Like George Washington, I don’t cross the Delaware that often, but when I do, it’s kind of a big deal. And so today’s post is about my recent 150-mile trek through the Garden State (which is also a good movie, if you haven’t seen it, even though it’s starring Natalie Portman, rather than me — but she and I just missed overlapping at our college alma mater . . . and we had the same major . . . so whenever you see Natalie Portman, you really ought to think of me…). But anyway, what can be more fun than putting 150 miles on your ride in an afternoon, while puttering around in New Jersey…
So, Why Jersey?
Some may wonder, of all the states in the country to visit — why pick New Jersey? Do I like jug-handles? Not really. Snooki? Hell no. The Giants or the Jets? They are my kryptonite.
So then why migrate to New Jersey, even for a day? To find the Readington River Buffalo Farm — where one can see these:
and purchase these: (well, some assembly is required…you buy raw meat to bring home).
Here are some other pictures of the general acreage around the farm. If you look very closely (using FBI-style computer image-enhancing equipment helps), you will see little brown blobs lying around in the field. Those are dinner, I mean majestic buffalo…
New Jersey: The Good, The Bad, and The Gasoline
Although my bike gets ridiculous MPG, it does not get 150 MPG. So, at some point, I needed to stop for gas. As you may know, the New Jersey state bird is Not Having To Pump Your Own Gas. It’s a point of pride for the state and its citizenry. When you’re there, you’re family — and it is apparently verboten for family members to pump their own gas. This works well when you drive up in an SUV or 18-wheeler that has some sort of million-gallon tank or something. It works less well when you are on a scooter. No one ever knows what to do when they see a scooter…
“Hello,” said the cheerful gas station attendnant, who rushed up to me when I approached the pump. (I must have had a look on my face that signaled that I was up to something nefarious — like I might have been thinking about pumping my own gas.)
“Hello…” I cautiously said back, longingly eyeing the pump behind her, as I uncapped my gas tank.
“Cash or credit?” she chirped.
“If I give you one in particular, can I pump my own gas?”
“Nope! We pump it for you either way!!” (She was so very happy…)
“Have you ever put gas in one of these before?”
(There was, of course, a dramatic pause at this point…)
“I sort of put gas in a moped once.”
She sort of put gas in a moped. Once.
“Um, you’re sure you can’t just let me pump the gas?”
“Nope! What grade? Is regular OK?”
Regular? When I only need a gallon? And it’s my precious scooter?!?
“Actually, I’d like the Premium, Ultra stuff.”
“Premium, Ultra??” she asked, incredulously.
“Indeed,” said I.
Her hand journeyed to the far end of the pump, to select the grade that offered the super-mega-premium octane. She drew the pump out of its holster and turned to face me.
And, for a moment, we eyed each other.
(Imagine that the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly began to play…)
“Whatever you do, don’t ram the nozzle into the tank and turn it on full blast…”
(That was the last thing I said, before she rammed the nozzle into the tank and turned it on full blast.)
Those of you with at least a rudimentary understanding of geometry and Newtonian physics can imagine what happened next (as F = ma, and the action of the gasoline rocketing full blast into the tank is met with an equal and opposite reaction from within the confines of the tank)…
A big ol’ gasoline geiser. Only, there wasn’t any rainbow. Just gas-splattering all over my bike and into the area under the seat, as she yelped and jumped backwards in horror.
“Can I pump my own gas now?”
“Um, yeah.” And she handed me the nozzle.
Ah, New Jersey: Liberty, Prosperity, and Gasoline…