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Relive The Past

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The "Chelle and Mel's Nebraska Shop Hop 2010 Story"

Be Aware, Be Thankful
1. I can run - who knew!
2. Hills in Nebraska
3. The nice guy
4. Jumper cables - YES again!
5. Michelle's positive attude
6. Starter fluid
7. Daylight
8. I didn't get kidnapped
9. Diet Coke, lots and lots of Diet Coke!!
* * *

OK, this story is already going the rounds in the family so I'm posting it here before rumors get out.

The short story:
  • Michelle (Chelle) had taken the bus from Lincoln (about a 6 hour ride) to Ogallala, Nebraska and I drove from Denver, Colorado to Ogallala to meet her - about a 4 hour drive for me.
  • We ran out of gas
  • I got in the patrol car (without handcuffs)
  • We bought lots of fabric
  • We laughed and laughed and laughed and . . .

The looooog (and FUNNY) story with some accompanying pictures/ drawings {click Read More below} 

April 22, 2010

The day started nice enough in North Platte.  Michelle and I found a nice RV campground to stay in for a really good rate.

We stayed up updating our Facebook accounts, checking our email and chatting about how our lives have been since we’ve each moved to different states of the country.

The North Platte shop, The Quilt Rack, was great – a 5 on our scale with lots of precut fabric packs, fresh lemonade and soft cookies.   The store was large and layed out well, I took lots of pictures.

The location of the shop was odd.  Picture the seediest part of a small town under an overpass and you’ve got the idea.

Our next destination was McCook, an hour away.  A note here: While in the shop in North Platte I kept telling myself not to forget to gas up before we left town.

10 miles from McCook, I remember that I had needed to fuel up.  The gauge’s needle was in the red.  Four miles from our destination the van starts chugging a bit.  I look at Michelle and say “I forgot to gas up in North Platte.”

There are rolling hills in this area and we were on the small incline of the last one.  “If we can just push it to the top, we can coast down the next where there is sure to be a gas station.”

So, Chelle jumps out and starts pushing.  I figure the job would be easier if I, too, got out and helped push while steering.

I pop out and give it my all, the whole time saying to myself, “These are not running shoes!”  I was wearing ½ inch foam flip flops.  

At one point I thought about abandoning the darned things and coming back after we had filled up.
Meanwhile Michelle is on the other side of the empty vessel thinking “Wow! I can run! The mornings at the gym are paying off!”

So we’re pushing along, kinda like the pioneers of old, and Michelle yells out “How do we get back in?” 

(excuse my drawing - I couldn't have possibly taken a picture!)

Because by now we’ve got the VW goin’ pretty good.  Good question!  My legs are already rubbery and now I have to get in a couple of quick steps in order to jump onto the  running board of the door, THEN hoist my fat a** up into the seat, all while running at top speed.

Well, let’s give this a try.  Hurumpffff . . .one.  . . leg . . . then . . . NOPE.  Oh, wait I have to worry about steering the large vehicle too!  OK, back in my lane.

OK. OK.  If I can’t make it, maybe Michelle can jump over to the driver seat and swing back for me after she’s got the gas.  No, no, I’ll try again . . . “Pretend your very life depends on it!” I say to myself.

Ougghsshhh. I’M IN!  And Michelle is in.  AND the buss is still moving.  And the light before us just turned . . . RED.  

So I’m thinkin to myself, I’m thinkin “I’m goin’ through!!!  We’ve worked too hard to stop now!”  And I see a gas station ahead and it’s on my side!!!

I roll down my window and start waving my arm and I’m honking my horn and oh, yes I’ve had my hazard lights on since way back when so we roll right on through. 

We safely coasted to the gas station and we just sit there.  Heavy breathing.  Pretty proud of ourselves that we could actually RUN if we HAD to!!

After 5 minutes I get out and put in gas.  Not too much though, because if you put in too much it will start to come out.  At this point I see that there is no gas cap to remove before fuelling . . . oh yeah, I put it on top of the tank at the last place I filled up and – OOPS, I must have forgoten it.  SHOOT!  Well, can’t worry about that now!

OK. Gassed up and ready to hit the road!!
The van won’t start.

A bit of info about my VW.  It was made in 1984.  It is NOT fuel injected.  I don’t know exactly what that means, but I know that because of that fact IF one were to run out of gas, it’s extremely difficult to get going again.  And trying to do so drains the battery. 

Thankfully there was a nice man next to us at the gas pumps.  I told Michelle it was her job to go ask him for a jump.  Thankfully that worked and she did.

So we’re all hooked up and I try working off of his battery and I’m pumpin the gas pedal to get the gas flowing through the lines, or whatever, and nothin.  So I remember a time (not too long ago) when Nathan ran the VW out of gas and used starter fluid directly on the engine to get it going.

I voiced my suggestion and it sounds like a good idea to everyone, so Chelle goes into the convenient store to get some starter fluid.  I have no idea where to spray it, but the nice guy says that we have to spray it inside this big hose that goes directly to the engine.

Oh, a note here:  The engine of any VW is in the back.  You know, where you store your stuff?  Necessities like suitcases, mattress rolls, pillows, sewing machines (YES sewing machines), and the like.  So all this stuff has to come out before we can take off the metal cover and get to the innards of the vessel.

So, this guy is taking a screw driver to a big hose clamp so we can spray starter fluid into it.  Sounds like a bad idea to me, but I had heard that it worked and a GUY was helping and guys know stuff about cars.

While he and I were waiting for Michelle to find the starter fluid he notices my license plate is from Utah and says “Your a ways from home.” And because he had that tone in his voice I could tell that what he was really saying was that he was surprised we had made it this far!

