Last summer, I drove my Toyota Corolla from New Jersey to California by myself. One of my major concerns about this trip was running into car troubles while I was on the road because I don’t know anything about cars, especially fixing them. I was worried about getting a flat tire or an accident that will prevent me from continuing on my journey to the other side of the country. I would have no one to ask for help, not even the roadside services of Triple A.
Fortunately, I successfully completed my road trip to San Francisco without encountering any car problems. However, I did experience an inconvenient mishap when I was driving from San Fran to my cousin’s house in Long Beach.
I was driving down on a highway just outside a town called Solvang. It looked like I was in the middle of nowhere after driving for a while and not seeing much civilization. I actually started getting worried because I was really low on gas and I hadn’t seen any signs for a gas station. Thankfully, I eventually found one. I pulled in to the gas station and looked at the sign with the fuel prices. I always get regular gas since it’s the cheapest option. But for some reason, this was not the case at this particular gas station. I noticed that their diesel gas was cheaper than the regular, so I proceeded to fill my tank with diesel. At the time, I thought diesel was a premium eco-friendly fuel, which explains why it’s usually more expensive. Boy, was I wrong.
My car stopped running after driving it only a mile from the station. I was able to steer to the side of the highway before the engine completely shut off. I kept trying to restart my car, but it wasn’t cooperating. I started to panic. I sat there for a while trying to clear my head and come up with a solution. I called my friend back in Jersey who is a car mechanic. I told him my dilemma and he asked me if I did anything differently. I said no, all I did was get gas…diesel gas. He replied, “OMG…no Vince. No.”
So apparently my car does not have the appropriate tank for diesel gas. As in my car can only run on regular fuel. I had no idea and I felt so stupid and embarrassed. My friend told me that the only thing I can do now is to get my car towed to an auto shop and have them drain out the diesel gas from the tank. It was a simple solution except the few car shops in the area were already about to close for the day. I had no choice but to leave my car at a shop overnight and wait til the next day for them to fix it. I was so annoyed and angry at myself.
I sat in my dead car for more than an hour waiting for the tow truck. A cop came to check on me once and asked me if everything was okay. I told him yes, but in my head i was screaming “NO!” I was mad at the fact that as a result of trying to save money by choosing the cheaper gas option, I ended up spending way more than I wanted. I had to pay for the tow truck, the auto shop procedure, and the motel nearby that I stayed in for the night.
The next morning, I checked out of my room and walked over to the auto shop. When I got there, they were working on my car and I was told that I still had to wait about an hour. I sat there watching them revive my car and praying that I don’t get anymore bad news. After numerous jumps, my car finally started to run. I literally teared up.
This was the biggest travel mishap I’ve experienced so far, but it definitely could have been so much worse. I could’ve been in a car accident and get severely injured, but I didn’t. I was able to drive across the country safely on my own, and for that I was truly grateful. I realized that even though I spent a lot of money and went through such an unfortunate event, I was alive and will still be able to continue traveling the world.
Safe travels everyone! =]