Monday, September 1, 2008

The Pep Boys of Casa Grande

by Pa Rock

I pulled out of Goodyear, AZ, yesterday just prior to 8 a.m. I had every intention of driving to Tombstone, Bisbee, and Douglas, AZ, and then on to Agua Prieta, Mexico. I didn't pack a bag or my ever-present insulin because I planned on doing all of that and returning to Goodyear in the same day. That's why I hit the road so early.

At a few minutes before 9 a.m. I noticed that I was almost out of gas, so I took the first exit at Casa Grande, AZ, and was soon pulling up at one of the over-priced gas stations that line America's interstates. As I reached for the cap to the gas tank, I was hit with the sudden realization that I have a locking cap - an intentional measure to keep from having the cap stolen - which happens to me on a fairly regular basis. The problem: my gas cap key was on the ring of keys that I had lost at Luke Air Force Base a few days earlier. So there I was, fifty miles away from home, out of gas, and with no way to get any!

A girl at the gas station pointed me on down the road to an Auto Zone that was due to open at 9 a.m. The fellow at Auto Zone, after he quit waiting on all of his paying customers, went outside and looked at my gas cap. After telling me that he couldn't be of help, he pointed me further down the road to Pep Boys, an auto parts store that also does repairs, maintenance, and sells tires.

The first Pep Boy that I talked to told me they would have to break the cap off. Go right ahead, I told him. But, he addced, I'm not sure we want to do that so close to the gas tank. It might blow up! (What he didn't realize was that I, too, might blow up!)

Finally, after pulling my car safely around the side of the building, a daring, young Pep Boy came out with a small crow bar. He placed the business end of the tool under the lip of the cap, gave it one gentle tap, and the cap popped off in three pieces. (It was nice to know that my expensive locking cap offered essentially no more protection to my precious gas than a cheap, screw-on cap!)

The two front tires on my car were worn out and pulling badly to the right, so I decided to celebrate my good fortune at encountering Casa Grande's Pep Boys (on a Sunday morning of a holiday weekend!) by buying a couple of new tires. I was planning on sitting in the shade and reading while they were being put on, but I fell prey to Arizona's official state nuisance, a retired person who wanted to talk!

I eventually hit the road again at 11 a.m. By then I knew that my trip would be abbreviated, but I was able make it on to Tombstone. Tombstone proved to be the end of line for my day trip.

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