In light of recent dreadful events in the news, I am going to tell you the story of my trip from hell (not really hell in the traditional bad sense, just weird). Let’s face it we could all use a laugh! This vacation took place a while ago so some of the specific details are hazy but I’m pretty sure I remember the important parts. The names in the story are made up in order to protect the innocent; ok actually I’m just too lazy to contact everyone to see if it would be alright to include their names in this story. J
Back when we were all 20, Mike and Steve decided to move to Bend Oregon in order to work in the resort town of Sunriver. They both got typical 20 something jobs and were enjoying the experience! As August rolled around, my buddy Jason and I decided to go see them and then head over to Mt. Hood for some summer skiing.
I don’t remember for sure, but I think the plan was to leave early (early meaning 12/1pm of course) Friday and come back on a Monday. We thought the drive would take about 5 hours or so, or so we thought…
For some reason, we got off to a late start. It was something like 4 or 5 before we left Boise. No big deal, the joys of being 20 are that time is more of a suggestion and not really something that 20somethings worry about. Plus, Mike’s parents were in Bend so that gave him more time to be with them instead of his stupid friends (that would be us). The one drawback was that we were planning on sleeping on Mike and Steve’s apartment floor with sleeping bags so our late arrival would mean that at least one of them would have to wait on us since we didn’t have a key-just to let everyone know that we are not jerks, we did call Mike and Steve to tell them we were running late.
The plan was to stop in Burns Oregon to eat dinner and fill up the car. We were taking Jason’s Blazer which didn’t get the best gas mileage so trying to get to Bend on one tank was out of the question. For those of you that don’t know, there is nothing between Burns and Bend Oregon except sagebrush; it’s basically a flat desert.
Up until we got to Burns, the trip was going pretty much as planned. We did hit more traffic than expected leaving Boise which slowed us down some but not enough to make it a big deal. Once in Burns, we found a local McDonalds and ate. At the time, we were all Copenhagen fans (don’t judge!) so after dinner we hit the local Wall-Mart for supplies and left. Notice that I never say we also filled up, important detail.
Full from dinner and packed with supplies, Jason and I set off for Bend with what amounted to a quarter of a tank left of gas. This wasn’t even going to come close to getting us there! Sure enough, somewhere in the middle of the Oregon desert the gas light pops on. Luckily for us there was a rest stop up a head where we could at least stop the car and try to beg for gas from truckers.
I should mention at this time that we were both wearing t-shirts and shorts. That becomes important because as we all know it can get pretty chilly at night in the desert, especially when a cold front is moving through the area.
Turns out truckers and others at rest stops are friendly but none of them carried any extra gas, none of them! We were even offering up some decent money and no takers. After about an hour or so of begging one trucker told us that there was an Oregon Highway District Office about a mile up the road and chances are they would have gas available for sale.
So we took off for the highway district office. At this point we were looking for non-essential items to start throwing out the window in order to lighten the load in the hopes of conserving gas. Our best guess was that we only had a couple of more miles left then we were going to be burning fumes. The office was exactly where the trucker at told us, luckily.
At this point it’s about 8pm and starting to get dark when we pulled into the parking lot of the office. When we got out of the car we noticed that there was an office and house both on the property. We tried the office first but no one was there. So we went over to the house and tried that door. I’m not sure what you call it but you know how some doors have what looks like a little door instead of a peep hold, this door had that. The guy that answered it used the little door to see who was there, for reasons we still don’t know he also had a rifle with him. Needless to say we were spooked! He told us that the office was closed and to go away. We basically had to shout our case at him because he won’t open the door for us. After finally being convinced that we were a couple of 20 something punks and not there to rob him, he did finally open the door to talk to us face to face. Turns out Oregon law prevented him from giving or selling (we were offering to pay double to triple the price) gas to us. However, he told us that there was a little mom and pop restaurant about 2 miles down the road which had a gas pump. Off we went with our fingers crossed that we got there before the gas fumes ran out.
As a society we use the term “mom and pop” pretty frequently I would say. This restaurant/gas station was truly deserving of that title however! There were probably 3 generations of family members sitting at the bar drinking away when we went in to pay. Not only that, we were sure that they were all inbred too. Almost all of them had missing teeth, their understanding of the English language was slow to put it kindly, and they had almost no math skills (I had to tell them how much change to give me back because the register was broken). O.K. inbred might be judgmental on our part, but they sure looked it based on how the T.V. portrays such families!
The good news was we were back on the road heading for Bend. Baring anymore setbacks we were hoping to arrive in town around 11pm instead of 9/10pm like we had originally hoped.
Stay tuned sports fans, this story gets better! No more T.V. inbred families, but I have a tow truck driver that scores a lot, a strange family that tried to get me to marry one of their daughters, meet the mayor of a small town in Washington while he was wearing his pajamas, and a car repair shop that went to the Beavis and Butthead school of automotive repair. 🙂