Monday, June 24, 2013

The Great Gas Tank Adventure


There were twelve of us that day making the seventy-mile trip to visit Uncle Bob and Aunt Dorothy. They lived on a ranch in the back-of-beyond northeastern Wyoming. Part of the way was on paved highway, part on unpaved country roads. We traveled in two vehicles--Mother's RV and sister Kathleen's Blazer. The travelers were:


Sister Grace and her daughter Julie

Sister Kathleen, her husband John, and their children Diahann, David, and Heather

My family: Michelle, Jerry, Anne Marie, and Jeremy.

It was my first visit to Bob and Dorothy's "new" place. They had done a land swap as part of the sale of the old place to a coal company. The new place was very nice. The house and yard were tree-shaded and very attractive. We even toured the barn and corrals. But the highlight of the day (besides the visiting) was the horses.
Mother (Grandma Rose) riding with Julie, Kathleen, and Anne Marie watching.

Mother grew up as a country girl, living with her family on the homestead sixty miles from the nearest town. She loved horses, but had little opportunity to ride in her adult life. Her brother Bob kindly saddled two horses and those of us who wanted to took rides. But the special part was seeing our 68-year-old Mother having a great time riding.
Michelle and Rose ( the weird thing is that until I saw these pictures from Mother's collection I had
forgotten that I rode that day. I just remembered that Mother did.)
Kathleen's turn.
Jerry and Jeremy riding, with Anne Marie afoot. I think this is the only time I saw my husband and son horseback.
Julie, Grace, Dorothy, ?, Kathleen (you have to look closely to see she is there), Rose, Michelle, Jerry.
Can anyone identify "?" for me? I am totally blank on this other guest of Bob's and Dorothy's that day.

All good things must end and, as the day grew toward evening, it was time to head home. We piled into the two vehicles and started down the country road. We traveled several miles, with the RV following the Blazer. Jerry was driving the RV.

Suddenly. . .

WHOMP! The rear of the RV flew up in the air and came down with a thud! Jerry said, "I didn't even see a bump!" Although everyone (and everything) in the back of the RV was shaken up, no one was injured.

Then the RV stopped.

Jerry got out and walked to the back of the RV. A little way behind it there was something in the road. He walked back to it and discovered the RV's gas tank. The tank had somehow shaken loose and, in falling off the vehicle, had come down vertically, making a considerable hump for the back of the RV to go over and throwing the rear into the air.

Meanwhile, the crew in the Blazer was merrily traveling on down the road. There was nothing for those of us in the RV to do but to wait for them to notice we no longer followed and come back to find us--which they soon did. We crammed all twelve of us into the Blazer (no easy feat) and went back to Bob and Dorothy's. Arrangements were made for Bob to tow the RV back to his place until Mother could arrange to have it towed to town and repaired.

Packing into the Blazer for the trip back to town.
Then we all squeezed back into the Blazer for the seventy-mile trip to town. It was an exercise in endurance. We had kids packed between the tailgate and the back seat. We were squished in as tightly as possible. Some of us had lap-sitters. It was most uncomfortable, but we made it. Anne Marie reports that her legs were numb and hardly worked by the time we crawled out of the Blazer.

And thus ended the Great Gas Tank Adventure.

(P.S. If any of you who were along that day remember other details, I'd love to know. I picked Anne Marie's and Grace's brains for what they remembered, as well as my own recollections. Memory can be such a spotty thing it always helps to compare notes.)


  1. I am glad I missed that one! Would have been awesome to see Grandma on a horse though.

  2. I missed that trip but I did see Grandma on a horse at one of the little reunions out by the old place. It just seemed natural.