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Old 07-14-2010, 07:33 AM   #1
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Location: Louisville, KY
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Dumbest thing I've done in a long time!

We returned home one week ago today from our longest
vacation yet. We traveled across parts of IN, IL, MO, KS
to Colorado. We circled around from Colorado to Utah to
Arizona and back to Colorado.
I told my wife we were going to see every park with "Canyon" in the name and we darned near did!
We were gone 33 days and traveled about 4700 miles.

On our return trip on July 4th we spent the night in the Walmart
Super center in Garden City KS.
We arrived in Garden City with the gas gauge below 1/4
and we were road weary after driving 480 miles from
the far side of Durango.
It was supper time so we walked across the highway to
an Applebees for supper. It was spitting rain with
some distant lightning as we trotted back to our trailer.
The neighborhood was just getting started with their
back yard fireworks displays when a thunder storm rolled
into town. It poured rain briefly and the wind blew hard.
Our trailer- which was still hitched- rocked like a boat.
We did not have our jacks down because we'd planned
to get an early start the next morning.

I laid in bed and wondered how strong a wind it would take
to roll our little 4000 LB trailer over. Fatigue finally put
me to sleep in spite of the fireworks, man made and otherwise.
We were awakened early just at first light
by another thunderstorm and more pounding rain.
After coffee and a brief clean up inside the rain let up outside
so I trotted over to Wally World for some dough nuts.
As soon as we'd had our sugar blast we fired up and
pulled out. We were heading NE on KS hwy 156.
The hwy ran in front of the WalMart so we simply turned
left out of the parking lot and were back crossing the Kansas
plains in just a minute or 2.
It was still raining and there was a medium cross wind
so I was concentrating on the road and watching for
water ponding in the tire tracks.
The highway is a pretty decent 2 lane with good pavement
and not many bumps. In spite of the rain and wind we
were booking along about 60.
This is Kansas! You could see the road disappear in the
far distance- many miles away. Few trees on the horizon,
no houses, no barns, not even a grain elevator did we see.
It's LONELY on a road like that. The weather made it
feel even lonelier. The clouds were leaden gray with
occasional lightning and rain showers.
We had no cell signal but that was to be expected.
We met 2 or 3 cars in a half hour.
None behind or in front of us.

Suddenly my truck chime dinged 4 times.
I looked at the dash to see what was up and to our horror
we both saw the LOW GAS light shining and the needle
My heart fell to the pit of my stomach. My mind was racing.
I quickly ruled out going back.
Not enough gas to get all the way back, no place to turn
around anyway. To make matters worse we didn't even
have a Kansas road map, just a "trip tick" of our route
I'd printed using Google maps. I had no idea how far it was to the
next town.
The next 20 miles were the longest and loneliest we've ever

We began scanning the horizon for a town--
ANY town. Mile after desolate, deserted mile nothing.
We watched the odometer tick off the miles and I was
purely guessing we'd get maybe 20 miles out of the 2 gallons
or so that I hoped were in the tank. Finally, after
20 long minutes we spotted a grain elevator on the horizon.
Slowly the trees and houses began to materialize.
A TOWN!! We're saved maybe-- we had no idea if it even
had a gas station. Just as we reached the first cross street
and the "reduce speed" sign the truck died suddenly.
I arm wrestled the steering wheel (dead engine, dead
power steering) and coasted us into a side street.
I got out in the drizzling rain and emptied my little 1 gallon
generator gas can into the tank.
With a prayer it was enough- I hit the key and it started
right up. As we were turning around a man from across
the street backed out and I flagged him down. He told
us "yes" there is a gas station up ahead! It was a block
off the highway but we found it and I was never so glad
to gas up as this time!! I filled the tank and my little
gas can and thanked the nice lady behind the counter.
She probably wondered about the strange man with the huge
grin on his face!

Wow- what a relief!!
I'm going to add "check gas tank" to my
"pulling out" check list!

We drove 544 miles that day to a great RV park called
Lazy Day's RV park in Montgomery City MO.
It was those 20 miles after the low gas warning that
were by far the longest of our entire trip!

