December 7, 2018

Approach to Hueco Tanks State Park

Pouring rain, a sheriff, and a long drive west on Texas Highway 180 on my way to Hueco Tanks State Park provided me with an opportunty to practice acceptance of the idea that I can’t always be totally self-sufficient. I travelled hundreds of miles with no gas stations – none, and no towns near the highway. (Google Maps had suggested a different route, but I chose to take the road less travelled). I kept thinking that surely a town would appear, but the gas needle kept going down, down, down, and then it began pouring and the shoulder on the side of the road got narrower and narrower. This highway is two lanes – one running in each direction. My truck sensors began telling me that I was low on gas – in the danger area, and I still had another half hour to go to reach my destination. I was beginning to imagine having to pull off on the side of the road, when a roadside picnic area appeared. I gratefully pulled in. I was happy to be off the highway out of the way and I knew that I could use one of my roadside plans (Yup, I’m prepared, I have two roadside plans, one for my truck and one for my trailer and truck together).

I was surprised when I tried to place my call for assistance. Cell phone reception was very poor. I was able to reach one of the numbers, but the reception was so poor that I couldn’t complete the call. So, now I was stuck. But then I remembered an incident where one of my grandchildren played with a cell phone and pushed the emergency button. This incident stuck in my mind because he placed this call just before I arrived from a long trip cross country and the patrol cars pulled in almost directly behind me. Of course, I wondered what I had done those last few miles as I drove through town. I was sheepish about following my grandson's example in calling 911 for a non-emergency but the dispatcher was very reassuring that this was the type of emergency that they like to handle. They preferred to come rescue me before I became an emergency.

A very nice sheriff’s deputy arrived within a half hour to check on my status and reassure me that he was going to get gas in the next town. He had rescued someone the night before but hadn’t yet refilled his gas can. He also assured me that this happens to motorists all the time on that stretch of road. I waited another hour for him and once he had put the gas in the truck, I was back up to an eighth of a tank. He told me that I should just coast the 20 miles into El Paso. When I pulled into the first gas station my truck was again warning that I was low on gas. I am so grateful for assistance from kind people when I am in need and humbled that sometimes I can't do it all alone.