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An unexpected night in Sheffield TX?!?

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Offline SergeantFunk

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An unexpected night in Sheffield TX?!?
« on: November 11, 2016, 04:16:35 PM »
It was probably 1994 ish.  I was taking two newbies to car-camp on the Pine Canyon road.  We had left pretty late in the day, expecting to arrive at the basin in the wee hours, crash a bit in the car, eat at the lodge.  Then we'd get our permits and head out on the desert.

Because we left late, we planned on taking turns driving and sleeping.  And though I'm usually so charged up I can't sleep, this time around Junction I found myself thinking 'I can sleep now'.  So I spoke up, and my buddy pulled over so that I could crawl up in the back of his pickup camper.  Told him to wake me in a couple.  And quickly, I was out.

It's better along I-10 now than 20 years ago regarding gasoline (somewhat). But remember, they were newbies.  I forgot to warn them that you can only fill up (top off, that is) at the major towns after a certain time in the evenings.  So many of the stops along the way roll up the sidewalks.

So, um, yeah.  Next thing I know is - I feel the truck bounce down on a rougher road, jarring me awake.  I look through the windows separating the camper and cab, out the windshield - and see a sign go by saying (I think so by looking at Google maps) state hwy 349.  First thought, he's way off track, where the heck are we?  2:00am in the morning and nothing is familiar.  I bang on the windows to let him know I'm up, and he points to the fuel gauge - my heart sunk as I realized we were running on fumes.

But...sanity prevailed.  Steve is a smart dude.  He pulled in Sheffield TX.  Completely dark and many signs in spanish.  But he parked right across the street from a little Texaco (as I recall).  We got out (dang it was cold that night) and talked.  Steve said "I think it better to camp here and wait for them to open then to be stuck on I-10 with no gas. Fort Stockton and Ozona both about equidistant.  And who knows what banditry can go on out there this late."  Prudent choice.

I slept in the cab, facing the gas station, and at 5am, I heard a car start just a block away (it was so quiet out there).  Sure enough the car drove into the station, and a little old lady got out, unlocked, turned on the lights, and started making coffee.  She had danishes, other goodies, and a bathroom.  In 15 minutes we were tanked up (petrol and foodwise), and continuing down 349 to join up the hwy 90 route over to Marathon.  Cool.

In truth, we were at Panther Junction getting permits about the same time, had we slept in the basin and ate at the lodge.  All good, indeed.  Long drives are an adventure...we were glad to have lots of water, blankets etc.  You never know.

Ever since, I've warned new park visitors to keep their tanks topped when driving at night.
"Luminous beings are we...not this crude matter." -Yoda


Offline fullmetaljacket6793

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Re: An unexpected night in Sheffield TX?!?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2018, 10:41:33 AM »
Very good story and iv been broke down in the same area. It can be a bit uneasy there at night. Im glad it all worked out for you

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