College was miles away, at least 24 hours driving time. So we always shared rides for Christmas and summer break. We usually left right after finals. I pulled an all nighter, packing, cleaning, studying for that last final. My brother was driving and I crashed in the back seat, another friend riding with us. Couldn’t wait to be back home for Christmas.
Car stopped, I wake up. Where are we at? Middle of nowhere, New Mexico. Dark icy deserted road, bone chillin’ cold. We’d run out of gas! Yeah sure we could just call for help on our cell phones, but keep in mind, this was before such things. My backup plan was always find a payphone and call dad collect. How long will our battery last without gas? No flares in the car, emergency blinkers on. Maybe someone will notice and give us a hand. Open hood. Wait. . .
Wait. . .
Shiver. . . brrrrrrrrrrrr. . .
Wait. . .
Were we the only ones crazy enough to be out driving all night?
Lights! Finally a car. Surely they will stop. . . No such luck.
OK. maybe we aren’t obvious enough. Wait some more. Brrrrrrrrrr!
Next car that comes by we all get out and flag them down. Help! Can you help us?
Nice car stops, young couple driving through on way to Arizona. Relief. Can you help?
“Sorry, we are in a hurry and don’t have a spare gas can. Gas station is a few miles up the road. Tell you what we’ll do, when we stop at the next state we’ll call the state troopers and have them call New Mexico state troopers and maybe they can help. Bye.”
Dang! and here I thought they’d help us out. Could be hours before help arrives. And so we wait. . .
Car ride is long enough, but waiting in the car for who knows how long gets long quick. Never knew time could stretch so long.
What to do? My brother decides to walk to the gas station, after all, that car said it was only a couple miles up the road. Not comfortable with him on the road alone. Want company? No. Someone should stay with the car. Maybe a state trooper will show up. Nor did he want just one of us girls alone with the car.
As he walks out of sight, I get to thinking that wasn’t too smart an idea. Wind is picking up, getting colder out. Who knows where the gas station is at. I want to call him back, but too late. I hope and pray that he’ll be alright. Didn’t want him found as a frozen popsicle on the roadside come morning. And so we wait. . .
Lights! Really? Lights slow down. Is it the promised state troopers? Nope, that is an old pickup. Guy gets out, other girl takes one look and double checks the car locks. Help or someone out to do harm? I roll my window down. Even in the frigid air, I can smell alcohol on his breath.
“Can I help?” he asks.
I explain the situation.
“I can give you girls a ride to the gas station, pick up your brother along the way.” Discussion with other girl. Do we trust him? What if state troopers come by right after we leave? What if just one of us went? That seemed even less safe. Finally, no thanks, we’ll stay with the car in case promised help arrives. But if you could pick up my brother and give him a lift to the gas station, we’d be very grateful.
He agrees. We wait. . .
Still no troopers, but the pickup comes back with my brother, and gas! Happy days! Not only does he bring my brother back, with gas, but he hangs around and makes sure it starts. We offer him money but he refuses. Just happy to help us on our way. “Have a safe trip!” and so we do. 🙂
So many things could have gone wrong. I learned a couple of things:
It is especially important to keep an eye on your fuel gage, especially when the towns are few and far between.
Don’t judge people by their appearance. You never know where your true friends will come from.
Click on the JukeBox below and listen to the tunes. Guess when the road trip took place. If you’d like to take part in the flashback challenge, go to https://www.connectsimply.com/blog/february-flashback-challenge/.