I can’t speak for anyone else but sometimes I need a little adventure in my life.
Not like hanging off the rock face of a wall or cliff-diving. It can’t be anything illegal or even slightly dangerous, as I am a coward. But goofy little gambles fill the void sometimes, like when I was driving home from the farm in Missouri last time. It is about a two-hour drive along pretty much the same road every time.
I glanced at my gas gauge and saw I had a quarter of a tank of gas. That is about how much it takes to make the trip one-way. Normally I would fill up around my hometown in Missouri where gas was $2.16 a gallon, (rounding up one-tenth of a cent because I hate that .9 stuff.)
I knew gas would be higher in Illinois but once I started driving I didn’t want to stop. I decided it would be an interesting challenge to see if I could make it home without stopping for gas. I could do this because my wife wasn’t along.
I even tried to drive 65 mph on Interstate70 to save a little on gas mileage. I checked the little computer in the car that figures that stuff and the car was averaging about 26 miles per gallon. The little computer will tell you how many miles you can go on what is left in the tank if you hit the right button. But after the yellow low-fuel light comes on, as it did in St. Louis on Interstate 64, the computer bails out. It no longer gives you miles left, just a message to fill up soon.
I have never run out of gas in this car and I have had it for seven or eight years. But I know there is a little reserve after the light comes on, and there still was a little space between the needle and the empty line.
I started feeling cocky. I could beat this challenge. Then I remembered all the traffic lights on Illinois 15, how hard it was to make them on green and how stopping and starting hurts fuel economy.
I hit the Alorton truck plaza light on green and crept up the long hill. But the traffic light at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows turned red for eastbound traffic so a solitary westbound car could turn while six of us had to stop and wait. Speeding back up, I anxiously tooled along under the speed limit, making it through the light at the Oliver C. Joseph dealerships and, miraculously, the light at 11th Street. The light at the bottom of the off-ramp that leads to Illinois 159 got me on red. but I knew now that even if I had to walk for gas it would only be a couple of blocks. However, caution took over and before I got home, I pulled into a station and filled up.
It took 14.465 gallons at $2.43 per gallon (again rounding up.) My adventure cost me an extra 27 cents per gallon of gas. And my adventuring is done for a while. Coming soon, maybe: Wally drinks milk past the sell-by date.