I've often thought that converting an old gas station into a coffee shop would be a cool idea. Then, the covered part where the pumps use to be would make a nice outdoor seating area. Well, someone else thought it was a good idea, too. I found this cool cafe while exploring Las Cruces, New Mexico this morning. They put lots of plants and a fountain to make the outdoor seating area nice and painted angelic cartoon coffee drinkers and winged coffee beans on the outdoor ceiling. The breakfast and service was good, too.
Then, when I stopped to get water and gas in Arizona, I decided to walk around the souvenir type shop that was close by. A very friendly woman, who I think owns the place, started asking me where I was going and where I came from on the bike. Turns out she is in to riding too and she convinced me to take a different rout; getting off the interstate and taking a two lane highway, the back way, to the Phoenix area. She said things like ...."and you get to go through a tunnel...." Did you catch that "get"? That's a person that can find pleasure easily in the world. So, she totally convinced me. Turns out it was a nice road with minimal traffic and great desert scenery. A really cool bonus, the road went through Superior, Arizona. That's where my grandma, and nina and tios and tias, were brought up. How cool is that coincidence? The road wound through the copper mine area and came down into a desert area with lots of saguaro cactus. And, I got to go through a tunnel. Neat.
The adventure also gave me a chance to use my brain a bit. The kick stand on the bike is kept safely up when riding by a spring attached to a bolt under the bike. At one point on the "Old West Highway" the bolt snapped and the spring released. I tried a few methods of rigging alternate mounts for the spring but none of them were satisfactory. I settled upon using zip ties and electric tape to rig two loops (one as a safety backup) to the outside of the kickstand where they would clear the exhaust. Then, I moved my bungee net and my drying clothes from my trunk to the passenger seat where I could use one of the bungee's hooks to hold up my kickstand, safely through the loops I made, when riding. That worked. Solving puzzles can be entertaining. Until I fix it properly, I do have to manually hook and unhook the kickstand with my hand. But that's cool. It's not Fonzie cool. But it's problem solving cool.
I was planning to get here, the Phoenix area, tomorrow. Since my Nina is not expecting me until tomorrow, I decided to visit some of my old places today. First stop was the Circle K I used to work at. That place has changed inside, but it was good to see it again. Next, I decided to go see a movie on Mill Ave in Tempe and get an iced Mocha at The Coffee Plantation on Mill. I have spent so many hours at that coffee shop, read so many pages, met so many interesting people, and had so many interesting conversations over the years. There is a guy named Josh that I run into often enough there, though I am only in town every couple of years. He is a fascinating and intelligent guy. So off I went.
Ever heard that "you can't go back"? Yeah. Well, I guess the positive version is that you can and should go back if you want to practice flexibility and resilience. You know, like water in the Tao. I sure got some practice today. Turns out I am one month and one week late for the closing day of The Coffee Plantation, after 20 years in business on Mill Ave. Even the movie theater next door was closed. I can hardly believe they closed that coffee shop.
I like to get excited about things because that makes life interesting. You could just go buy a bowl of tomato cheese soup. But if you found a really good bowl, you could go beyond "that was a good tomato cheese soup" and decide "That was the Best Tomato Cheese Soup Ever!" Then, getting that soup becomes a big exciting deal and life is better for it. You may even do several road trips over the years all the way to Eugene, Oregon just to get that soup. And life is better with the adventure. And if you are smart, you share the joy with people. Then, Dan, Kim, Rachael, Nathan, Don, Tami, and others can all say "That was some pretty darn good soup we went all the way to Eugene for." See what I mean? It's just better that way. And that soup really is that good.
The only difficulty with turning like into love, is some times you have to say goodbye. Goodbye Coffee Plantation. I enjoyed you tremendously.
Making the best of my imposed Taoist wetness, I flowed on down to the nearest working theater and proceeded to laugh without reserve at the movie Hangover. If you have any time, a spare 10 bucks, no problems with either male or female nudity, and a desire to get a bunch of good laughs in, go see it. Really, it was that funny.