Last July we moved from MO to KY and during the move Kevin drove the moving truck with two of the kids and I had the other three in the van with me. We agreed to meet at mile marker 80 in Illinois and get a hotel for the night. The only problem with that was the freeway splits at that point and there are two mile marker 80s, I of course went to the wrong one to meet up with Kevin. I was supposed to get the hotel while I was waiting for him and there were no hotels at this exit, also the gas light in my van had just gone on so I decided to drive up to the next exit get gas and rent the room and then go back to wait for Kevin.
The next exit had no gas stations and neither did the next, by this time I had gone so far and I wasn't exactly sure where I was so not know whether it was better to continue or turn back I decided to go on. I said a quick prayer that I would make it to at least within walking distance of a gas station and that we would be safe, as the miles ticked by this prayer became more a constant refrain in my head. I finally found a gas station and the attendant had just locked up and told me there was nothing she could do that everything was shut down for the night! The next exit also had a closed gas station, by this time I knew I had gone to the point of running the card dead any minute and I also knew where I was. There is a long stretch of nothing between Mt. Vernon IL, and Evansville IN and that is where I was right in the middle.
I drove the car as fast as I dared and coasted down every hill, finally that dreaded feeling that comes when the car is on fumes came and the car started to slow down. Once it got to a speed that I could run beside the car I had Julianna get in the drivers seat and steer and I pushed, for whatever little good that would do. In the distance I could see the lights of a gas station and also a hotel. When the car finally came to a stop I had to decide if I was going to wait on the side of the road with three of my children or walk what looked like a pretty decent distance to the hotel. In making my decision I took into consideration that it was close to 1am, I only had flip flops on, neither Keith nor Koen would be able to walk that whole way. I prayed to know what to do.
I put Koen in my backpack and zipped it all the way up, only one arm and his head stuck out, I then put it on so it was a front pack. I was worried that if I carried him on my back it might come unzipped. I then found flip flops for Keith and Julianna and explained that the car was out of gas but the gas station was close and there was a hotel but we would have to walk, I told Keith it would be an adventure. Needless to say he was scared, I was scared. We sang songs and were as far off the road as we could get (this means we were walking in high grass that was muddy do to rain) I tried to get Keith to walk but he was to scared and to tired so I ended up carrying him on my back. Our flip flops were more hassle than help and eventually we ended up barefoot, there were quite a few sharp sticks in ground so it was not a fun trek.
We finally made it to the road and were about 100 yards from the hotel when a car passed up, I held my breath hoping that they would just pass us by, they did. The car passed us and then made a U turn and came back, it was a young man he looked to be about a senior in high school or first year in college, he asked if he could help. I told him no we were fine that we were just headed to the hotel, he said he understood. He then parked a little way in the opposite direction we were going and watched us until we were in the hotel parking lot, he honked his horn as he drove by. I am glad that he was concerned for our safety and I was glad that he didn't try to help me, that would have made me nervous.
We checked into the hotel, we were muddy and gross. The clerk behind the counter asked what had happened and so I explained. The next morning I woke up early and told Julianna that I was going to get gas and the car, she waited in the room with Koen and Keith. I walked across the street to the gas station bought the only gas container, filled it and started the trek back to the car. A nice elderly couple asked if they could give me a ride and after a small moment to get a feel for the situation I accepted they were headed in the opposite direction so they dropped me across 4 lanes of freeway from my car. I got to the car safely, put the gas in and went to open the driver's side door when I realized that I had left the keys at the hotel. I walked back.
I got the keys, walked back to the car, zeroed the speedometer and turned the key, nothing happened. I then decided that I need to rock the car to get the gas into the lines, so I jumped up and down on the bumper and pushed it from the front and the back. Yes this would have been great fun to watch. It worked after turning it over a few more times while pumping the pedal the car started and I was on my way. I ran out of gas 1.32 miles from the gas station, God had answered my prayer of getting to within walking distance.
We hit the road after eating a hot breakfast at the hotel, and Keith decided that he did not want anymore adventures. We made it without further incident to KY, and Kevin did catch up to us eventually. To this day Keith will not agree to go on an adventure, but he also relies on prayer and singing whenever he is scared.
It was a great adventure and I am thankful that everything turned out so well for us and that we were safe. On a return trip to MO we clocked the distance from my gas light going on to the spot I finally stopped it was 86 miles. My van has never gone further than 25 after the light goes on, I have ran it out 5 different times. I know that I was blessed to have reached the only hotel in the middle of nowhere even if I had to walk over a mile to get to it. I also know that the Lord answered my prayer it was not luck, or a coincidence, or any kind of fluke.