So we rumbled along Hwy 6 to and through Guelph with lots of Paper Boys & Moxy Fruvous playing on the cassette deck, yes cassette, back before it was a trendy hipster bastion of Lo Fi coolness. Cassettes, when they where just the most convenient way to listen to music.
We rumbled along quite content, until we got to Fergus and I realized, "oh, I need Gas".
When you are diving a car like this you don't 'fill up'. A full tank is a lot of weight and weight is not your friend. Of course we had, home made wine & paint for the car & 48 cassettes to ensure the proper sound track, we even had some clothes and probably a couple sleeping bags, but a full tank of gas was considered unnecessary weight.
In my defense (if one is needed) I grew up in a tourist town where they're was a gas station on every other corner. It never occurred to me that gas & gas stations would become scarce at some point.
Ok that was a long aside & now back to the story. I pulled into the 1st corner store/Gas station I saw. They where closed. No worries we'll just go to the next one, no wait, we're in Fergus. It only takes 3 minutes to drive through. That's when I realized we might want to think about this.
Kevin grabbed the video camera & wondered off with Jay while Christian & I weighed my options. I suspect now that Jay had already come up the only viable option, but was waiting for us to catch up to him.
Then fortune smiled upon us in the form of a local walking down the street. Local knowledge could be the key to whole situation, he may know where we can get gas.
All in all he didn't get too freaked out when 4 guys rushed at him from the dark recesses of a darkened parking lot. After a second or two of concern he answered our questions, but we didn't like the answers.
The way wasn't forward. As best as could be determined our only chance was to go back to Guelph and an all night gas station. After a few minutes of consideration and hoping for inspiration & a bit of denial, we resigned our selves to retracing our path back to Guelph.
This was the critical point in the journey. Subsequently there has been much discussion and theorizing about this. What if we didn't have to go back? would we have made it to Roxy's ? would we have then made it all the way to Summerfolk the next day? If we made it there could we have made it home ?
NO, probably not, but maybe. There will always be a question "Could we have made it?"
Either way it was almost certainly more fun the way it unfolded.
We fired up Summerfoot and hit Hwy 6 back to Guelph. Once we got to Guelph proper we stopped at a "Coffee Time" doughnut shop.
"Where can we get gas?"
It seems like a simple question and in 2017 it is a simple question. Guelph is a well developed urban area with all manner of goods and services, it even has a late night transit system. However, in 1998 things where little more ... rural, at least on the outskirts of town.
I bravely and/or foolishly walked right in and asked the young woman behind the counter "Where's the closet gas station" she shrugged, pointed at the only two guys in the place and wandered into the back room.
In my memory there was a long discussion about where to get gas between two locals in the Coffree Time. Each contributed to a long list of gas stations in the area, followed by for and against arguments on weather they would be open this late. Once the list was narrowed to places likely to be open at this hour, there was yet another round of debate to decide which was closest. At which point I asked which was sure to be open.
This seemed to be the only thing they could agree on. 7-11 was the only one sure to be open. At this point I really didn't want to listen to a protracted discussion about directions. But, unless I wanted to start the process all over again with someone else, and there was no one else around, I had little choice.
So, I listened and was surprised by how straight forward the directions where.Straight forward, but a little idiosyncratic.
As you can see, when I got back to the rest of the crew I was a bit frustrated with the whole process
After a few tries and some tense moments Summerfoot roared to life. A coughing and wheezing sort of life, but life. We rolled and rumbled down the road toward gas & 7-11.
Once we filled the beast we went inside to pay & Jay, least out going, most in-offensive member of the group managed to incur the wrath of the cashier over the correct micro wave procedures for a burrito...
"But that is another story." (as they used to say on Hammy Hamster AKA Tales of the Riverbank)