Day 75: Petrol crisis in British Columbia!

streams

DAY 75: Keremeos, Canada
Miles traveled: 9,520
States visited: 22
Weather: 77, sunny

One of the most worrisome moments of my trip happened the other day. After Vancouver I decided to head east through Canada rather than coming back through the U.S. As I was driving through the mountains, I saw a sign that said “Next gas 77 km.” I looked down and I was a little low, so I decided to stop for gas. Except there was no place to stop. Inexplicably, they posted that sign after the last gas station instead of before it, so if I wanted gas I’d have to drive back.

I thought I had enough gas anyway, so I continued onward. The scenery was spectacular – snow-capped mountains, fast-moving streams, rolling forests.

snomts

As I was climbing the mountains I looked down and I was suddenly at less than 1/4 of a tank. Now I was in trouble. My GPS said the closest gas was either 30 miles behind me, or 48 miles ahead of me. I estimated that I had about 2-3 gallons left in the tank, which might be good for 30-35 miles. I also have an emergency gas can that is probably good for another 10 miles.

Driving back would’ve added at least an hour to my voyage, and I was already scheduled to drive for 7 hours that day. Plus, I had just reached the summit, and it looked like the rest of the driving would be downhill, so I could take my foot off the gas and let gravity do the work. So, I crossed my fingers and began the most nerve-wracking 48-mile journey ever.

After 12 miles, the tank was very low but still in decent shape. I thought I’d either make it, or come very close. And then, in the distance, I spotted a gas station! This was an old, run-down place that looked like it was no longer in business. But it was indeed open. For some reason it wasn’t on the GPS. But it was a thrilling sight – like seeing water in the desert. I filled up and continued on with my trip.

The scenery in Western Canada was great and then further east, to my surprise, I encountered a desert. For some reason it doesn’t rain much in this part of the country. There were signs posted to look out for bighorn sheep and mountain goats, but I didn’t see any.

I passed through some quaint little towns like Princeton.

princeton

On my trip I listened to some bizarre cassette tapes I had purchased from a Goodwill in Seattle. They were old-timey radio shows from the early days of radio. One was the first episode ever of The Lone Ranger, from 1948 – it was a gripping and fascinating tale! And it even featured a Wheaties commercial. Another tape was the Best of Jack Benny, and another was something called Inner Sanctum, a murder mystery show. I bought these cassettes for $3, and it was one of my favorite purchases so far.

Tomorrow, it’s back to the U.S., if they let me back in…

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