Mental Floss

My Trip To Old Faithful (Not That Old Faithful)

Jason English
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Earlier this summer, my wife and I journeyed westward to California "“ San Diego, San Francisco and Napa Valley. On the last day of our trip, for two reasons, we required an alcohol-free activity. First, we were pretty wine-tasted out. And second, I had to drive our PT Cruiser convertible 67 miles back to rental car return.

We saw a sign pointing the way to Old Faithful. For about ten seconds, my hungover geography would have made Miss South Carolina cringe. Is Old Faithful really in California? Why wouldn't anyone mention Napa Valley's proximity to Yellowstone?

Wait, there are two Old Faithfuls?

There are indeed. Since we'd never seen a geyser and had eight hours to kill, we put down the top and (PT) cruised toward Calistoga. Here's what we saw.

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Aside from the liberal use of quotation marks, the sign alerted us to the presence of special goats we hadn't expected. I still don't understand their connection to geysers. But it's a fun diversion for the kids, right?

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"With a Fainting goat in the herd if coyotes or dogs threatened the sheep, the sheep could run away while the Fainting goat fell over, providing the predator with an easy meal while the sheep escaped."

This petting zoo was PG-13.

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"They have a genetic problem with relaxing muscles. When they are startled or surprised their muscles lock up and the goat then sometimes falls over."

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Confused and slightly horrified, we moved on. Though at least we were safe should coyotes attack.

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We sat and we waited, not even sure we were looking the right way.

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We absolutely were.

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After a few minutes staring at the water, we took turns having our pictures taken. I'm glad we made the trip. But to steal (and bastardize) a line from Aaron Sorkin, the length of the geyser was way out of proportion to our interest in it. We hit up the snack shop and headed for the Pacific Coast Highway, the long and scenic way back to the airport.

No fainting goat chew toy for Bailey, but we did get her a special Napa souvenir.

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A souvenir she destroyed in roughly 30 minutes.

A few links and we'll call it a post:
"¢ More info on fainting goats.
"¢ The Old Faithful Geyser (of California) website.
"¢ The PT Cruiser convertible.

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