First, Stop For Gas- a Mostly True Story
You may have been here. It’s only a short trip you have planned. You get in the car and peak at the gas gauge. It’s getting pretty low, but stopping for gas is a pain, and after all, you aren’t going that far. Naw, I’ve got plenty for now…I’ll just stop later.
Woah! Careful now…because actually, that's the Devil talking.
Those were my exact thoughts the other evening. Some friends had invited me to dinner. They live a few miles outside of town. Now I had heard that a particular major road was closed due to construction, but I really had no idea what part of it was actually closed, as I do not frequently travel there.
At any rate, on this evening I had completely forgotten about any streets being closed anywhere, so I just went on my merry way.
I headed out of town and was quickly reminded by an ominous orange sign.
“Road Closed, X Number of Miles Ahead. Follow Detour”
Oh man, I totally forgot! How many miles out are they? Well, I really wasn’t sure and I’m still relatively new to the area and don’t really know my way around as far as shortcuts. Not wanting to take any chances supposedly, I follow the advertised detour. What could possibly go wrong?
This was when the drama started. Well, it was probably a lot more dramatic in my head at the time than it really was, but whatever. It makes for a good story after the fact I guess.
I should mention here that I recently had to get a newer vehicle. So A, I’m still getting used to it and figuring out how many miles I really have left before empty. And B, I went from a car to a SUV…so gas just doesn’t go quite as far now.
So I was following this detour...and still following the detour. At least the orange signs haven’t just disappeared, that’s a good thing, right?
Eh, yes, but not really.
Eventually, I started thinking (I know, novel idea). I must be too far north now. Maybe I should try turning off on the next county road heading west…that should bring me closer to where I need to be, in theory.
But there seemed to be no good place to pull off and I didn't feel like ending up in a ditch or something. Plus there was another car right behind me. Frazzled and frustrated, I kept going.
At some point, I looked down at the clock. That’s when I realized that I'd been driving for a lot longer than I thought I had. Where the time went, I couldn't tell you. Then I glance at that gas gauge.
Oh, shoot. That short trip? Yeah right. Now I was feeling stupid. And why the heck am I still going north? I need to turn around.
It really felt like the middle of nowhere at the point. I mean, there were more Amish buggies out there than cars. Okay, not really. But I did come across quite a few of them.
I still really needed to turn around, but darn it, there was still another car on my heels. Look, I know you are probably following this eternal detour too, and you're late too, but pleeeaaaase back off a bit more so I can think!
Now I was seeing signs for towns I’d never even heard of before.
Gas was getting lower, but I was still pretty confident here. After all, the gas light hadn’t come on yet. Heck, my old car didn’t even have such a feature.
I finally get to a place where I can safely stop. Ironically, I’m pretty sure that there was a working, open, gas station at this junction. But we won’t talk about that, okay? Okay.
While stopped, I finally decided to take out my phone and try using the GPS to find a different route back to where I needed to go (another novel idea a little late, wow!). I get turned around and head on my way, following that lady's annoying voice. GPS Lady told me to take the next right onto some back road.
I came up to it and what do you know, there was nothing other than a big orange sign in the middle of the street! "Road Closed." What in the world?!? Never mind, probably wouldn’t be a good Idea to take even if I could…recalculating.
I passed by the same Amish buggy I had already encountered going the other way. He gave me a funny look like, "I’ve seen you before tonight…I bet you were following that never-ending detour too…hahaha."
At this time my friend called, wondering if I’m still coming and such. I sheepishly explain the situation. They inform me that the road is actually open at their place and apologizes for forgetting to mention it. By then, I had pulled off onto a side road to talk.
New plan...just go back and come the normal way I knew how to go. Cool. I felt better as continued back the way I came towards town. For a moment. Before things got really dicey.
That little orange gaslight came on.
Uh-oh. That happened a lot sooner than I thought it would.
I was still kind of far out. Nothing left to do now but hope and pray I could make it back. Maybe there is actually more gas in there than what it seems to say.
I could swear that I could actually see that needle moving towards E in real time. I imagined that the next thing I would be doing was making a very embarrassing call to my friend. I kept trucking. I cheered for downhill parts of the road so I could use gravity to my advantage. (“I'm glad it’s downhill from here”…That’s happened a time or two going places with my mom, ;) )
I was pretty mad at myself for not turning around sooner. Oh well, just hope for the best at this point.
Well, friends, I’ll just say it now- I made it back to town! Those were some tense moments, but I did not run out of gas after all. I tested the limits, but they were not exceeded. I've almost never been that glad to see a gas station.
I arrived at my destination- after getting the gas this time- and the day ended well.
Do I now know where that road is actually closed? Nope, still don’t.
Do I want to find out first hand? Nope, not unless I have plenty of gas and lots of time to kill.
And that, folks, is why you should always stop for gas first, before leaving town. Because ya never know. Unless you like to live dangerously, but that’s your call. Lesson learned here…for a while anyway ;)