Here's an amusing and funny (in hind sight) little story for you!
The year was 2001, it was January and Dave C., my little Dominic (only 2 at the time), and I were heading up for a winter escape to Yosemite National Park and to Lake Tahoe (this would be our first time to Tahoe and become the first of our annual and sometimes biannual visits since then).
I had rented a car, which is something I normally do for road trips. Filled the car with all of our luggage and tons of vegan food (which at the time would be pretty hard to come by up in the parts we were about to be traveling into). Then off we went!
I really love road trips and thoroughly enjoyed the 4 plus hour ride up to Yosemite National Park. Upon arrival, the three of us were absolutely taken by the beautiful snowy winter atmosphere which was made even more magical by having giant redwoods as the backdrop.
I was simply awestruck!
My sweet little guy was too small of a tyke for some of the treks into the waist deep snow; so one of our favorite memories to date from this trip was not only trekking through this deep stuff, but also having to carry the little kiddo so that he wouldn't be buried underneath all of the powder!
And although Yosemite was (and still is) one of my favorite National Parks, I must say that I was even more curious and excited about visiting Lake Tahoe; since this was brand new territory for me and I had never been.
I was doing all of the driving (as usual), and decided to take the scenic route.
It was filled with beautiful landscape and several country winding roads.
Very lovely and ever so enjoyable.
Following the directions we began to head up a mountain range. And then driving for a good hour or more into the depths of the mountain, I noticed a sign
"Road Closed Ahead for Winter"!
I didn't like what I was reading there...I was gonna just keep driving and see what this is all about.
So in about 300 feet the road completely disappeared and there was nothing but a sheet of snow and a ton of snow mobilers! No way! You've got to be kidding me?!?!
Can someone please tell me why there was no sign at the bottom of the mountain, saving me from this long drive up here for nothing???
Well so it goes, we take the road back down and reroute. A little frustrating, but no harm done. We are just going to arrive a bit later than planned and hopefully still find a restaurant that will be open for dinner.
As I was driving up this new road I noticed that the fuel was low. We then passed a gas station where I felt the prices were too HIGH, so I continued to drive in hopes of a cheaper station!
Keep in mind that we are talking about 2001, the gas prices were still under $2 per gallon and nowhere near what they are these days - the fact that this station was probably charging a whole dollar over that was just ridiculous and I just wasn't going for it!!
So as I continued driving for about another 20-30 minutes, the fuel light came on, there are no other gas stations in sight and the daylight was now gone.
I started to panic just a little...
And then as luck would have it I spot a sign for a resort that is advertising gasoline! YES!
I made the turn following the directions to this "resort".
The new road twists and turns as I'm driving down into a valley. We spot abandoned cars buried in the snow, we pass empty cabins and cottages. This was definitely on the side of spooky and EERIE! But we needed the gas, or we'd definitely gonna run out!
We arrived at a small market with one old fashioned gas pump. The market appeared closed, but hope was not lost and I still ran out of the car slipping and sliding around on the icy ground, hurried I tried the door. And it was locked! NOOOOOO!
OMG, what am I going to do..I was beginning to hyperventilate.
My baby is in the car, I have no phone, there is no sign of life down in this awful valley "resort".
I returned to the car and explained the terrible and dire situation to Dave.
"We have to steal the gas!" I'm no thief and have never stolen a thing in my life. But this was a situation where I felt I had no choice. Especially being in a car that I was unfamiliar with and didn't know what type of fuel reserve it had. I tell Dave to just go ahead and do it. It didn't seem that we had any other option. He got out of the car, did his own share of slipping and sliding getting to the pump in what turned out to be a futile attempt. The pump was LOCKED!
Oh God no, please no!
This only thing that is keeping me from completely losing it was that fact that I traveled with so much food. At least we wouldn't starve for a while.
I jumped back into the drivers seat and started back up the awful road that took us here, probably driving a bit faster than I should've at this point.
We got to the crossroads and I asked Dave for his opinion (which is NOT something that I typically ever did). Should we test our luck going all the way back to the "expensive" station or continue into the unknown darkness?
He advised that we go back. I couldn't think, therefore I couldn't argue and I could only drive.
I asked him to please talk to me (get my mind off of this mess), and he starts to discuss the gas! WTH?!
Please I need to think about something else.
After a long 25ish minutes back to the station I was finally relieved! I walked to the market/cashier and realized that they've closed since we had drove past the the first time!
I know that this car had to be running on fumes by now and that we were going to be stranded.
(I'm telling you today - I lost it on that day!)
I run from door to door, knocking and banging, calling out for help! Like I was some crazy girl...
Well, someone had actually opened their door for me.
I quickly told this woman my crappy circumstances and this local goes on to tell me that 'Billy Joe' plays poker on Sunday evenings, so he wouldn't be around.
Next thing I know the local is surprised and pointing off in the direction near the woods, telling me that person is 'Billy Joe'!!
I thanked her as I ran up to 'Billy Joe' and I begged and pleaded that he let us pump some gas. He was very cordial, understanding, and helpful. He explained that he couldn't accept any cash after hours, but that he could turn the pump on if I paid for the fuel with a credit card. WONDERFUL!!! I LOVE YOU BILLY JOE!
I was so thankful and even to this day I consider him to have saved our night!
The rest of the trip was wonderful, although there really wasn't nearly as much snow up there, as there had been in Yosemite or on our crazy drive to get there. A big storm had arrived just as we were ending our trip and starting the 10 hour drive back to Anaheim Hills.
We had an amazing time, and vowed to return. It has become our tradition to go up at least once every winter since that trip!
Think I learned my lesson that day to have plenty of gas and not to be so darn cheap!