11 June 2005

Terry, Mike and Frank: Rescue in Paddle Prairie

Location: Paddle Prairie, AB, Canada
We expected to fuel up with gas for the day at a 24 hour station in Manning, but it had stopped selling gas … so, … we moved to a lodge a few kilometres down the road. We pulled in and immediately realized that ...

Gas Pumps covered in plastic wasn't a good sign! 

No problem, we thought – our trusty Milepost said there was even more gas a few kilometres away in Keg River.  Drove awhile, pulled in, they were closed until 9:00 am.                                           

So, we moved on to Paddle Prairie, 28km further down the road. By this time we were running on fumes and the gas station was closed for another 2 hours. We had no choice, but to wait.         

Terry Piper, a Metis from Paddle Prairie, wandered by in his old, ‘beat to crap’, 19 something-or-another’, Oldsmobile ‘whatever’. After chatting for a while, Terry realized we were in a bit of a dilemma and volunteered to try and get his brother-in-law, who ran the Figure Eight Gas Bar (where we were waiting) to open a bit early … 11:00 am is the usual Saturday start time. To do this Terry had to drive about 45 minutes each way to get to Mike, wake him and get him dressed and then deliver him back to the gas bar ... on a day when Mike was expecting to sleep in. All this to help a couple of tourists from Ontario that were stupid enough to run out of gas. This won't be good ... I was starting to picture the cost of fuel rising rapidly as penance for our mistake.               

Meanwhile, Frank stops in his pick-up to see if we had a problem. Everyone who drives by wants to help. Once he realized that we were OK and that Terry was picking Mike up, he stayed to chat. He gave us a good insight into the Metis people and how they live today. Frank thinks it's a shame Cree language is no longer taught in the schools and that the youth are losing their culture.  Terry and Mike arrive and Mike gladly opens up for us.                                   

It was our largest fuel up yet, nearly 100 litres. Now we know that ‘on empty’, we still have about 20 litres reserve. Mike charged us the price on the pump and as soon as we were filled, he closed the gas bar up and returned home with Terry. They'll have a breakfast and then come back once again.                                                         

We met some helpful and friendly folks this morning and it made our day just a little bit easier.
Crusty ...

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TEAM: LOAF, Crummy, Wry & Crusty