OK, so we’re ready with the spray and I get back in the front (where it’s safe, away from starter fluid, gas and sparks) and wait until I get the go ahead from the rear.  “GO!” I go. (Turn the key give a little gas)  The van doesn’t start. 

“WAIT!” I wait.

“GO!” I go. The van doesn’t start.

Him: “Don’t let it die!”

Me: “I’m NOT”

“GO!” I go. The van doesn’t start.

 “WAIT!” I wait.

X 4

Then it STARTS!!!

Michelle and I are charming and thank him and his wife, who patiently waited in the truck, for his help and I offer him $ for his help and time and he chivalrously refuses.

WHEW!  What a day!


So we’ve just got some food and are chowin as we’re driving on I-80 Eastbound.  

Another note about my VW:  The only way I can GET up to speed (75) is if I’m going downhill for about 20 minutes so it’s almost impossible to speed on the highway.  But HEY!  There’s a Highway Patrolman behind me with his lights on!


I pull over, and up walks this tall thin stern officer.  He makes an effort to look at the bottom of the front end of my van then says; “I pulled you over for not having a front license plate”

Man!  He must have been BORED!  “No I don’t have one, my husband does all that stuff"

“Are you having car trouble?” he asks.

“No.” I answer with a confused face.

“It just sounds like the idle is off.”

I’m thinking “It’s a 1984 VW dummy – what’s it suppose to sound like?” but just raise my eyebrows.

I give him the requested registration and licensing info and wait to see what my punishment is.

He asks me to come back to his car with him.

I said “What?! You want me to go back to your car?”

He said “Yes while I run your information.”

OK, it’s still daylight and Michelle is there with her cell in case something hinky is going on. Whatever!

I get out and walk to the back of my van and the officer is talking to Michelle. 

I figure he is getting her ‘story’ then is going to question me once we’re back in the car.

So I wait until he’s chatted with Chelle then get in the passenger side of the patrol car while he gets in from the driver’s side. 

One think I am sure of I am NOT closing the door.  One foot remains on the pavement and my body is angled as if to exit.  What do I know about him?  He’s a guy who has a gun and ‘authority’, but I don’t know him, so I don’t trust him!

Sure enough he asks where we’ve been and where are we going – like we’re friends hanging out.  I say “We’re doing the state shop hop and we started in Ogallala headed toward Lincoln where Michelle lives.”  Aha!  Now I’ve caught HIM off guard!

“You’re doin what?” he says as I notice he has buck teeth.

“We are visiting quilt shops across Nebraska.  It’s a yearly event.” I say placidly.

“Huh.  I’ve never heard of it.” He says.

I’m thinking “Well why would you have??!” but just shrug my shoulders.

He continues to chat; “So you’ve moved to Denver?”

Me: “Yes.”

Him: “When?”

Me: “Just before Christmas.”

Then he explains to me that he’s giving me a violation warning and that I need to get the front plate put on then get it signed off by an officer and send it to the address on the paper.

I sign it, he scans it, we’re done.

When I get back to the bus, I eagerly ask Michelle “Did you take a picture??!”
She said “No! I was too busy making sure your foot stayed on the asphalt!”

Oh well.


zelda said...

What an adventure! I read it to Dan and he thinks the cop thought you were running drugs :-(. I'm glad it worked out--he sounds like a real prize!

And I'm jealous of the shop hop.

Lori said...

I'm butting in to any and all of your future trips together- no matter what you're doing!!

Anonymous said...

There is a reason they sing, "There is no place like Nebraska!" The gas station & the nice guys who helped out are MY PEOPLE! I moved east 25 years ago, but still consider it home. Loved reading about North Platte (I know just where you were) and the trip - make me a little homesick! Thanks for the great story & a wonderful adventure!

Nedra said...

Oh Mel,
What an adventure! Only for a Shop Hop would we be willing to take such chances. Glad all is safe now.

Melody said...

Yikes that is too much excitement for me! I am glad you made it home safe!

ytsmom said...

OMG! First, if you think you were in the bad part of NP, well, I'll just say you're a little naive. Did you go right back to NP from McCook? You missed some great shops along Hwy 6. Glad you had fun!

Huskerbabe said...

Oh, I was hoping you'd write about the store in Ogallala. The one in North Platte is in a weird location but they're very nice.

The cop...they do a lot of drug busts on I-80 and lots of vans that are carrying illegals. Out of state and a van are probably big markers

Shari said...

When I lived in North Platte (a.k.a. grew up there) there were no quilt shops and barely a fabric shop - glad to hear they have one under the 'viaduct'. As kids we were able to drive under it to complete a cruising loop in our very not-cool cars giggling at boys... sounds like a lot of fun! People in Nebraska are usually pretty cool... hope you got lots of neat fabrics and a few non-quilty momentos (like a new gas cap).

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

So glad you are home safe with lots of fabric!!

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Oh my goodness, sounds like an urban ledgen!!!! And the shop hop girls continue to roam from shop to shop, only to be seen in the wee hours of the morning!!!!

Glad everyone is safe!!

The Speckled Hen said...

You had me at "I can run - who knew" and was LMAO. All the while I could see this very same type of thing happening with my BFF. Thanks for making my day.

Any one for a road trip???

Geri said...

Well, I am with Lori. You need us to complete the trip. There will be no more road trips without us.!^#@^%$
You guys are so funny and I love your drawings!!!! They are probably better than the pictures would have been.

Trisha said...

You crack me up! What a crazy time! Love the hand drawn pictures. They make the story even better.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

It is good to catch up with you and see all you are doing.