Out of gas

M and I went to Doylestown yesterday. Actually, we went to Fountainville, to Highland Hill Farm, to see about some copper beech trees. Fountainville is near Doylestown and we did eventually drive through Doylestown where they have lots of painted horses. Not real horses. Horse statues, similar to the cows they had all over Chicago a few years ago, where they invited artists to paint or otherwise decorate them and then auctioned them off.

As you might recall, M and I planted over 100 trees last spring. It was a good mix of cherry, red oak, and maple trees. M has long wanted to plant a few beech trees, any kind of beech tree, but has been unable to find seedlings at any of the nurseries he’s visited. He hasn’t been able to find them online either. Until now. Somehow or another, he came upon the Highland Hill Farm website after our first visit to Longwood Gardens. Perhaps the key to turning up the information was looking for “copper beech” instead of “beech” or “American beech.”

Whatever the case, Highland Hill Farm has copper beech seedlings. So yesterday we drove up there to have a look.

The drive up took us a while. We stopped for lunch at the Pepper Mill, a cheesesteak place we’ve passed and noted as having potential. We based that on looks alone, not having heard anything about their cheesesteaks. As it turns out, this was one book that we judged correctly by its cover. The cheesesteaks are delicious! A search didn’t turn up a website. I did find this blog review which has a nice photo of one of the cheesesteaks.

We’ll be going back again soon to try their hoagies which look pretty tasty.

The drive took longer than we expected. We took a main road that carries some heavy traffic, even on a Sunday. Maybe especially on a Sunday. I don’t know. I mention this because we decided to take a different route home, using back roads instead of the main arteries.

Highland Hill Farm did not disappoint. They had a good selection of copper beech trees. We bought two (which are now sitting on the balcony of our apartment waiting for us to take them home at the end of the month and plant them). The owners of the farm are very friendly and, for some reason having to do with bartering and overstock, they were giving away rechargeable batteries and battery chargers for Mother’s Day.

Check out their website if you get a chance. It’s chock full of all kinds of interesting things.

After purchasing our trees, we stopped for a pint at a place called McFrog’s Pub. They have a nice outdoor deck. Other than that, I can’t say much for it.

We plotted our route back while sitting on the deck at McFrog’s. It required a little bit of going in the wrong direction (north when we wanted to head south), but only about six miles or so of that before we hit the roads going south and west. It was a pretty day for drive on back country roads.

It was also a Sunday. After 6:00pm.

We were meandering along pretty well, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, when the car quit. Just quit. About twenty minutes or so before this happened, I asked M if he thought we should stop for gas. He said no, there was a quarter of a tank left. And the little LED thing that tells time and temperature registered 76 miles to go until the tank was empty.

It’s a good car, but it has very poor math skills.

M tried several times to get the car started. No luck. So he called the AAA. Thank goodness for the AAA. An hour later a man in a tow truck arrived. He came bearing gas. He put two gallons of gas in the car, reset something, and then tried to start it up. At first the car didn’t want to start. And then it did. And then it stalled and wouldn’t start again. And then it started.

And life was good. We drove to the nearest gas station, tow truck and driver following us to make sure we got there ok, where the car took a little over 14 gallons. It has a 16-gallon tank. The tow truck guy put in 2 gallons.

You do the math and see what conclusion you arrive at.

Like every car we’ve owned, the gas gauge is anything but accurate.

There were a few moments of “what are going to do if it’s not an empty gas tank??” We were in the middle of nowhere, an hour away from Sabbaticalville. There was no one nearby we could call to come pick us up. It was Sunday evening. After 6:00pm. It was pretty unlikely we’d find an open dealership where we could get the car fixed that evening. We were thinking it was pretty likely we’d be spending the night at a hotel somewhere provided we could find a hotel and get a ride there somehow.

Good times.

I’m very glad it turned out to be a case of being out of gas. Not just because we weren’t sure what we’d do if the car was in need of repairs. I now have the right to tease M about running out of gas. My concerns about wanting to fill up the tank once the gauge has been hovering around a quarter tank for a little while have now been validated. I am no longer considered paranoid. Ha!

In other words: I was right.

Don’t worry, though. I won’t tease him too much. Or milk it for too long. It’s not as if he knew the car was low on gas and continued to drive anyhow.

I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the gardens.

The first two are from the fountain show.


Longwood Gardens are, naturally, a pretty popular place for weddings and/or having wedding photographs taken. We’ve seen at least two wedding parties in two visits.