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11 May 2009 @ 08:06 pm
Portland adventure: Curse of the Mad Cartographers  
The plan: after visiting family Saturday, we would find a Target near the hotel for some sales-tax free shopping.

The reality:
The iPhone version of Google Maps finds two locations for "Target" near where we were staying: the first one turned out to be a corporate office buried in office-park land, and the second doesn't exist at all.

Remembering that I have a Best Buy store credit (from a 2007 Xmas present), we decided to give up on Target for the day and see if there was anything worth buying at Best Buy (not much, especially since I kept comparing prices with Amazon). While starting my car, a local pointed out that my rear-right tire was flat.

With a bit of grimy work, I was able to remove the nuts, but the offending tire wouldn't budge, despite all my pulling, pushing, and kicking. After we gave up and called AAA, I started trying to search for a nearby tire store. iPhone map search for "tire" brought up all 18 locations for the exact same company, so I called ahead.

How late are you open? "We close in about 8 minutes."
Do you know anybody who is open later? "Nope, all the other tire stores keep pretty much the same hours."
Are you open Sunday? "Nope."
Do you know of anybody open Sunday? "Nope."


The same local was able to dislodge my flat tire with one perfect kick, so I was able to find the nail-puncture and place on the stupid-little no-more-than-100-miles Subaru spare minutes before the tow-truck arrived. He said AAA gave him bad directions, and he'd originally arrived at an apartment complex.

He didn't know of any tire repair shops either. I started checking Google Maps again, looking for specific names like "les schwab", that didn't show up in the initial search for "tire". Found one the next freeway exit up, on "Boones Ferry rd" (NOT "Upper Boones Ferry rd" or "Booned Ferry rd place" or "Boones Ferry rd upper drive" - those are 4 different things). Of course, the Schwab closed at 5 and we arrived at 5:15, but I found some staff hanging out and closing shop. One of them gave me directions to a Bridgestone that might be open until 6. He gave directions, involving a turn on "Old Country road".

Look at that map. Do you see the intersection of Boones Ferry rd and Old Country rd?

There isn't one. I guessed "Country Club rd", and we found the Bridgestone. Kyna called ahead, and we made it in shortly before closing time.

But they didn't have any drop-in replacements for my right-rear tire, and thanks to the limitations of all-wheel drive there are constraints on how different the front and rear tires should be. He started talking about ordering some tires in from Nevada, and they could probably be in-shop by Tuesday...

Keep in mind, I hardly drive this car any more. I know it's probably past time to replace these tires. So, I suggest replacing all four - with the cheapest economy tires I can, in the land of no sales tax. The way I see it, his sales commission on four tires is his "tip" for staying open late to help us.

Other things to hate about Portland: idiot holier-than-thou helmetless bicyclists who don't know how to share the road and dog owners who think that leash laws are for other people - even in the wetlands wildlife/bird sanctuary.

Things to like about Portland: waffles served like tacos, brewpub with free wifi, good food, and all-weekend happy hour.

To try next time: gelato, baked goods, beer and wine open at 8 AM.
Stupendous Manfarmalloc on May 12th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
Did you try yelp down there? I usually find them more accurate with finding generic business than google. Glad you got it all worked out in the end.
St. Sean the Amusedseanb on May 12th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
I found erroneous Yelp listings, too. Eventually, I started double-checking everything, and discounting any listings which didn't appear in both.

This fits with last year, where we had incorrect map directions from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
FoxFyre: Erisfoxfyre on May 12th, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
They need the constant happy hour and 8am booze to cope with the utter hopelessness of trying to navigate through Porttland.