Don’t you just love it when you have one of those “bonehead” moments? The kind where you’re constantly kicking yourself afterward, trying to figure out how you made such a rookie mistake? The kind that you not-so-silently judge others for making? Well, I had such a moment recently. While I’d love to just forget it and move on, I am a strong believer in learning from your past. I pride myself on being a great road-tripper, having put at least 100,000 miles on my cars over the last few years. I know when to put gas in my car, how long I can push it before I need to pull over and grab a few “zzz,” and how many songs I need per playlist on any given drive. But every now and then, I mess up. I’m human.
I headed down to Southern California for a last-minute family trip to Big Bear Lake, and after a long overnight commute, I picked up my mother and dog, Sonny. I was a little tired from the drive down, but was fortunate enough to grab a hotel room in St. George, Utah, and take a 5-hour nap en-route. I say nap because, well, let’s face it: nobody feels good after a restless night in a random hotel room. We were trying to make it up the mountain to our cabin in Big Bear Lake while there was still light, so we quickly got into the car and started chatting. Sonny isn’t the best passenger and I wanted to make sure to drive as smoothly as possible. I wasn’t ready to clean up a mess in my car, let’s leave it at that.
We started our ascent towards Big Bear Lake and marveled at the beauty of the day, the fact that Sonny seemed pretty content in the back seat, and excitedly discussed our weekend plans. I’m not sure what triggered it, but I suddenly looked at my fuel level.
Instant panic. Not only did I forget to fill up once I got to my mother’s house, but the rate in which my fuel was depreciating was alarming. I felt like someone had dropped a bucket of ice water on my head, drips slowly trickling down the back of my neck, following the curve of my back, my shoulders, shoot, even my nose. What in the world did I do to us? This was no way to start a weekend getaway when I was supposed to be the steady one. Way to go. Not only was my mother in the car, but a dog with a weak stomach!
Not normally one to freak out, I started squeezing my steering wheel cover and kneading my hands into it. Scenes from Final Destination played through my mind, even though I haven’t seen any of the movies in the franchise. Windows down, I started sucking in the mountain air, wondering how many more of the pull-outs I could safely pass before we needed to pull over and kill the engine.
At this point, my mother noticed my abnormal behavior and we started brainstorming. Well, as much brainstorming as I could do at that point. She Googled the nearest gas station, and even though it was only 2 miles away, my fuel levels were dangerously low and there was no guarantee how much further we could drive. Throwing caution to the wind, we passed 2 more pull-outs before I caved and brought the car to a stop. A quick call to AAA was all it took to get a tow truck out to our location with a gas can. Sure, $10 for 2 gallons of fuel is excessive, but wouldn’t you pay for it too? Not only did the kind driver empty his gas can in Victor’s tank for me, he followed me to the nearest gas station. I could have cried, but our epic weekend just got a new beginning!
Note to self for future road trips: always be aware of fuel levels. It never hurts to top off!
Have you had any “d’oh!” moments during your travels where you’ve kicked yourself after??