A tortoise saves the day.

The miles read 238 on my odometer.  I was getting decent mileage despite the fast freeway miles of the morning.  I turned onto hwy 79 toward San Jacinto.  Only 12 miles until I get to the shop.  Easy.  I figured I could test when I hit reserve as research for the trip.  My mind wandered to preparing for last summer’s trip to AK, wondering if I really could have made the 250mi stint along the Dalton highway between Coldfoot and Prudhoe Bay where there are no gas stations.  I never made it out that far to actually try, but I always thought I could make it.

I pass a gas station and continue.  Less than a mile up the divided highway that runs through nothing but golden hills, I sputter.  I reach down with a gloved had and flip the switch to reserve and the bike coughs to life again. With a ½ gallon in the reserve and an average about 50mpg, I figured I had 25 miles left in the tank and all I needed was 11.

Well, the molecules decided to play in the air today, dancing in the heat, instead of resting at the bottom of the tank where they could be utilized.  Had the morning temperatures not already been in the 90’s, the molecules might have obeyed.  I turned left at the light, heading into more populated territory.  First gas station I see, I am pulling into, I remind myself. I sputtered again, a familiar feeling just 10 miles ago.  Fuck.  There is no reserve for the reserve switch. The bike coasts to a stop. The Odometer read 248. Fuck. I can see a gas station half a mile up the flat road, so I start to push the bike.

A dark green Jeep Wrangler pulls up beside me moments later. “Out of gas?” a man with tanned skin and straight black hair asks.


He gives a friendly smile, “where are you from and where are you headed?”

“Los Angeles and about 2 miles from here,” I reply.

“Well, I should be chivalrous and get you a gallon of gas.”

“That’s Ok,” I tell him, “It’s not too far.  I can push.”

“It’s not just because you are a girl, it’s really hot out.  Stay here, I’ll be back.”  And off the Jeep went to procure the precious liquid that will revive my moto.

I can’t believe I did this, I scold myself.  I was already running a little late to get to the shop by 10am, at this point, I will be surprised if I make it there by 11.  Why of all days did I decide to run this experiment now?

The man in the green Jeep returns with a container of gas and I smile and laugh (mostly at myself) and can’t thank him enough.

“It’s my good deed for the day,” he grins, “ and tell them the Native American came to the rescue.”  And so I am.  (So, thank you Duffy a.k.a. the Tortoise – how fitting to the occasion it is – for helping me out yesterday!)

He asked me what I was doing, so I disclosed my plans to journey south.  We speak briefly about travel and photography and then start setting out to be on our way.

“Well, I hope you find yourself.”  I thought it was an odd but insightful thing for him to say.  I guess I have it written all over that I am on the search for something, but even I have yet to know what that is.

We take pictures to mark this moment in time and say our goodbyes.  With a push of the start button, the engine roars back to life, I pull in the clutch, shift into first and carry on with the rest of the day.