Well, you just GOTTA know that, knowing us
, knowing that Larry's had his share of, ahem, mishaps, well, you just GOTTA know that I wasn't going to get off easy without doing something dumb myself!
So, as many of you know, I have only a couple of responsibilities on our trips, mainly, I'm the navigator, picking the routes, and I have to keep track of hub meter readings and make sure I don't let Larry run out of fuel, since we don't have a fuel gauge. That's it. Everything else is volunteer, we do as we feel, eat where we want to, cook when we want to, pretty much just "go with the flow". . . BUT. . . I can't pick roads that get him stuck or on steep hills, and I CAN'T LET HIM RUN OUT OF FUEL.
So, it's our LAST DAY on the road, we've had a blast the entire trip, it's truly one of those "need to take a vacation to rest from our vacation" type trips
, we've crossed into Oklahoma and pretty much, we're home free. Well, sort of. . .you see, in my defense, really, it's just doggone hard to know EXACTLY how much a generator uses in fuel, and with our mileage varying from 6.5 to 8 mpg through the history with this coach, and not knowing REALLY how much in the bottom of the tank is really unusable because you can't pick it up with the sending unit (8 gallons it seems), and Flying J fuel stops ONLY being like 100's of miles apart, seriously, it can be hard to know exactly WHEN to stop and get fueled, and well, it's just NOT MY FAULT!!!!!!!
So, we are tooling along the highway, and all of a sudden we enter this construction zone, you know the type, concrete barriers on one side of you
, flashing cones on the other side
, no shoulder
, single lane
, FOR 6 MILES! All of a sudden, Larry exclaims, "Oh crap! We're losing power! I'm running out of fuel! Either we've got a stopped up fuel filter or WE'VE JUST RUN OUT OF DIESEL!" and with that last statement, his head swivels my way.
Obviously, we've got NO TIME to point fingers, do we now
. . our first concern is to get this beast and tow car off the side of the road, and personally, I think we've got to concentrate on that , rather than concerning ourselves with who could possibly be at fault for THIS situation
. I quickly spy a short little spot where it's obvious the construction trucks have been pulling off the side of the road and I quickly point to it and say, "Stop right there, NOW!" Larry obediently pulls over into the grass and quickly cuts the engine, which is still rumbling and coughing, and I hit the generator, which is still purring like a kitten. I'm hoping that THIS is a good sign, praying like heck that it's a stopped up fuel filter, and not that I've figured the genny usage wrong and we are truly out of fuel. I'm pretty much ALL for the fuel filter idea and prod him to swap those out and we'll just be on our way! Yep, stupid ole fuel filters. . they stop up ALL of the time don't they.
About this time, up drives the construction superintendent and he saunters over and asks, "So, having engine problems?
" Larry responds, "Well, we're either have a stopped up filter, (I quickly nodded my head), or we're out of fuel, (head swivels towards me again) but SHE figures the mileage and stuff. . . we're just getting ready to figure it out". The guy said, "Well, be REALLY careful along side the road here, as it's pretty dangerous!" He pulls his truck over farther behind our vehicles and leaves it there with the flashers running, just as yet another precaution.
Of course, the fuel filter wrench is on the driver's side of the coach, and there's simply no way that we dare creep down that side of the coach with all of those cars and semis whipping past. Me, being the helpful co-pilot that I am
, IMMEDIATELY volunteered that I could climb into the bay on the passenger side, and clamber across the various lawn chairs and paraphernalia and RETRIEVE THAT FUEL FILTER WRENCH! That's me. . . always willing to go the extra mile!
Uh huh. Just a helpful, willing, hard-working co-pilot, that's me!
In I go, and I'm sure that superintendent had a good laugh over seeing me dive headfirst into that bay
, legs hanging out behind me, and then gradually disappearing from sight as I shinnied my way all the way across and started digging through various boxes and cases until I located the errant filter wrench. Unfortunately, I located the wrench and when Larry removed the filter and saw it was pretty much empty, well, that proved, beyond a doubt, that, I had indeed FAILED IN MY DUTIES and had yes, run us completely out of fuel.
Now, perhaps he felt sorry for me by now, or perhaps he admired my "gung-ho attitude" when I dove into that compartment, (most likely he just wanted us out of his hair
), anyway, the superintendent immediately stated that he'd get his fuel truck over and get us enough fuel to get us on down the road. Sure enough, within 10 minutes, he had a tanker truck on site and was dumping fuel into our tank. I meekly approached him and told him that 5 gallons would be WAY more than we needed to get us to a station, because I was SURE a station was just down the road. He insisted on giving us 30 gallons of diesel, and flat out refused our numerous attempts to pay for the fuel. A few cranks on the starter and vroom, we were up and running.
Turns out the Flying J of our intended destination was only 15 miles down the road! 15 Miles!
TWO GALLONS OF FUEL AWAY!
THREE OR FOUR HOURS OF GENERATOR USE!
15 miles and NO ONE WOULD HAVE KNOWN!
I could have gotten away with it!
TWO LOUSY GALLONS OF DIESEL AND I WOULD HAVE BEEN OFF, SCOTT FREE!
No, in our world, it just doesn't work that way.
Turns out I had figured everything the night before, but neglected to extrapolate the NEXT 18 hrs of generator use, PLUS, the 8 gallons that, remember, sat in the bottom of the tank, unusable, and well, ahem, those darn TWO GALLONS OF FUEL we were short, they sure told a tale on me!
On the upside, we have GOT to be the luckiest people on the side of this planet, to run out at the perfect spot allowing our new hero to come to our rescue and really, from the time we pulled over to the time we were back rolling was only about 15 minutes or so. What a great guy!
on the other hand. . .well I'm going to lay low for a few days, ok?