Last Saturday I lead a group of twenty people to hike
But what happened was that we forgot to fuel up during our routine stop
at the Flying J in
Because what happened next was that once the needle started moving
toward empty, it moved quickly. When we arrived at the trailhead in Pine
Springs, the gas gauge was in the red.. That was very bad news. We were now a
two-hour drive from
So Mark and I sent the other eighteen hikers up the trail while we went
to find gas. We drove north, slowly, coasting the downhills, and almost made it
all the way to White’s City, NM, the “gateway to
As Mark and I walked toward the station we debated whether it was active or abandoned. It looked clean, no weeds, no missing hoses; but there were no vehicles anywhere around it. When we got to the station it was locked and the lights were out. We hoped that maybe it was a credit-card-only unmanned station.
We walked down the street to the grocery store hoping to buy a gas can,
but the nice lady behind the counter said, “Not only do we not have any gas
cans, we don’t have any gas. We had a huge wind storm on Friday and it knocked
out the computers at the gas station. The only guy who can get them started
again is in
So we walked back down to the hotel to see if maybe there would be
someone inside who could help. The hotel was attached to an RV Park, and maybe
they would have some gas cans for emergencies. They didn’t. The nice man behind
the desk said he had “no gas and no gas can, and the only guy who could fix the
gas station was in
So we went back outside and found three National Park employees wearing
bright yellow vests. I guess they were preparing for the traffic rush (even
though it was only Saturday). One of them was a Park Ranger, and we told him
our sad story. He seemed to sympathize, but he had no solutions to offer. Mark
seemingly talked him into giving us a ride into
Only we quickly realized he was planning to give us a ride back to our
bus, not to
In the restaurant, we told our story to the young lady behind the counter, and she felt so sorry for us she called her boyfriend in Carlsbad to ask him if he would bring some gas if he wasn’t doing anything. He was apparently doing something so he said no.
I phoned the Eddy County Dispatcher and told her our story. She asked, “How did you run out of gas?”
I paused a long time, not sure of the best way to answer that question. I finally said, “Well, no one runs out of gas on purpose.”
She said, “I guess you’re right.” She took my name and number and said
a deputy would come to help us. But five minutes later she called and gave me
the phone number of a car dealership in
I called Phil Carrell Chevrolet, and they gave me the phone number of their tow truck driver. I phoned him, and he told me he would bring us some gas. He phoned me back about ten minutes later to tell me he was on his way with five gallons.
He arrived in a white pickup and poured his five gallons into the bus. We paid him what little cash we had with us. He said he was at a T-ball tournament when I called. His son was playing, and he came to help us between games. How ironic that the person who had the best reason for not helping us was the one who actually did.
So Mark and I drove the bus to
Maybe it seems a little odd to be telling this long story when the real heroes of the day were the ones who hiked the eight miles round trip to the top of Guadalupe Peak, but they’re going to have to write their own accounts. I can only tell my own story.
Like the story of God saving the Israelites from the Egyptian chariots
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32
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