America has lots of it… but just try and get some when you need it. Sure, when travelling down the I5 there’s a gas station every 5 minutes, but when you run out things just never seem to go your way.
Our first fill happened just south of Aldergrove. We found a Safeway that sold gas, and hopped out of the car. In Canada, you simply find a pump, grab the nozzle, put it into the hole, and fire until the tank is full (The ready – aim – fire technique). In America, you have to find a pump, grab the nozzle, flip a switch, select a payment method, apply for optional corporate discounts, put the nozzle in the hole, and fire until your money runs out. (This is the ready, flip, pay, reduce, aim, fire, repeat as necessary technique.) Being the dumb Canadian that I am, I actually had to ask for instructions. Twice. From a guy who kept calling me “Wonderful Man.”
Our second stop was a little more engaged. Having almost run out of gas just into Oregon, we pulled over at the nearest station. The first gas station was full serve. We are too cheap to pay the extra five cents, so we went to the next station over, where again some gas jockey tried pump for us. Moving on we tried a third place. This time when the fellow came up to the car, he kindly informed us that “In Oregon we do it for you, Ma’am.” Weird Oregon-ites.
Our last adventure happened on the highway between California and Reno. My father-in-law gave us fantastic diretions, but neglected to warn us that there was a bit of a distance between Gas Stations. 300 miles. At 130 miles, we ran out of gas. Yippee. Now this road wasn’t quite the i5. At this point we had gotten onto a Mountain Hiway. Think of the malahat. There wasn’t a soul around for miles. Fortunately, just as the vehicle was sputtering out of gas a road crew pulled up and asked if we needed any assistance. The fellow was kind enough to offer us a free gallon of gas which got us to the next station at Susanville (just east Johnsville, and slightly before Kensville, and Janeville). Think Duncan.
This is when we locked our keys in the car.
An indian fellow named Sunny, stayed 40 minutes past closing to help us fish open the lock of the car using a MacGayver-esque rig which combined a flyswatter, a key ring, a hair elastic, a bobby pin and a potato chip rack. It didn’t help that the natives (who apparently all used to be ex-car-thieves when they were young and full of energy… before they became old and drunk) were cheering him on the whole night.
Eventually we rolled into the desert around 1:00, hit a large green stinky thing at 1:20, and found home at 2:00.