement; one road wound through a collection of buildings close to the road, bound on one side by hardscrabble earth walls and on the other by a narrow green meadow that hugged the riverbank.
On that particular afternoon, the farmer's market was doing a brisk business, which meant that everybody from the village and all the farmers within twenty miles had converged upon the school parking lot to have their weekly social hour. It was very cool to have happened upon that place at that time, and it gave me a profound urge to stay, to live there and work my ass off, for a change, just to scratch a bare living from that dry earth.
BUT, just a few miles before we reached the intriguing village, across the road from a stand of very large cottonwood trees next to the river, we passed the place shown in the fotos. It whizzed by us in my peripheral vision, but of course, my Cool Car Stuff Radar unit was operating flawlessly, and before we had gone three hundred yards further, I had hauled the van down from 64.5 miles per hour and had performed a perfectly good illegal U-turn so that I could jump out and capture for all of YOU a few fine fotos framing ephemera from the forties and fifties.
That's it: just that place there. The gate was closed and the "museum" was closed and locked up and I don't think anybody was around, although in back it looked as if there may have been a residence. The museum building was crammed full of automobilia from the past -- oil cans, signs, spark plugs in their original boxes, adverts; while outside was the car on blocks (a prop, I think, not an actual project) and many full-sized signs along the fence that held in all those gas pumps. Too bad it was kind of overcast that day; the light just doesn't look as good in the fotos as it did to my eyes....

Eats: Tonight we went out for dinner, pizza and pasta. Momma had the pasta, which really wasn't as good as mine, and the rest shared a deep-dish de-lux pizza. I really should learn to make good pizza crust, since my food of choice if I had to pick just one for the rest of my life would be pizza. [See, that's my secret strategy in that what-would-you-choose game: pizza comes in an infinite array of combos, toppings, temperatures (I like it cold, too), depths, widths, sauces -- I love them all. I even love an onion / green olive / anchovy pizza, which I have actually ordered and enjoyed all by myself, thank you very much. Pizza for the rest of my life sounds perfect!] So, as you can see, I really need to learn the ropes of dough.


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