Trip down to the Keys 2011 – diesel

We left Miami around 930am and headed south to the Keys. It was a mix of happy to be getting out of the city filled with traffic, cars and people; but sad to be leaving dad.

We got as far as Miami when we stopped for fuel. We still had half a tank, but we figured the price of diesel would be higher in the keys. Just off highway one deep in Miami we pulled into a gas station on one of the busiest corners and started filling up. After less than a minute Brent’s face turned to shock and he ran for the pump.

I was sitting in the passenger’s seat scrambling for the door handle when Brent’s shocked face turned to sadness, sorrow, pain and embarrassment. Fearful, I asked what?

It was simple phrase delivered with all the grace that comes from pulling the bandaid off fast: “I put gas in”

It’s a diesel truck.

It was close to 1030 when Brent took off to the local parts store in search of gas cans while I waited in the baking Miami sun making calls to anyone I knew who knew anything about combustion engines.

I finally got the information that a diesel truck will run with an up to 30% gas mix, but you take your chances. Between 10%-30% your changes of catastrophic engine failure drops dramatically.

Under 10% is considered safe and some diesel nuts even recommend it.

After thirty minutes I was getting worried something had happened to Brent. We were about eight feet from a traffic light on the corner with heavy traffic. It didn’t help they were sucking out the storm drains twenty feet away. Poor Gizmo was terrified of the loud noises.

Brent finally returned with four new gas cans and a length of hose. He got under the truck and tried to get a siphon going. He might have killed some very vital brain cells before he decided he needed a stopper valve and a little pump. He jumped up and started running back to the parts store.

He was back twenty minutes later and was cursing the $6 he spent on this little device. Within minutes he’d drained all the fuel into the four cans. Dirty and smelly he was oddly proud.

I took the dogs into the sparse shade for a bit and then came back and helped to clean up. It was at this point that I realized I’d left all my cash at dad’s apartment. Sigh. No cash.

Admitting we are both boneheads was not difficult and changing our plans to limit spending money wasn’t much of challenge. We had food, enough money for fuel and we were heading to our house rental that was pre-paid. It shouldn’t be a problem.

By 1130 we were back on the road listening closely for the tell tale knocking sounds that would indicate that we’d just turned our truck into our second biggest paperweight.

We sang to the radio as we headed south and started laughing as the air conditioning in the truck pumped out cool air. The pups relaxed into sleep and we started looking for signs to the keys.

As we passed into Key Largo we both exhaled a sigh of relieve. It was short lived as we hit two construction sites that added an hour to our time and stretched our patience. Then we arrived hot. sweaty and smelling of gasoline.

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