Aurora and Her Gas Tank Returning from the Grand Canyon – Part 1 (Gas Station? Gas Station? Bueller?)

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Picking up my story about driving during the Havasu/Grand Canyon weekend, here’s the ride home.

In the 8 o’clock (AM) hour, I saw gas stations and civilization. At that point, I had been on the road for close to two hours. I thought about stopping. I remembered having a big stretch of nothing on the way out, and I did sort of want to stretch and maybe grab a coffee. But, I decided to wait. I still had close to 3/4 tank of gas. I didn’t think the big stretch of nothing was coming up all that soon, so I wanted to drive a little more before I took a nice stretch break.

Little did I know that “a little more” was going to mean hours. As I’m entering the 12 o’clock hour(!), I was pretty hardcore running out of gas. And I was hungry. And I really wanted to stretch. There were no gas stations anywhere. The one I saw when I decided not to stop was the last one I’d seen in over 3 hours! Where was everything?

Here I am driving through the desert on a hot day. My gas light starts blinking. I turn off the air conditioning, knowing I need to conserve every bit of gas I can. It’s so hot! I drive for a while longer. There has to be a gas station somewhere, right?

Once 20 minutes of seeing this blinking gas light have gone by, I call my dad. Intellectually, I know that my dad is not going to be able to do anything for me when he’s all the way over in Ohio, but I call him anyway. He’s pretty much a superhero. Whenever I’m not sure on what to do, I him for advice. Cars and gas are grown up things. I need him!

I call and tell him I want to let him know that I’m probably gonna die from heat somewhere in southern California. After I’m done being dramatic, I tell him the gas light has been on for 20 minutes, and ask how far I can go, and if he has any idea where I’ll see a gas station.

He hops on Google maps, and checks to see where I am. He doesn’t deliver any good news. It looks like I’m still pretty far away from any gas stations. Anywhere? How can that be? You’re my daddy! Can’t you just make one appear out of thin air? “Sweetheart, I’m sorry, but I don’t know of anything I can do for you.”

This is pretty much how I see my dad if ever I’m in need.
Photo credit: Marvel

Luckily, I had roadside assistance in my big bundle of everything that came with the insurance that my dad told me to pile on. Yeah, he knew what a great driver I am.

I felt good having a safety net, but I knew it’d probably take someone forever to get to me, since I was in the middle of nowhere, and all. I decided to keep driving until I was completely out of gas. I’d chance it and hope for the best.

My dad told me what the car was going to feel like when I ran out of gas, so I was ready. I kept driving and driving and driving. I started to feel like Kramer in this Seinfeld episode.

After far too long, I finally got to merge onto a bigger highway. Not too far into that highway, I see a sign that a Chevron’s coming up at an exit! Seriously? I can’t believe it! I’m really going to make it!

Right before the spot where I would go to exit, the car starts slowing down. I can’t get it to speed up. Uh oh. No, no, no, no, no! I pull over to the side of the road, right before the exit, completely out of gas.

I can see the Chevron from where I am! I want to walk up to it, but there’s a super long (though fairly short) chain link fence as far as my eye can see.

I walk up to the fence and see a police officer pumping gas. “Officer! Do you know how long this fence is? I’m out of gas. I’m hoping not to leave my car unattended on the highway for too long.” “The fence is long. It goes for miles around this exit. Just hop it.” Well, okay then, officer. I’ll take your advice, and just hop this fence. It was weird sounding advice coming from an officer’s mouth, but I was happy to do it.

Am I able to successfully get gas in my car? I’m guessing so since I made it home (and am a somewhat strong, crafty lady if I do say so myself). Find out for sure in part 2.

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