Love and Night Driving

I miss driving at night and being in love.

Backing up a step, I’ve just recently gotten a car again.  I have been, for the most part, vehicle-less since I returned from Japan.  I probably could have gotten one sooner, but I wanted to wait until I could afford one I love.  And I love my new car.  I’m readjusting to the freedom, to the larger range of my life, and the new options.  I’m also being reminded of things I miss.

I used to have something of a preference for long distance relationships.  See, I like my space, often several hundred kilometres of it.  I like the idea of everyone in the relationship having their own  very separate lives, that coincide when we plan for it.  Specifically, I want her to have an awesome life full of cool things, while I play video games and watch DVDs, and then we spend our weekends together.

I miss driving at night, a dark highway interrupted by clusters of street lights.  It’s an amazing feeling, flying across the deserted world, singing along with a radio turned up way to loud.  Somewhere, down that fading ribbon of road, there’s an amazing, beautiful woman waiting for me.

Because if you lived more than an hour away, and I was willing to repeatedly drive an hour to see you, you were both amazing and beautiful.  I those are kind of my requirements for an exclusive relationship; spectacular, gorgeous, and at least 60 minutes away from the rest of my life.

It is hard to find a time when you feel more in love; it has been days since you last saw her, everything you are doing, you’re doing for her, and she is just as excited about it as you are.  I miss that rush, that roaring, wild drive to fall down with someone who was worth the wait.

As a side note, if any woman who lives within say, 100 to 250 kilometres of Calgary, who is at least an 8 out of 10, who is absolutely fascinating, and happens to be single, I’m available for love-struck drives to your bedroom.

8s will need to provide the ingredients for breakfast, but I’ll still cook it, because I should bring something to the relationship.

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Miniblog: Wheels

When I moved back from Japan, I decided I didn’t need a car.  This decision was made, in part, by poverty on returning, as the exchange rate turned three months savings into one within a couple of weeks.  So I lived in Calgary, carless, and got used to it.

When the money started coming in, because no one raised in a stone’s throw of my Dad’s work ethic will stay unemployed for long, I still didn’t get a car.  I could have gotten something cheap, just to get around, but there was no need.  I lived and worked downtown, so every part of my life was in the same area.

Then my savings started going up, and I could have bought my first ever brand new car.  But then again, there’s travel.  I love going places, and I usually want to go further than I can get by driving.  So instead of getting a Mazda 4, I went to visit Japan.

Even when my work relocated to the edge of nowhere, I came to enjoy the hour on public transit.  It’s a time to write, or to read, or to play Nintendo DS.  I’ve been so long without a car I don’t miss it day to day, and instead of paying for insurance or gas, I get a bus pass and put money away to travel.  I think right now, it’s a better choice.

But my parents are going to Europe for a couple of weeks, and since they’re flying out of Calgary, they’ve decided that instead of paying for parking, they’ll leave their car with me.  I’m still on Dad’s insurance as an occassional driver.  So for the first time in years, I’ll have a car in Calgary.

I don’t plan to abuse it.  Maybe a trip to Ikea.  And Peter’s Drive-In.  But that’s it.

Probably.

Wine Country in a Stretch Hummer

Akiyo and Chris love showing you things that other people haven’t found yet.  This is often a matter of perception.  While the whole city of Portland knows about the Weekend Skidmore Market, they understand people beyond the city’s greater metropolitan area have never seen it.  The same can’t be said for Oregon’s wine country.    

I mean, I didn’t know about it.  If you had asked me “Where do they grow wine in the U.S.?” I would have told you California.  Apparently, Oregon’s wineries are famous, at least throughout all of … Oregon.  So if you’re going to tour the vineyards with Akiyo and Chris, there needs to be a twist, because just doing it is too normal.  So they got together a group of people, and we rented a stretch Hummer.    

How to do wine country

How to do wine country

It’s alright.  There were ten of us.  We were carpooling, so , um, it was environmentally friendly…    

The Hummer came to get us at about 11 a.m.  I was dressed in the finest I had brought with me: a collared shirt and a nice sweater over jeans.  Fortunately, while in Calgary this would be casual, or business casual at best, it’s Oregon formal.  Everyone else was about as dressed up as I was, and they did consider it dressed up.  Our driver, whose name I can’t remember but I feel like calling “Jake” was in normal, real world formal wear.  He was built like a bodyguard, and always had his hands clasped in front of him, ready for trouble.  He wore dark sunglasses that hid his eyes, a Bluetooth earpiece, and a well-groomed goatee.  He was a man of action, and I assumed he would have my back should evil rear its ugly head.    

I’m not a wine drinker.  I like bad, cheap wines, like Dr. Zen Zen Zinfandel, which is wine-speak for shit in a bottle.  Generally, I’d be happier with vodka in grape juice.  If you are a true wine aficionado, the tales that follow might horrify you, at the very least for my ignorance.  We were going to several wineries to do tastings, and I drink at a graduate level, so I knew it was unwise not to stick to wine, and I made the necessary sacrifice.  I just happened to be more interested in the drive and the buildings than the individual wineries, but the wine drinkers amongst us didn’t have any complaints about the places we went.  If you did want a real guide to Oregon’s wines, you may be better off going here.    

