Wandering the World: Sequoia National Park
Remember the previous post about getting gas? And listening to Tom? Ugh. Fail.
So we were getting so late in the day that I was worried we wouldn't make it to Sequoia National Park in time to get the kids their Junior Ranger books. I was rushing. I told Tom not to worry about stopping for gas. Just get to Walmart so we can park the camper, pile in the same car and haul booty to the park.
Tom was exhausted, so he crashed in the passenger seat almost immediately. We had made a quick stop at a fruit stand for snacks and we were on our way! Oh, wait, gas... Nope. That thought never crossed my mind. The drive in was beautiful and the kids were good. We pulled up to the park gate at 4:55pm. We usually have until 5pm to get our booklets. I casually saw that the gas station was only 35 miles away. Whew! With a quarter of a tank, that would be fine.
We headed in. We drove for 60 minutes. We hauled up 4000 ft in elevation. We only traveled 16 miles. As we approached where I expected there to be a gas station, it became clear that we had mistaken. There was, in fact, NO gas station in the actual park. In order to get gas we had to keep hauling up through the park, or go back down.
What I had failed to notice was that the gas was on E and the gas light was on.
Tom asked what the plan was...
Ummm, coast down? Siphon gas from another car? Ask a ranger?
Tom went and talked with the ranger who said that the drive back down was our best bet. The gas station was a short distance out of the park (also downhill) and that one of the rangers was going to leave shortly and would watch for us stranded on the side of the road. Sadly, this meant that the kids got to see the very first stop which wasn't much, the museum was already closed, so no badges, and we didn't have enough gas to go anywhere else. We were bummed. I was feeling like a complete idiot.
On a side note, it was Zach's 12th birthday. We had explained to him that we were still going to celebrate his birthday, it was just going to be a day or two delayed since we had all the car issues we didn't expect. We typically do a breakfast and a dinner and we were planning to do a fun activity as a birthday gift.
Sadly, he was struggling with postponing and was badgering and being mean about it. Despite talks of compassion, understanding and patience, he couldn't let it go. I was frustrated all the way around. I wanted him to have a great birthday, but it wasn't going to happen like this. We told him that his behaivor lost him birthday stuff and that if we decided to grant it back, we would let him know. He wasn't happy about it. But all the fun was already lost. At least this way we had a chance to regain it in the next few weeks.
As a final note, we coasted downhill in neutral and BARELY made it to the gas station. We stopped and said a prayer of gratitude and bought a gas station dinner for the car AND us. We were just glad to not be stranded! Our truck was working again, the car had gas and we were going to be fine. We drove up the road 10 mins and pulled off for the night. I don't even recall where. We just slept off the stress of the day.