To you, it’s a gas station. To me, it’s a one-stop party shop. Between my job as a journalist and my hobby as an equestrian, I spend a lot of time on the road.
And because I tend to be really busy, I also tend to suck at shopping for gifts. One minute it’s Monday and I’m on the way to work, and the next it is Christmas or Hanukah or someone’s birthday and I’m in the car or my nearly 20-year-old truck, speeding down the road, late and giftless.
That’s where gas stations come in.
First, cheap wine is a decent gift in my world, and your average truck stop usually has some bottles of wine and bubbly. Sequential Biofuels on McVay Highway near Lane Community College, where I often seem to find myself, ups the ante by having modestly priced Oregon wines and some fine beer and cider offerings.
Full disclosure: I’m at Sequential so often that a friend once gave me a Sequential gift card for my birthday — excellent gift choice for those of us who spend too much time at gas stations and yet strive to be ecofriendly.
Sequential is also a growler station with plenty of beverages on tap, and I’ve cheerfully purchased a glass growler or a Hydro Flask (around $25-$45), filled it with kombucha and given it to a friend.
Because Sequential is more than a gas station it also has some quirkier offerings: Hats, T-shirts, Monsterparty magnets made by an employee according to manager Ashley Peterson, and disc golf supplies are among the last-minute gifts you can grab as you fuel up with gas, biodiesel or ethanol.
But not everyone lives near a hippie biofuel station, and that’s where truck stops come in. Flying J, Pilot, Loves: You name it, I’ve been there to fuel up. And though I’m usually in a hurry, I love wandering the aisles and looking at the plethora of phone products and random ways truckers can make their cabs more comfy.
My own truck, a 2000 F250 diesel, is old enough to have a tape deck. I admit I still have tapes I could put in it, but my iPhone has more tunes. Truck stops usually sell the gift I love to give my fellow old car drivers: tape-deck adapters, which go anywhere from $5 to $15.
Remember when you used to get that doohickey that you stuck in your tape deck so you could play your portable CD player in your car? Yep, same thing only it lets you play your phone’s tunes. If your car is newer than mine, you can also pick up a similar item, only you pop the adapter into the CD player.
Suddenly you can play the podcasts and songs you love while driving through those lonely parts of Oregon where you can only get Christian rock and country. The friends who receive this gift may not realize at first just how cool it is, but trust me, the first time they realize there’s nothing on the radio except non-stop Christmas songs and that they can plug their phone in instead, they will love you and your last minute gift-shopping ways.