The random thoughts of a man constantly staving off hypothermia and wolves.
25 January 2008
The following is an extremely harrowing tale of Brandon's battle with the elements and his own lack of intelligence. Read at your own risk.
Last night was night two of three consecutive days of working at the Post-Register. I was on my way home from Idaho Falls at 11:00 p.m. The roads were kind of snowy, and I was looking forward to some sleep.
Suddenly, the engine started to sputter. Now, the only two times I've experienced this with my car was when the battery was dying and that one time I was thiiiiiiis close to running out of gas.
The way I usually know I need to fill up is when it's been 340 miles or so since I last bought any gas. That, and the "no gas" light comes on. However, at this time the trip meter read 900-something miles, because my brother Matt had used the car over the weekend, filled up the tank, and not reset the meter.
I assumed I could make it to IF and back without filling up, despite the fact that the aforementioned "no gas" light was on.
Anyway, turns out I had run plumb out of gas. Luckily (I guess) I was about half a mile from this Shell gas station that's in the middle of nowhere on highway 20, which is the road from Idaho Falls to Rexburg. The gas station six minutes from home.
After cursing my neglectful not-filling-the-tank-ness, I decided I could probably push the car to the station, fill it up, and get home before Mandi noticed I was late. Thankfully, the temperature was a balmy 15 degrees out and not -10, as Old Man Winter was wont to bless us with as of late. I had a nice poofy coat and some gloves, but no hat.
My Corolla isn't a big car, but it's heavy enough. And seeing as to how I haven't worked out regularly since... oh... ever? it was pretty rough going.
But, despite my astounding lack of athleticism, I made it to the Shell station.
As a side note, there I was, a lone guy pushing a car, hazard lights blinking in the dark, and not a soul stopped to help. Did the passing drivers think I was taking care of it just fine on my own? Were they scared I'd kill them?
Bottom line, I got to the gas station and filled my car's tank. Exhausted and freezing, I went to get into the Dash and drive home, when I discovered I'd locked the keys inside.
I stared at the door in disbelief for a few seconds, and tried it a few more times. No luck, all four doors were locked tight.
Somehow, despite my fit of stupidity, I'd managed to not leave my cell phone inside the car.
So I swallowed my pride and called Mandi, figuring it was either that or die. The convenience store at the Shell was closed, so there wasn't really anywhere to hide from the cold. Mandi said she'd call some people and see if they would drive her over so she could give me the other car key.
Unfortunately, she wasn't able to get the first eight people she called to answer the phone. To be fair, it was about 11:30 at the time and most humans have work or school on Fridays. Finally she got hold of a friend of hers and they rescued me around 12:10.
I think my core temperature had dropped a few degrees by that point... not a pleasant experience. A mild wind had been blowing during my entire experience, and my ears were near frozen off. I also had a headache. Bad times.
Mandi was great and brought me hot chocolate, which helped a lot.
So there you go, boys and girls. Don't ignore that "no gas" light or prepare for a similar experience.
I'm a graduate from BYU-Idaho with a degree in Communications with a print journalism emphasis. I currently work as a test engineer for a software company. I've been married for seven years and have three kids.