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space.gif (52 bytes) No Gas I

April 20, 1999

We had booked a snorkeling trip in Exmouth, about 10 hours away, for the following day, so, knowing we had a long day of driving ahead of us, we got up early, drank some coffee, and hit the road in our van that we had named Pavlova. We had three quarters a tank of gas, and, before returning to REM stages of sleep, Rochelle assured us that there were three or four places to stop along the way to refuel, so filling up in the Monkey Mia caravan park was not necessary. We popped in a tape of live Pink Floyd and hit the road. As the final notes of Learning to Fly range out we notice a sign that said 78 km to next petrol. "No Problem!" even for our petrol hungry beast. As we were cruising along, The Red Hot Chili Peppers blaring, Mike and Jeff singing "One big Mob, aw yeah, aw yeah!!!" Jeff reached over, turned down the volume, and broke the groove with the fateful words, "Dude, we're gonna run our of gas?!" Rochelle woke and asked about two or three places we should have passed. Angrily, we declared, "NO, there has been no service...anywhere!!!" Luckily (we thought), a police car was coming up. We flagged him down and inquired the whereabouts of the nearest gas station. He told us in his heavy Australian tongue that the nearest one was 15 kilometers back on the side of the road and sped away. We turned around and sheepishly began to backtrack our past 15 kilometers. We came to a dirt road leading nowhere and realized after about ten minutes that this could not be the way to the gas station. This proved to be our crucial error. Back on the main highway 15 minutes later we pulled over into a rocky embankment and our camper died! Visions of us withering up and blowing away across the vast nothingness whirled through our heads. We thought we noticed vultures coming eerily close. We flagged down a passing family car and begged them to drive us back to the nearest station.

Mike climbed into the packed station wagon with Mum, Dad, and the two boys in the car seats and was driven 10 kilometers back to a station that was very blatantly located at the T in the road we had driven up to, and passed as we sang "Music is my Aeroplane...". He returned with a fifty-dollar gas can holding Pavlova's precious life-blood. Rochelle informed us that she probably wouldn't sleep any more, fearing our idiocy, and promptly conked out. We popped in The Wallflowers cassette and headed off for Exmouth only adding an extra hour and a half to our already ten hour day.