We got into the limo, and I crawled all the way to the back.  Every cute girl there follow me, so I decided then and there I wasn’t giving up that spot.  Someone needed to entertain the ladies, and failing that they could talk to me.  We were prepared for the drive out to our first stop, and we had a bottle of white wine from the house.  The limo was stocked with wine glasses, ice to chill the wine, a decanter and tumblers in case of scotch, and even a karaoke machine, if we were so inclined.  It’s a style of travel I could get accustomed.    

I could get use to this

I could get used to this

Our first stop was Rex Hill.  The building was absolutely beautiful, with interesting displays of both their product and wine in general, and a gorgeous terrace.  We paid $10 each to taste six wines.  They were they types of wine my parents tend to like; they were classy, and while they were complex, you didn’t need the acquired taste or refined palate of a long time wine drinker to enjoy them.  If you loved fancy wines, they were good.  If you were just a drinker, they were also good.  Everyone enjoyed Rex Hill.  A really cool guy behind the counter poured each glass, and could tell you all the fancy wine things you needed to know if you had more complex interests then trying to catch a buzz.  I was also pleased they didn’t have a swill bucket, the kind for you to spit out each taste.  He also poured more wine into each glass than I expected, and thusly won my respect.   

Rex Hill's pleasant gallery ... a little too pleasant

Rex Hill's pleasant gallery ... a little too pleasant

The area we tasted in was almost museum-esque.  We weren’t allowed beyond the displays.  The guy who poured took us to an area where we could sneak a peek at the brewing facilities.  Is it brewing for wine?  I can’t be bothered to go all the way to Wikipedia to check.  Still, I’m pretty sure the wine guy and the museum were hiding some supervillainy.  I nodded to Jake, who seemed to agree with me.  Should I need to take action, Jake would have my back.  However, there was no time to investigate further, as we had other wineries to visit.   But I’ve got my eye on you, Rex Hill.    

Our next stop was Duck Pond, which was my favourite.  There was a wine counter for buying and another for tasting.  The rest of the main building was a specialty food shop, with BBQ sauces, salad dressings, and all sorts of mouth-watering goodies that made me want to grill up some steaks.  Out front there was a Koi pond with some benches, and it was a pleasant place I could come back to.   

I had such a great time at Duck Pond I forgot to take any pictures. Instead, here is me running happily through a vineyard. Sorry.

It helps that we got to try five wines for two dollars.  Add into that the pourers were cute girls in hoodies, and I’m smiling.  Then leave them impressed by my French pronunciation, and I’m on top of the world.  Duck Pond may sell twelve dollar bottles of wine, but I prefer twelve dollar bottles of wine.  I loved everything we tasted there.  By far, Duck Pond was my favourite.    

Jake motioned with his head that it was time to move on, so I grabbed one of the cute girls and told her I needed a Riesling to drink in my limo.  If you ever have a chance to tell a girl you need something for your limo, FUCKING DO IT! 

That is, if you want to know what it’s like to be Tony Stark … (and, yes, you want that)

That is, if you want to know what it’s like to be Tony Stark … (and, yes, you want that)

No matter the circumstance, she will be impressed, and you will head back to the stretch Hummer with a delicious bottle wine, knowing that she thinks you’re amazing.  I reinserted myself amongst the ladies who got to ride in the limo (sorry, Duck Pond cuties) and announced we were drinking on the way to our next destination.  Akiyo agreed that my selection in wine was delicious.  Gilly, however, has expensive tastes, and prefers red wine, so she was not a fan on two accounts.   

Archery Summit suited her a lot better.  It’s on a mountain top, only bottles reds, and nothing was less than fifty dollars.  A waiter in Oregon Formal sat us on a beautiful patio table, and brought us four wines for fifteen dollars.  I think wine tasting has changed, because even at this classy venue, there was no expectation for us to refrain from consumption.  Being the man of simple tastes I am, these were my least favourites.  The real wine drinkers loved them.  One of the wines we tried was $100 a bottle.  Gilly ended up getting something from Archery Summit.  I’m not sure what it cost, but I’m pretty sure I heard her mention how it would be a while before she planned to have her firstborn.    

Our waiter then took us on a tour, and I learned their facility is amazing.  The mountain has been hollowed out, and hundred and hundreds of oak barrels rest in the caves, carefully aging their red gold.  

The Wine Catacombs of Archery Summit

The Wine Catacombs of Archery Summit

We were told that the light and air-conditioning have been installed because they sometimes host rehearsal dinners and events.  The place was astounding, and worth checking out even if your idea of a good wine is a 2010 Boones or a good fortified Box’o’Wine.   

Jake was ready to take us hoe, but Chris realized we were a touch short on alcohol, and Gilly wasn’t going to part with her treasured bottle.  He asked to stop at Duck Pond.  I offered to go in with him, but he said we needed to hurry, thus cockblocking me, keeping me from the be-hoodied sirens inside.  Why do married guys ruin all my fun with their schedules, and big pictures, and making cute girls promise never to sleep with me by having weddings before said girls even get to meet me?  But then he gave me more cheap wine, and all was forgiven.    

Take us home, Jake.