The Watering Hole Blog

Is That a Dipstick in Your Pocket…

Is That a Dipstick in Your Pocket…

Or Are You Just Happy to see Me?


Teddy the octopus, Newport Aquarium, Oregon

 “Sometimes you have to unplug from the world you know to connect with the far grander world that you don’t.”

– Jacob Baynham

Boy, am I ever glad I returned to blogging on a weekly basis, as there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of events to report on!

I had a tremendous week of writing at the Crab Cottage VRBO in Newport. The only drawback to that place was that it was on a very busy street in an otherwise quiet town. In other words, it was the perfect setting to be working on the Bungalow by the Sea play script. I felt like I was right at my old home with noisy traffic whizzing by…in an otherwise quiet town.

Anne & MA (a dreadful shot of me but a lovely one of Anne)

Years ago, when my friend, Terri, and I were on a road trip with my dogs, Sable & Soda, we stayed in Newport and got chatting with Anne, who worked in a really cute store, the Peerless Puffin. So I popped in to the Puffin when I was in Newport and was thrilled to see Anne still worked there!

We had a great chat and then met for dinner to gab some more and then the next night, caught a performance of Beauty & the Beast at the Newport Centre for Performing Arts. It was excellent! As you may know, the story is about the importance of changing and growing…and how difficult that can be at times. But when we really want something, we can change for the better.

Rosie, the protagonist in my play, could relate. So could I 🙂

The ocean is in the background and to the left is the Newport Center for Performing Arts

When I first arrived at the Newport VRBO, I was delighted to find The Soul of an Octopus; A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of  Consciousness by Sy Montgomery on the bookshelf. I’ve been wanting to read it for months but hadn’t got around to picking up a copy. I read it during the week and was so inspired by the story – and the creatures – that I went to the Newport Aquarium one afternoon to see if I could see a Giant Pacific octopus.

Did I ever!

Teddy the octopus in action

Theodore (a.k.a “Teddy”) put on quite the show. In the midst of his performance, an aquarium volunteer came up beside me and stared at the tank, astounded.

“Wow,” she said. “He isn’t like this very often…maybe once every two to three months.”

I shook my head in wonder and continued watching Teddy for another five minutes, profoundly grateful to be able to be see this.

Breakfast at Georgie’s Restaurant, Newport

A couple of days later, after a scrumptious breakfast at Georgie’s (my Mom and I had a crab dinner there years ago and the sunset was so spectacular, the entire restaurant broke into applause!), Sadie and I hit the road for Florence…but not before stopping at a gas station.

In Oregon, they pump the gas for you, so while someone was doing that I checked the oil. Or rather, I tried to check the oil. I pulled out the dipstick to check the oil level but something didn’t look right. So I stood there awhile, turning the dipstick this way and that, examining it carefully. Then it hit me: it was bigger than it should be.

It finally dawned on me that I wasn’t looking at just the dipstick but also the gasket-thing that is supposed to be welded to the engine…that the dipstick goes into.

And try as I might, I could NOT get the damn dipstick and attached gasket back into the engine. So I went inside the station and asked the guy for help. He followed me back out to my car. Here’s a snippet of our conversation:

HIM (while trying to put dipstick into engine): Geez, you’re right…that hole is hard to find.

ME: I have a flash light…do you want me to shine some light down there?

HIM: Sure!

So I shine the light from my new handy-dandy headlamp flashlight into the dark abyss.

HIM: Better…but I still can’t see to get it in there.

ME: How about I go underneath and we can try and guide it that way?

HIM: Okay.

So I lie down on my back and slide under the CRV and shine the light up.

ME: How’s that?

HIM (after much grunting and groaning): Damn! That is really tight. Can you move the light around a little?

ME (trying not to laugh): Sure.

So I move the light around a bit.

HIM: Stop! That’s perfect. Don’t move…stay right there.

ME (trying really hard not to laugh): Okay.

HIM (after a few more groans): Damn…your engine is HOT!

ME: Sorry!

HIM: Never mind. I got it…it’s in!

Then I got back on my feet, thanked him and (after sharing a cigarette…kidding!) went on my merry way 🙂

This little encounter reminded of Cameron Tuttle’s brilliant road trip book, The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open Road (which I have blogged about on past adventures):

Now, just to bring this blog back out of the gutter, here are a few lovely scenery photos taken on the road between Newport and Florence:

Love this shot of the lighthouse with the sun shining on it, as the storm clouds gather…good-bye Newport!


Waves smashing against the rocks, Sea Lion Caves (near Florence)


Sea Lion Caves (if you look closely, there are hundreds of female seal lions & pups in the foreground and to the left)

When Sadie and I arrived at our VRBO in Florence, I opened up the front door and nearly burst into tears. It was like walking into my dream home…an adorable cozy, little beach cottage.

And, I’m pleased to report, an extremely quiet cozy little beach cottage.

I shall post photos in next week’s blog…till then, take care!

P.S. Yes, I AM getting the dipstick fixed tomorrow.

 “There’s no way around it, you need a car – ideally, one that runs faster than you do. But anything that moves forward will do.”

– Cameron Tuttle, The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open Road

If you are new to reading about this odyssey, here are the previous Road Trip 2018 blogs:

She Packed Up Her Potential…

Write On – Writing What We Know May Help Teach Us What We Need to Learn

On the Road…But Nearly Not

Surprise! Greetings from Newport

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life

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14 thoughts on “Is That a Dipstick in Your Pocket…”

  1. Maybe you have found your true Bungalow by the sea!!! And maybe close by there is a great dipstick that fits perfectly!!! Here’s rooting for you!

  2. I am so happy that you are having such a wonderful trip Maryanne! Love your photos …. you are an excellent photographer and sounds like you’re quite the auto mechanic as well! Good work! Scratch to Sadie and hugs to you!

  3. I will TRY and behave myself…but sometimes stuff just happens!!! Can’t wait to travel with you, too!

  4. Yes, Jennifer…add the Oregon Coast to your bucket list of places to travel to. And you’ve seen a LOT of amazing places!!

  5. Don’t know if he was single and he was sorta cute. But I couldn’t see him very well with the engine between us 🙂

    Sherelle, you are going to laugh at my next blog about an encounter with a male massage therapist. He WAS single…and for good reason, I suspect.

  6. Oh Lynne!! I found a dipstick nearby all right…but he is definitely NOT my antelope 🙁

    Hope your acting gig is going great!!!

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