Confession: Sometimes the smell of gas makes me weak in the knees–in a good way. That, and the smell of used motor oil and Gunk.

These three things–gas, used motor oil, and Gunk–in combination transport me back to a significant portion of my youth where I spent a lot of time helping Dad in our garage. Gunk was a product my dad used to clean his hands at the end of a day fixing one of several Volkswagen engines or their interchangeable-parts-cousins, one of several lawnmower engines.

I’m pretty sure Gunk, a cleaning product with the fine aroma of gasoline, was meant for cleaning car engines, but Dad kept jars of it in the garage and the house for soaking his fingers like he was soaking in Palmolive. (Palmolive was a dishwashing liquid, peddled for other purposes on their TV commercials, such as skin beautification–I can still remember Madge, Palmolive’s TV-commercial mascot, saying, “So gentle, you can soak your hands in it.”)  No insult to Dad (God rest his soul.), but I seriously doubt  Gunk’s inventors envisioned their product being used as part of my father’s beauty regimen.

Odd as it seems, altogether or individually, gasoline, motor oil, and Gunk transport me back to a happy childhood. Grease-soaked rags. Bolts. Workbenches. And Dad.

So, it should not have been a surprise to me (nor now, to you!) that I found myself snapping pictures of gas pumps on our recent lengthy road trip to eight national parks in the west and northwest United States.

The initial rush might have hit me back at this eclectic barn/garage in Oregon on the way north to Olympic National Park in Washington State:

eclectic garage, vintage tools

In Wyoming, somewhere near Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park, I snapped this photo of a well-kept (or well-refurbished), old-school Texaco pump:

vintage gas pump, antique gas pump, Texaco, fire-chief

Then, I got a rush of nostalgia when we stopped for gas at this Sinclair gas station shortly after entering the state of Utah (I’ll bet I haven’t seen a Sinclair dinosaur since I was a kid.):

nostalgia, Sinclair gas stations, Sinclair dinosaur

We hit the mother load outside of Lake Utah State Park in Provo, Utah, with this great display alongside a storage facility. Fabulous! I love the antique visible (a.k.a. see-through) gas pumps.

Here’s a great article about these antique visible gas pumps from a fella who pumped them when they weren’t antiques . . .

Vintage Visible Gas Pumps

and then check out this great video showing a working vintage gas pump in Glendale, Utah. I love it!

Happy Trails,


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This was just one experience of many on our three-week Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip to eight national parks in the western United States. To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks

or check out any of our posts along the way . . .

Day 1, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Travel Log: Willits, CA, KOA Campground

Early Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Toilet Bowls, Vintage New Yorkers, and the Eclectic

Later Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Drive-Thru Redwoods, Giants, and Castles

Day 3, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Gigantic Marshmallows of Oregon

Day 4, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Captivating Washington Coastline

Day 5, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Olympiad Deer, Bald Eagles, and Chica Birds

Early Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Port Townsend, WA, See It All and Sea Otters Too!

Later Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, WA

Day 7, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Goodbye Olympic Peninsula; Hello Seattle!

Day 8, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Hay, Washington! Spuds! Spokane!

Day 9, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: It’s a Dog’s Life for Me

Midway on 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Just Stop; You’re Missing It!

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wild, Wicked Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Bison vs. Humans: You Can’t Fix Stupid

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wildlife IN YOUR FACE in Grand Teton National Park

Day 14, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Journey to the Center of Utah