Sunday, 13 January 2013

Ran Out Of Fuel

Hey Everyone,

I have been inspired to write this short blog by @GTMothersSoul and @Seeourtney over on Twitter. They wanted to know about when I hitch hiked after running out of fuel. This occurred a few years ago, maybe 2009?

Throughout my life I have always gotten myself into situations and wondered how the heck did I get into this. Well this situation wasn’t because of random chance or dumb luck it was because of my own carelessness.

A few weeks before I ran out of fuel and had to hitch hike; the fuel gauge in my truck broke; it just stopped moving. I noticed this when I was able to drive from Edmonton to Red Deer without burning any fuel!

Old Pic Of My Truck. Not A Picture Of When This Happend.
Rather than take it in and get it fixed I tempted fate and drove around with only my Mindful Fisherman Intuition. Sure enough I was driving to Edmonton when I ran out of fuel. To make matters worse, all this went down on the darkest and coldest day in December! Well not quite Dec 25, but close enough for poetic license. 

The truck sputtered and the lights dimmed. I lost power steering and could feel everything around me surging and the truck slowing down. I managed to pull off the road and park safely on the shoulder. I turned my emergency lights on and tried to restart the engine.

At first I didn’t believe that I had ran out of fuel because I was able to restart the engine several times. It would run for a minute then stall again. So I popped the hood and peered under to see what I could see. Of course the hood light was also burned out so I wasn’t able to see anything.

I squinted and poked around with the dim light from my trusty iPhone. My fingers went numb in seconds. The wind chill must have been -75C! The fog froze coming out of my mouth! So I got back into the truck and called AMA.

Now AMA has awesome service and I highly recommend them! But they were really backed up and they said someone would be there in 2-3 hours. Keep in mind I was about 20 km south of Leduc on Hwy 2. This was too long of a wait for impatient me.

I decided to try to hitch hike! I bundled up as best I could and stood behind the truck. Thumb in the air! I waited and waited and waited.

I started to freeze after a few minutes and started to shiver and freeze more. I was not dressed well enough. I looked at my phone and when I turned it on it shut itself off. The cold of my pocket had sucked the last bit of life out of the battery.

Half of Alberta passed me by! Either they saw me and didn’t care or didn’t see me in time to stop.

Suddenly a vehicle slammed on its brakes and swerved right at me! I didn’t have time to react at all! I was just about struck by a passing car!

It was the scariest sound ever! Truly a LIFE-FLASH-BEFORE-EYES moment!

The car swerved and screeched as it whizzed past and then carried on without stopping. I stood motionless with my mouth hanging open. They just about hit me and didn’t even stop!

But if getting struck by an out of control car wasn’t going to kill me the freezing cold was! The situation was URGENT!

I had now been outside for no more than 10 minutes and was so cold and shivery that I decided to get back into the truck. I was seriously considering calling 911 because I was afraid of freezing to death.

Thankfully; just as I was climbing back into the truck a minivan pulled up in front of me. I walked over and they immediately invited me inside so I could warm up.

The driver was an old man and his wife was the passenger. I thanked them for saving my life! “Imagine that!” They said. “Freezing to death with so many people able to stop and save you!

So they drove me to a gas station but there weren’t any jerry cans! So they drove me to a few others but no luck. I said I would just call a taxi and go home and deal with this in the morning. So I thanked them profusely and waved good bye.

Then I checked my phone again. It had warmed up enough to turn back on. After calling a taxi I got a call from an unknown number. I answered.

“Is this Jonathan Wieler?”


“This is Constable _____ with the RCMP. Your vehicle was nearly in an accident. I am going to have the tow truck pull it farther ahead so it is more out of the way.”


“There are 5 cars in the ditch near your truck. I can see that you were safely pulled over so I am not going to ticket you. Clearly these other people weren’t driving according to the road conditions.  I just wanted to inform you.”

Well … La-Tee-Da, I thought.

Lessons for wisdom seekers and the mindful:

o   Don’t Tempt Fate!
o   Stop To Help People Who Are Broken Down!
o   Slow Down & Drive According To Road Conditions!
o   Prepare For Roadside Emergencies!
§  Candles could have saved my life!
§  Better winter clothes.
§  Road pylons.

Can you think of any other things that should be included in a Roadside Emergency Kit?