Monday, September 29, 2008

No Gas = No Patience

All the cars you see in this photo are waiting in
line for gas! (Sad part is, this is only a fraction
of the total number of cars in line.)

Someone has got to solve this gas shortage issue--quick! Things are getting pretty crazy here in the Atlanta area; I have proof!

Friday night, I got in Charles' car just before 9:00 p.m., tuned the radio to NPR (so I could listen to the debate) and started my search for gas. His car was nearing empty and we had plans to drive to Japan Fest just north of Atlanta on Saturday morning. For more than an hour, I drove past station after station with no luck--in all a total of 17 stations--not one of them had gas for sale. My patience was running thin. I finally decided to head home and tell Charles and Riley that we would not be going anywhere this weekend when I spied a station with a small line.

All the lights were out, no prices were posted on their sign, but a couple of dozen cars were lined up at the pumps. I did a U-turn and pulled in to the end of one of the lines. A station attendant told me they did have a few hundred gallons left and thought I'd be able to fill up. Not long after I arrived, two police officers showed up, lights flashing, to park at both entrances to the station. They had been called to keep others from getting in line so the station could close up for the night. Apparently, I had gotten there just in time.

After a 30 minute wait, I was able to fill the Versa and $42.80 later ($4.09 per gallon) I was on my way home. I felt so proud of myself!

Today, we went out in search of gas for the van. It showed only 15 gallons of available fuel left, so we put a gas can in the trunk and headed out. After a short search, we saw that our local Sam's Club had fuel, but also had a ridiculous line! We pulled around the line that reached into the street--deciding we didn't want to wait--and as we pulled into a parking spot, realized that there were several lines that had formed for the 12 pumps the station had. The middle line had only 20 or so cars in it, so we jumped in line (at approximately 2:45). I was thinking the wait wouldn't be that bad--boy was I wrong!

I took Riley into Sam's so we could shop for a few essentials thinking I had to be pretty quick--wrong!! Charles called and told me the line really hadn't moved all that much--in the 45 minutes I was in Sam's, he had only moved up 3 spots. While in the store, I decided it would be wise to buy another gas can for us to fill up once we got to the pump. Riley and I got back to the car at about 3:30 and joined Charles for the wait.

The view from near the back of the line.

A shot of the middle of the line.

The very end of the line--all the way out into the street.

The light at the end of the tunnel--we are getting near the pump!

When we got to the pump, it took about 20 minutes to fill a 5-gallon and a 6-gallon gas can. The pumps were running extremely slow, but we were glad to get what gas we could after a 3+ hour wait.

We finally got home around 6:00 p.m. and used the gas cans to fill up my van. I'm hoping the 11 gallons we added will hold me for a while--thank goodness I work from home and only drive Riley to and from school three times a week!

If you're reading this outside Atlanta, be thankful that you are not suffering in the same manner we are...