I was going to title this post “Why you need to have gas stations on opposite sides of the main street” but then realized that it would require four stations by the time you’re done. And, if you have an interesting main street, it could be even more. But, it didn’t makes sense.
I was writing this post in my mind as I was scrambling Sunday afternoon. My wife and I had taken a trip to Port Stanley, one of our favourite places, and were enjoying going in and out of the little art shops wondering how things like what we saw were inspired and also how the price is determined.
Coming down the hill into town, I was aware that I was running low on gas so would need to fill up. The tank was uncharacteristically low (for me anyway), running under a quarter full. I saw the prices and I just knew that I could do better than 1.07.9 so didn’t stop. I was also aware of the dark clouds in the western sky. Could we finally be in for the desperately needed rain?
As we were walking in and out of stores, my watch vibrated with a Google alert that south-western Ontario was under a thunderstorm warning. Good. We’ll take water however it comes.
After our browsing, we headed out the back roads to get to Highway 3 and then head home. The 401 isn’t an enjoyable Sunday afternoon drive and there was construction around Chatham so this made sense.
We’re on our trip enjoying looking out on Lake Erie as we go. I’m keeping half an eye on the gas gauge when my watch vibrates again. Thunderstorm warning for Chatham-Kent. This time, the clouds are really dark and all of a sudden the rain just comes down incredibly hard. Good, it will get the bugs off the windshield.
As quickly as it starts, it ends and the sky clears up. Five minutes later, another vibration. Thunderstorm warning for Chatham / Erieau. Same deal with the rain. And, it’s over. We made the turn and headed into Blenheim. We’ve played baseball there many times so I know that there’s an Esso station near the high school. As I pulled in, I thought it was unusual that the electronic sign that would normally display the gas price was off. Come to think of it, the street lights were off and there didn’t appear to be any lights on in the store. Power out. Grrr.
Now, I look a the gas gauge and it’s about 1/8. Fortunately, there’s a Petro Canada station just up the street. As I pull up to the pumps (the price posted was 1.03.9), a young lady came out, one ear glued to her cell phone, to let me know that their power was out and the pumps were not working. Uh oh.
Well, at least there’s a Tim Horton’s so we went to grab a coffee but there was a huge line up waiting for the drive through. I’m not going to idle there and burn gas so pulled over and parked on the street to walk in and get some of the good stuff. While in line, I chatted with a town resident who said that the power was off on the south side of the town but on for the north side.
Back out and a quick loop around the block and we’ll be on our way. Except that there’s a one way street going the wrong way for us. Grrr.
So, eventually, I get back on Highway 3 and head out.
Now, this is where technology is either a blessing or a curse. The dash has a display showing the kilometres left until empty. 73 km. My wife, who is now aware of my anxiety, says, well that should get us to Leamington, right? Probably, but I know that there are a couple of stations in Wheatley.
From my years of watching auto racing, I go into fuel conservation mode. I turn off the air conditioning, roll up the windows, set the cruise control, cross my fingers and take it nice and easy.
In the back of my mind, I’m working on my Plan C, D, …
- Who do I know that lives on Talbot Trail that I could call?
- What are the kids doing and would they know how to get here?
- We have roadside insurance but would they be responsive on a Sunday afternoon?
- Is the Harley Davidson dealership open on Sunday?
- We’re passing a bunch of farms; I wonder if any of the farmers have a tank?
- There’s a kid cutting a lawn; I’ll give him $20 for what’s left in his tank.
- There’s no gas station anywhere. You’d really have to plan well if you lived here.
I was never so glad to see the sign for the turnoff to Campers’ Cove. I knew that I was close.
And there’s beautiful Wheatley. Hopefully, the storm missed them.
I know there’s two gas stations in town but I’m not taking chances. I pull into the first one and get filled up. A very pleasant young lady did the job. (Normally I hold out for a self-service station but desperate times…)
The best part? Gas was 1.03.9! Winners all around.