My Running Out of Gas Story

I think everyone has a running out of gas story. Mine was during our honeymoon touring New Zealand by camper van (where else do you go when you get married in January?).

After staying the night in Nelson, we left the next morning with a 1/4 tank of gas, thinking we’d just fill up on the way. Somewhere along the way, we had forgotten we were on the mostly rural South Island (duh!) and we realized we might not make it to a gas station ahead, yet we had clearly used up too much gas to turn back to Nelson. We had little choice except to forge ahead. At 10:30 AM the camper van puttered to a halt on an uphill only 14 miles from Murchison.

While my wife got out her lawn chair and a book and perched herself at a scenic point on the side of the road, I unpacked my mountain bike out of a box in the ski closet (the reason I brought the bike is a story in itself for another time) and started ahead toward Murchison, which looked like a big enough dot on the map to have a gas station.

I didn’t have to ride too far uphill before the road starting going downhill all the way to Murchison! If we only had enough gas to drive over the hump and coast in neutral all the way down! After a 45 minute ride, I bought the last gas can in town, filled it with about a gallon of gas, strapped the can to the rear rack, and rode back (mostly uphill!) to the camper van.

I was unable to tip the gas can high enough to get more than 2/3 of a gallon into the camper. We were on the road again at 2:30 PM, and I was wondering if we were going to run out of gas again before making it to the town, since the advertised mileage for the camper was 17 miles/gallon. Luckily, we made it to town without running out of gas again!