Tank on EmptyTank on Empty

Death Valley

July 5, 2007 about Nissan Quest

Yes, I voted 80 miles for our now-thankfully-finally-totaled 1995 Nissan Quest. Even though at an early (car) age I totally ran it out of gas at home in Seattle, I did not learn enough to avoid nearly doing it again, literally in Death Valley California, a year later. I have a lifetime background of knowing that the boutique gas stations inside National Park boundaries charge far higher gas prices than the surrounding populated areas. What I forgot was, Death Valley is below sea level but exiting the park requires a mountain pass climb of 4,000 or 5,000 feet. But I knew from my map-gazing hobby that the no doubt picturesque town of Scotty's Junction awaited me where I would rejoin the main Vegas-Reno highway, US95. After I'd climbed 20 or 30 miles of mountain grades and entered the high Nevada Great Basin valley, I began to look for Scotty's Junction to appear. Ah ha... there's a semi-truck in the far distance, travelling from left to right in my view... that must be US95 five or ten miles ahead. Closer and closer. Where is Scotty's Junction? Umm, I see a stop sign ahead, a T-junction. No buildings at all, just sagebrush. Trouble. Heart pounds a bit, sweat a bit colder. What's that 1/2 mile down the road towards Vegas? A 1950's travel trailer and a semi-truck trailer parked in a clearing with a spray-painted plywood "Art Gallery" sign. Maybe there is a person there! I pull in, swallow my pride, and ask the guy on duty, which way should I go to find a station, north or south? I realize I must possibly add a 20 or 40 mile backtrack to my trip, to find gas by going the wrong direction if need be. His answer, "well, sorry, it's 40 miles in either direction." I doubt very much whether I can go 20 or even 10 more. Then he says, apologetically, "umm, I can sell you emergency gas, but I'll have to charge you $12.50 and you'll have to take 5 gallons". Sheesh, that's wonderful, how did I get this lucky (it was 1996, so $2.50/gal was kind of high, but still, hardly robbery). "Come on over to the trailer, I'll walk and meet you there". He unlocked a padlock on the semi-trailer. Inside was a steel 55 gal drum, a red jerry can, and an old garden hose. He stuck the hose in the drum, sucked out air to make a siphon, and filled the jerry can. Thus the 5 gallon rule. I paid my $12.50, poured the jerry can into the Nissan, and made Tonapah safely 30 minutes later. I've never known how to relay thanks to this amazing business establishment. I don't think there is much chance it's still there, but if you ever are in Scotty's Junction, NV at a roadside stand, ask them if they were there in April 1996. Relay the thanks of a stupid guy in a blue Nissan Quest who would have a much more rugged tale to tell if they hadn't been there.

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Story replies

April 21, 2008 by The smart guy

HaHa.... Nice tale/story. As I recall-you were traveling upward? Hills cannot be beat upward, but they can downward.... Sir/Mam, if you want anyone to read this more-use more paragraphs...you lost me a few times.

June 3, 2008 by Hurricane

You DO realize he did that often dont you?

July 1, 2008 by jlg

Excellent Story I've run out of gas in an inner city, I'd much rather meet wilderness rattlers than the 2-Legged kind

July 16, 2008 by Tumbleweed

Not sure if it's still operating but there was gas at Scotty's Castle back down the hill. I used to work at Death Valley and a friend just told me (7/15/08) that Furnace Creek (Death Valley) is charging $5.59.

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