The Frightening Prospect of an Empty Gas Tank in Idaho
My dad chewed me out after I ran out of gas. It was a cold winter night and I was three blocks from home. He didn’t appreciate me showing up and asking if he had a gas can and could take a short drive. I was a teenager. Driving my first car. Among some issues was a gas gauge that didn’t always work. About a dozen years ago I left work as a friend called and asked if I could attend a charitable event. I headed in that direction and ran out of gas a few hundred feet from a gas station.
A friend passed me as he was on his way to the same event. When I arrived about 20 minutes late, he had already told the entire room. What are friends for?
These moments in life are embarrassing. The only other time I came close was 5 years ago in rural Montana. There used to be a gas station at a large casino, and I would fill up there when driving to Idaho after a visit to Helena. I was driving from Missoula when I realized my route didn’t pass the casino and by the time I realized I needed gas, I was in a precarious spot. Interstate 15 may be a federal highway. It doesn’t mean it’s heavily trafficked.
I made it to a tiny outpost known as Melrose on fumes. The pumps were outside a smaller casino and I went inside to pay in advance. I was told gas required cash. In a gambling den where I’m sure you can use a bank card at the slot machines. I don’t carry much cash. That day, I had 18 dollars in my wallet. It got me enough in the tank that I made it to the next stop with ease, where I filled up.
Running out of gas in the western part of the country can be a frightening experience. Big Country News has a story today that warms some Idaho drivers to fill up before heading across one desolate stretch of highway. Heed the advice.