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.

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