Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pit Stop

This is a funny story. Kind of. Well, it depends on who you are. As we drove to our rental house in the Auvergne, we became concerned that our friends might run out of gas. They rented a car in Paris and drove down to our house on Monday. That's about 150 miles.

At our gas stop in St.-Martin-Valmeroux.

Then we drove about five hours south on Tuesday to the Auvergne. They had not stopped for gas. When we stopped at a rest stop along the way, Ken and I asked our friends if they needed gas. No, no, no, was the answer. We were driving in separate cars; us in ours and them in theirs.

Our friend Evelyn at the pump.

Later, when we were about 90 kilometers from the rental house, we pulled off the road at a gas station. Our friends dutifully followed us. Then I got out in the rain and asked them if they needed gas, and if so, here we were at a supermarket gas station and the prices were very good.

A pile of tires at the gas station.

No, no, no, was the answer once again. They still had a quarter tank! I would have filled up, driving tiny mountain roads and all, but they were confident. So on we went. Of course, we all made it with no problem. But the next day, they were running on fumes and we had to find a gas station before we could do any sightseeing!

The view from the gas station.

So the first order of business on Wednesday morning was to find gas. Which we did. And it was an adventure -- I had time to take all these photos at the gas station. And they paid about a dollar a gallon more than what they would have paid at the supermarket the day before. But their tank was eventually filled and we were none the worse off. Phew!

11 comments:

  1. That is a cute story. I don't think I ever let mine get below a half tank... luckily my bladder only seems to last about the amount of time it takes my care to use a half tank, so I usually need to stop anyway :-)

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  2. I love all those little gas pumps on the side of the roads in Paris.

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  3. That's pretty humorous :) I hope it didn't take too much time out of your sightseeing to go in search of gas :)

    Judy

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  4. i never let mine get below a quarter tank but my kids drive till the warning light comes on....makes me nervous

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  5. There are two lessons here. The first is that you should never let your car get that low on gas because your scraping the crap off the bottom of the tank. And that is not good for your engine. The second is that they were rather inconsiderate of everyone else when they made you all wait while they did what they should have already done.

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  6. Running out of petrol in France is surely obligatory - the filling stations are miles and miles apart in some places. This is especially troubling on a motorcycle where you run out after about 130 miles.

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  8. Starman, it certainly didn't feel like inconsiderate behavior on the part of our friends. The two unknowns were: (1)a rental car, and you never know how the fuel gauge on an unfamiliar car reads — it can appear to sit on half-full for a long time and then suddenly drop precipitously; and (2) going to an unfamiliar area — none of us realized how remote the little village of St-Chamant would be. There was no filling station for quite a few miles. And the one there was charged a premium. In France, always fill your car up at the supermarket pumps, and do so as soon as you are down to half a tank.

    Anyway, the whole thing was a lark. When we did get to the filling station in St-Martin near Salers, the pump would not take our friends' bank card. The attendant had no card reader. It was a matter of scraping together enough cash to get enough fuel to get us to the closest hypermarket, where we could fuel up for a much lower price. A price difference of 0,18€/liter is about $1.00US/gallon more expensive for fuel, and that's significant. Of course, it was a one-time thing, which limited the "damage."

    Jean, you are so right about filling stations in sparsely populated areas in France. And then their limited business hours are also an issue, especially when you don't have a chipped bank card issued by a French bank.

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  9. justin, I'm a wimp when it comes to the gas tank. No feats of daring for me.

    evol, easily amused, eh? ;)

    judy, no time was wasted!

    melinda, that would make me nervous, too!

    starman, oh, we didn't feel inconvenienced at all. It's all part of the fun and adventure!

    jean, I thought bikes could go forever on a tank!

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  10. Our diesel Picasso could go a long way on one tank of gas, but we should have gone ahead and get gas when we stopped at the Intermarché. We still had two bars (1/8 of a tank) when we got gas at the small station.

    I read that this car will go 60 miles with no bars- I wouldn't want to try that in the Auvergne! At the time of that stop we were in a deep discussion of Enneagrams and wanting to get to the gite. Next time we'll buy gas when offered;-).

    I'm glad we had enough € for the gas we got. We really enjoyed that drive from your drought area to the lushness of green cow-filled pastures.

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  11. I thought we paid too much for gas. But you win! (We're at 1.07 a liter now)

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