I pulled into Burns, Oregon, with two things on my agenda: gas and groceries.
Oh, look, a Safeway.
By the time I got groceries and other supplies, I'd forgotten about gas—until I was about thirty miles east of Burns and I happened to notice I had only a quarter tank. But my gauge needle moves faster the less fuel I have. When it says I have a quarter tank I could have anywhere between eight gallons and maybe less than four. Who knows? But Juntura, where I was going to camp, was about 20 miles ahead. I could get gas there.
No, I couldn't. Ummmmm, okay. What now?
I checked Gas Buddy. It said the closest gas was 55 miles away. I doubted I could make it that far, especially if there were any uphill grades along the way. I checked Google Maps. They were no better, either.
I went to the campground. An afternoon and night of worrying about it might produce an answer. After all, the folks around here get their gas somewhere.
Maybe I'd need to beg gas from strangers. What an awful thought for an introvert.
There's a cafe in Juntura, so I drove/coasted there from the campground this morning. I asked the hostess, "Where do folks around here get gas?"
"They try to arrive with a full tank."
"Whether you came from the east or west, you passed a station about 30 miles back." Oh great, a lecture. And I didn't remember seeing a station after leaving Burns.
"Well, I'm headed east."
"In that case, there's gas in Harper, right by the highway." I figured I had more than the two gallons necessary to get there. At least I should.
As I drove, I watched the gas gauge as much as the road. The road east was mostly downhill or flat, so that was encouraging.
The needle hadn't moved much by the time I reached Harper. But where was the promised gas station? I was expecting, you know, a big petroleum company sign and the usual trappings.
No. I almost drove past it. A single pump in front of what looked like a house. I slammed on the breaks and had to make a three-point U-turn in order to get the pump on the correct side of the Rolling Steel Tent.
So, all gassed up and anxiety-free, I headed off for a quick jump into Idaho, where I'd catch I-84 north, back into Oregon. The plan now is to turn east at Baker in order to get to Hells Canyon, which is inconveniently located on the way to nowhere. I'll be sure to gas up again first.