Aurora and Her Gas Tank Returning from the Grand Canyon – Part 2 (Hopping Fences, Getting Gas, and Getting Home)

May 11, 2012

View of the Chevron when Aurora De Lucia ran out of gas on the side of the highway in the middle of the desert
This the spot where I ran out of gas. So close, yet so far.

Picking up from part 1, I hop the fence. Next item on the agenda – get a gas can. They didn’t have one in the gas station. (Surprising, right?) But, a man in the shop across from the gas station let me borrow one.

I took the gas can over to the pumps, and was having a hard time filling it. Apparently you have to make a seal. It was nerve-wracking! I didn’t want to overfill the small can.

These two extremely nice women came over to help me. They were an awesome reminder of one of the many reasons not to judge people based on assumptions or first appearances. The women who helped me were in high heels and nice clothes. They had manicured nails and styled hair.

They didn’t necessarily look on the surface like the type of people who’d be comfortable with gas cans, but they rushed right to my rescue. They helped me hold the gas can, and came over to the fence with me, handing me the can after I climbed back over the fence. Thanks, ladies!

Once I got back to the car, I realized that gas cans are supposed to have some kind of nozzle, right? didn’t want to walk to the fence and hop it (and back) again in the sweltering heat. So, I poured from the best angle I could, spilling as little gas as possible, hoping not to catch anything on fire.

Somehow, enough gas got in my tank. I drove up around the long fence, into the gas station, and got my gas!

It was incredible how crowded this place was. There was a line for everything – to buy gas, to buy snacks, to use the bathroom – line, line, line. Someone in the bathroom line remarked to me that they hadn’t seen anywhere to stop in hours. Me neither!

Somebody build some gas stations on the Grand Canyon/San Diego trek already!

I grabbed a Gatorade and some precious, precious Doritos. I took a few minutes out of my car stretching, and hopped back in for another good ol’ stretch of nothing.

You’d think driving home couldn’t be more stressful after that, but you’re not winding around a mountain yet! 2 lanes (one each way). So many turns. On a mountain! I’m never going to make it back to LA alive, am I?

Where am I? (There were much scarier places driving along a mountain, but there wasn’t space to get pictures in those places.)

Somehow, I made it through the mountain and made my way to San Diego. Thank goodness I had totally been eavesdropping at the Enterprise when they talked to other customers. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known about the secret hotel valet drop-off after hours, and I would’ve been stuck for the night.

I made my way around one way streets for way too long until I finally figured out how to get to the valet. I sadly emptied my super convenient car, and walked to the Greyhound station to get back to Los Angeles. This was the first Greyhound station I’d seen where everyone was wanded before entry (entry to the outside area, since the station was completely outside).

The ride home was miserable. Mis-er-a-ble. First, I sat next to a broken window where cold air was blowing at my like crazy. I asked the bus driver if he could turn on the heat, but he didn’t speak English.

A woman close to the bus driver translated for us. She told me that the heat was already on. I moved seats closer to a big vent that would hopefully be blowing out heat. Nope. Turns out the heat was not on, but the air was.

I looked around, and every person on that bus was miserable, wrapped up in sweatshirts, blankets, and whatever else they could find. As we started to just maybe try to drift to sleep on a bus that made that next to impossible, the bus was stopped by border patrol.

The stern officer asked each of us for our license. This was the billionth time I’d seen border patrol on this trip. When he started on his questions, including, “Were you born here?” I wanted to say, “How is my license not good enough? Born here or not, I’m a citizen. Please, I’m begging you, let us go home. I’m so cranky and sleepy.”

The bus was eventually cleared. I commiserated about the cold and being questioned all the time with a new friend in the back of the bus. Early in the morning, I finally arrived in Los Angeles, and proceeded to sleep for two days straight (exaggeration).

2 thoughts on “Aurora and Her Gas Tank Returning from the Grand Canyon – Part 2 (Hopping Fences, Getting Gas, and Getting Home)”

  1. I’m surprised nothing showed up on the gps for closest gas stations. Even though I have a gps on the phone an independent gps tells you everything. When it comes to long road trips and driving through vast nothing i always make sure to fill up on gas. Hopefully you learned something from this experience, you were pretty lucky to have a gas station so close. i feel so bad for people on the way to las vegas in the middle of nowhere.

    1. I have GPS on my phone. No gas stations showed up anywhere close to me because there weren’t any gas stations that were close to me. Same deal when my dad looked up gas stations for me. I was in a big stretch of nothing. There wasn’t much I could do about it once I was already in the middle of it.

      I wasn’t in any real danger. I may have been sort of in the middle of nowhere, but there were plenty of cars around. Plus, I had gotten the roadside assistance option with my rental car, so that was there if I needed it. I had plenty of water and sunscreen in the car, so I would’ve been able to deal with the heat.

      It’s not like I headed into the desert on 1/4 a tank of gas. How was I to know I wouldn’t see a gas station for well over three hours? That’s a long time! The stretch of absolutely nothing didn’t seem to last that long on the way out. (Granted, I took a different route out and back.)

      Yes, I was very lucky that I ran out of gas once I finally was very close to a gas station, but I had been looking for one for a long, long time. I drove for plenty of miles with the light blinking.

      It was an interesting adventure, but I knew I’d going to be fine.

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