It happens to nearly everyone at some point in his or her life. That humiliating realization that you have run out of gas as you coast to the shoulder of the road. If you are lucky, it does not happen on a busy road, like I-80, but that is exactly where it happened to me.
It all started around Sidney, NE, where I stopped to fill my tank. Every once in a while, I come across a pump that does not like my capless gas tank and the pump keeps shutting off, long before the tank is full. This is likely what happened to me in Sidney, and I did not notice, probably because I was busy washing the front and rear windshields and cleaning out trash while the tank filled, or so I thought. The lack of a full tank might not have done me in, alone, however, but driving into a strong headwind, was the second blow against me.
I noticed the low fuel warning, just past Cheyenne, but by all accounts, I had enough gas to reach the gas station that my Jeep showed in Buford, Wyoming. I remembered this gas station, I had stopped there in 2013, and that it had a population of 1. I had even recently seen it featured in a story somewhere. But, to my dismay, as I pulled off of the interstate, cleared the underpass, and turned into the parking lot, this gas station was now boarded up.
“I think I might be able to make it to Laramie”, I half though and half hoped, but soon after returning to the I-80, I could sense the car running out of gas and coasted to the shoulder. Though less than ideal, I knew what the problem was and had 2 different roadside assistance plans, so I was confident that although this would cause a delay, and some humiliation, those would be the extent of my inconvenience.
After digging through the stack of cards that never get used in my wallet, I located the Good Sam Roadside Assistance card. I spent a long time on hold. I don’t remember exactly how long but the entire call length was over 23 minutes, per my call history. Here is how that call unfolded.
After the lengthy hold, the less than friendly customer service representative started by asking me routine questions. She kept pressing me on whether I felt safe or not. I did feel as safe as one could feel on the side of I-80 and that is essentially what I communicated to her. She seemed bent on trying to get me say that I felt unsafe. When she finally elicited some version of that from me, she put me on hold. After a lengthy hold, she returned and informed that she had contacted local law enforcement and than begin to end the contact. I interrupted her and asked if she was sending someone out with gas. She indicated that they were not and that essentially Good Sam was off of the hook after they called the police. I tried to continue the conversation and she hung up on me. You can imagine how thrilled I was at this point. I tried calling back and got the same woman who immediately hung up when she realized it was me. I had not been rude, impatient, or difficult with her. This was all her. Thankfully, I have roadside assistance through Nationwide Assistance, as well. I sent a request through the app, someone contacted me with 2 minutes, and I had gas within 39 minutes, with the driver contacting me regularly to keep me posted about his whereabouts. I also met a very nice Wyoming State Trooper in the time I was waiting for the Nationwide assistance.
I have had three instances where I called Good Sam. The first one was when I was a new owner and had a little difficulty with my ground wire and lights. The experience was similar: they were useless. I gave them another chance and when I needed a flat tire changed, my experience was decent. This last experience was all I needed to know that I will not be renewing my roadside assistance.
But, like I mentioned, this was a small bump, on an otherwise great trip and I have learned that if I expect a couple of things to go wrong, it is not very disappointing when they happen. Rocky and I pressed on and arrive at the KOA in Rawlins, WY, just as the sun set over the Red Desert.
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