Passing Gas Stinks!
By Dee Gagnon
Prior to leaving for the 30th Ride-In™, my Honda Shadow Spirit 750 spent over a week in the shop. It was having problems with gasoline leakage, and I was leaving for a cross-country solo trip in two weeks. I had figured out that the two times it leaked gas on my parking place, I had just filled the tank. I was pretty sure it wasn’t the petcock, but I couldn’t determine where the leak was coming from. I took it to a shop recommended by a friend since my long time mechanic was no longer available at the Honda shop. While there, it also got a tune up and a new tire.
Merely days before my trip, riding home from the shop, I had hoped the problem was resolved. While at the shop, I learned that for some reason, after seven years of ownership, when I filled the tank and set the bike on the side stand, gas goes into the overflow and quite a bit leaked out. Not good for my wallet, nor the environment.
On day one, I left home in Grand Junction, Colorado. I spent the night at the charming Strasburg Inn and left in the morning with 64 miles since the last fill up thinking I had at least 50 more miles before requiring a fill up. However, I was on a secondary highway, US 35 in eastern Colorado, and these small towns are tiny and far apart. It was Sunday and everything was closed. I actually ran out of gas! The very first car I flagged down stopped and helped me. they were a couple on their last day of vacation with about a hundred miles to go. Two years ago on my way to Croozapalooza™, I was on this same stretch of road, worried about getting gas, and learned about a lone gas pump at a farmer’s co-op off the beaten path. I prayed it had a credit card reader. I told the couple and they drove me the 11 miles, having their doubts. But memory served me correctly. Did I have a gas container? No! I left it in my shed on purpose thinking how many times had I carted it around and never needed it? They rummaged around their SUV among their vacation stuff and produced a half full wine bottle. We transferred the wine to their water bottles and beneath a mounted camera and a sign stating it is unlawful to use anything other than an approved gas container, Kevin did his best and got some gas down the neck of the bottle. So much was spilling over the outside that we agreed I would have enough. They drove me back to my bike, took a photo with my camera of this criminal behavior as I poured gas into the tank from a wine bottle. My offer to give them some money was refused and I sent them on their merry way. They had spent more than an hour of their time to bless me.
I rode through the next town, Cope, Colorado, and returned to the co-op. when it was looming in sight, about a quarter mile away, the bike had gone as far as it could on that small amount. I ran out again. It was hot with all my gear on and I was off US 36. It was a long wait for another car to come along. I waited for a long time on the side of the road. One car passed me but after another long, sweaty spell, a pick-up truck was coming, and I stood in the middle of the road waving my arms. The old man pulled over and I explained that I had run out of gas and asked him to help me. He asked if I had a container. He looked in the truck bed and got an empty anti-freeze jug and declared, “this’ll do.” I hopped in the truck and we went to the co-op, and once again, I put gas in an unapproved container. He took me back to my bike and waited for me to ride off. Back at the co-op for a third time in the same hour, I filled the tank. What a relief!
I rode along and eventually found another gas station. There was nobody there, but the four pumps had card readers. Not one of them would approve my card. Off to the side of the road I walked to flag down another vehicle. The first one stopped. I explained that the pumps would not work and needed to know how far to the nearest gas station. The distance to go forward or back would be too far, and I was already on reserve. He wanted to help, so he pulled out his card and I pushed it away just then remembering I had tucked away my bank check card in case of emergency. The pump approved this card, so the driver, another good ol’ boy, left me with good luck wishes.
I filled the bike again and worried about my credit card, the only one I carried. I was now in Kansas and remembered a couple of years ago the same thing happened. I had crossed the state line and my card wouldn’t work. On this day, I got on my bike and got going in order to move on and to think and hopefully solve this problem. My next paycheck would be deposited into my account in four days, so as long as I was frugal, I would be okay. Since that was figured out, I could relax. The next time I gassed up, the credit card got rejected again. I went inside to the clerk who told me to give her my card, and go pump the gas. A man standing nearby told me, “She can fix that.” I did as I was told and went inside to retrieve my card, and did not have a problem with that card for the remainder of my 21 days on the road. It is still a mystery to me. A sort of miracle!
The next day, the bike continued to hit reserve at around 60 miles rather than its usual 125 miles or so.
Hope to see you in Colorado Springs!
See page 8 for the complete story…