I was twenty one. It was one of my best-friend’s birthdays. Being a couple years older than me, she wanted to go away to Glenwood Springs, Colorado for the weekend and relax. Glenwood is a beautiful area a few hours outside of Denver. It has natural hot springs, a cute little town and spas. Three of us girls decided to make the trek with her.
We stopped for gas about half way. As we pumped the gas and stocked up on munchies, we talked about how much fun it would be for the four of us to drive Vegas sometime. My friend Kayla joked, “Let’s do it now. Let’s just keep driving to Vegas. Screw Glenwood.”
Las Vegas is about 12-13 hours from Denver. I couldn’t help myself; spontaneity had always been my thing. I looked at my friends seriously and questioned, “Why not? We can take turns driving and be there tonight-Just in time to go out.”
To be honest, we all knew I wouldn’t be driving. I’m more of the entertainment. Miraculously, everyone was on board.
About Six hours later we found ourselves somewhere in Utah. Knowing there was a huge distance with no gas stations, we pulled over at the last one to fill up. It was out of gas. We were on empty. How a gas station runs out of gas is beyond me, but it was.
The gas station attendants seemed utterly uninterested in our predicament. The man spoke with a thick country drawl and I picture him sticking his tongue through the gap in his teeth, “There’s ‘nother gas station about fifteen miles from ere.”
“But, we are on empty. We would be lucky to make it five miles. What should we do?” I begged with pleading eyes, hoping he would figure out some way to help us.
“Don’t know what to tell ya little missy. We’re out of gas and it seems you are too.” He spit as he spoke and I felt myself growing more frustrated. Weren’t people in small towns usually more accommodating?
He smiled dumbly at me as I looked to the other workers, hoping someone would take the slightest interest in our plight. No dice.
I sulked back to my friends and had to deliver the bad news, “He says there’s a gas station about fifteen miles that way,” I pointed to the road heading the opposite way, “I’m not sure this SUV will make it half way. But it doesn’t seem we have other options.”
“Whose idea was it to drive to Vegas on a whim anyhow?” Tara spoke accusingly.
We all piled back in the car and took that baby about as far as it would go. Not far. About seven miles later down some country road, in the middle of nowhere, it stopped. We all sat for a moment in silence. I looked around. No cars. No houses. We were just going to have to wait for someone to hopefully come through this deserted area. All four of us exited the car, figuring if someone did drive by they may be inclined to help four stranded young girls. Also, safety in numbers and all of that.
About forty minutes later a big pickup truck, towing some sort of huge animals, came into view. It pulled over in front of our car. Thank goodness. We watched as three men excited the front cab of the truck, an older man and two younger ones. All three were missing teeth and spoke in VERY thick country accents, almost unrecognizable as English.
The older man turns to us and said, “Ya’ll run outta gas?”
I smiled gratefully at him, “Yes, thank you for stopping. We were trying to get gas from the station up this road but it was out. Do you happen to have any gas in a can or anything? We can give you cash.”
“Oh no. Pretty young thangs with no gas. I don’t have a can. Come on, we’ll take you to grandma’s house.”
I don’t know about you, but I have seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I know that ‘grandma’s house’ is a terrible place that I never wanted to visit. But, we were stranded with no one for miles. Not really much of a choice.
The two younger men, we discovered were the older man’s sons, jumped into the back of the pick-up and the four of us squished in next to Pa. I sat closest to him, our bodies practically smashed together. I was nervous. I sat stoically, preparing myself to be skinned alive with my three best friends. They seemed less worried as they giggled endlessly next to me. Kayla was trying so hard not to laugh that her entire body was somehow convulsing. I assumed the convulsions were due to nerves and the rediculousness of the situation.
I thought for a moment that perhaps I was being a little melodramatic. Pa’ looks down at me and asked, “Where ya’ll from?”
Punishing myself for being so judgmental and attempting my best to ignore my giggling friends I spoke, “Colorado”.
Pa’ looked at all of us, “Ya’ll are from Colorado? I killed a boy from Colorado once.”
The giggly girls only worsened. I knew at this point it was due to the fact that they too realized that we would soon be strung up for torture. I tried to picture one of Pa’s sons wearing my face
What do you say to something like that? I kept my eyes focused on the street moving in front of me. After a long pause I finally answered, “Yup, we are from Colorado. How did you kill him?” My friends looked at me like I had gone temporarily insane.
“I was drivin’ down the road from our house and I smashed him with my truck. He was on a dirt bike. Never saw him comin’.” Pa’ spoke nonchalantly as though it were no big deal.
Thankful it seemed to be an accident I spoke, “That’s sad. I’m sorry.”
At this point I was in shock from this whole experience and ready to kill my friends who would not stop snickering. We came to a stop.
“There’s Grandma,” Pa pointed up at a creepy, old, barn type house, “Ya’ll wanna meet ‘er?”
I did not. But also did not want to be rude, “Umm…Thank you, but, we really need to be going soon. We are really behind schedule and do not want to be stuck driving too late at night.” I smiled in hopes it would satisfy his “hospitality”.
“Suit yourself, be back in a few. I think she got sum gas up dere.” He walked into the house followed by his sons.
I turned to my friends, “what the hell is going on? He killed a boy from Colorado. We are at Grandma’s house and you three can’t stop laughing. Shut up, before he gets mad and decides to chop us all up into pieces. Our families don’t even know where we are. We didn’t even tell them we were driving to Vegas. They think we are in Glenwood, remember?”
They attempted to stifle their twittering as the men came back down to the truck. Grandma poked her head out of her front door and waved. The four of us waved back.
Pa spoke as he climbed back up into the truck shaking a gas can, “There’s not alotta a gas in here, but it should get you to the next station. We’ll take ya back to the car n make sure ya’ll get to the station.”
“Thank you so much, for everything. We would have been stranded here all night without you.” I spoke genuinely. I felt bad for my preconceived judgments and for my immortal fear of being skinned alive.
They took us back to our car and followed us to the gas station. Nice guys, really. Shame on us, but, perhaps Pa should not have opened the conversation with how he had killed someone.
After a twelve hour drive turned into nearly fifteen, we made it to Vegas. We stayed twelve hours and then made the trek home. Never again. I will say…we had a blast.
Have you ever been stranded? Any scary road trip stories? I can’t be alone!