Dan & Rita D
2017 Nissan Titan 5.6L King cab 4wd
1999 Suzuki Intruder Motorcycle
Blue Ox WD hitch

Camping days 2010-53, 2011-47, 2012-41,
2013-41, 2014-31, 2015-40, 2016-44, 2017-63, 2018-30
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:58 AM   #2
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Location: Forest Hill, Maryland
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You share a fear that I have - running out of gas. Or just as bad, pulling into a "tight" gas station. Last year I bought a GPS and thanks to my teenage son, showed me how to find gas stations (and everything else) along the route. It's not perfect but still awefully good. Thanks for sharing your story.

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Old 07-14-2010, 11:01 AM   #3
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that made my heart race reading to see if you made it...
Living in the Piney Woods of Texas.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:18 AM   #4
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Location: Upperco, Maryland
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Glad to hear you weren't stranded out on the highway. Years ago we rented a Winnebago Leshare and travelled to New York. It was a diesel. Fuel gauge read 1/4 tank so we figured we'd stop at the next exit. Well we didn't make it that far. Actually ran out about 1 mile from an exit so I walked up to the Gas Station at the end of the ramp. They didn't have Diesel, neither did the other station across from them. Thank goodness there was a Catapillar Dealership there. They couldn't sell me any fuel but he gave me 5 gallons and had one of their workers drive me back to the RV. Carrying 5 gallons for 1 mile on a 90 degree day would have been terrible. Well we got back and needed a funnel. Thank God for beer drinking litterbugs. Found one long neck Budweiser bottle, broke the bottom off and instant funnel. We were only on the shoulder of Rte 90 for about an hour but it felt like a week. I learned to never get near 1/4 tank no matter what I'm driving because the next back up may be me not being able to get off the road.

2007 Georgetown 370TS

Driver: Charlie
Navigator: Sheri
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:01 PM   #5
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Posts: 156
Great post... enjoyed reading it and do understand the fear you can have with low fuel!

My rule of thumb is, once we are below half a tank, If I see a great looking gas station for me to pull into... go right ahead!
Nights camped in 2010 = 21 nights

2008 Chevy CCab 5.3L 4WD Z71
2008 FR Surveyor 291
Champion Genset
Slpybear, Mrs Slpybear, Three Cubs
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:29 PM   #6
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wow what a story. when i read the topic i started thinking of the dumbest thing i have done so far. we don't go far enough from home to worry about gas but i have done the some stupid stuff. we went to a new campground to us and after we had stayed the weekend we hooked the tt up. well there was some problem with the hook up so i let the toung jack down to fix whatever problem i had. put the thing back down on the ball locked the hitch then did my idiot check walk around. everything looked fine so i jumped in and started to pull off. well i heard this grinding sound for about twenty feet. i looked at my wife said "that does not sound right" got out looked i had not let the toung jack all the way up and there was a 20 foot line in the dirt off the site pad..

long story short i make two trips around the camper now
Happy Camping


2009 Wildwood 26tbss
Nights Camped in 2010 38
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:28 PM   #7
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Great story, I get gas the 1/2 way point when traveling so I hope not to repeat that.
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:54 PM   #8
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Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
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almost had that happen in Minneapolis mn. got off the interstate but no gas stations around..
One state/province at a time!
Full Timing - Salem Villa Estate - 392FLFB - Purchased July 29th 2010
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:52 PM   #9
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Trying to find Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel at a gas station that will take a 12 foot high camper can be a real challenge. I always carry 2 5 gallon cans for use in an emergency. Needed to use them several times already.

Lou and Laura with Bella - German Short Hair Pointer
2008 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crewcab SB Allison Duramax
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:12 PM   #10
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Location: New Mexico
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I had the same thing happen to me. My first trip back East with my f-350 PS, NO spare fuel can (DUMMY) . Missed my turn off & low fuel light. We went 20 mile the light change to a alarm. Made another 32 mile & when we made it to the pump. It was sucking the filter dry. Now I have 60 gal. fuel tank in back & loving it.

2010 wildcat 31ts
05 Ford F350 SD PS
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