Road Trip

To those of us living in the northern hemisphere, today marks the summer solstice—the longest day of the year. I know what you’re thinking. The longest day in history occurred when you and your spouse got into a fight on that cross-country road trip. Yep, driving 782 miles in frigid silence can make for a long, long day. Not the best way to start a two-week honeymoon.

On the other hand, we’ve all experienced extremely short days that we wished would last for a hundred years. I’d love you hear your recollection of an especially long or short day.

If you are new to Friday Flash Fiction, the person who waves the green flag to start our weekly 100 Word race is none other than Danica “Cow Patty” Wisoff-Fields. To learn how to participate in this weekly exercise in madness, head over to her blog for instructions. To rent a box in the FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.



There’s an icon on the dash that indicates when the tank is almost empty. The flashing red light really seems to annoy Brad.

He immediately flies into a tirade about how we’re going to be late, followed by an extended period of prayer in which he begs the fumes to holdout until we get to the nearest gas station.

I really think he should plan better and allow more time, but the last time I mentioned it he glared at me with fiery eyes and clenched teeth.

He doesn’t take suggestions well when he’s pushing a car in the rain.

* an excerpt from Peeves I Like to Pet

62 Comments on “Road Trip

  1. Dear Mario Andretti Gayer,
    Perhaps Brad is related to Jan who won’t put gas in the car until the little icon is flashing and pinging. “Eh, we’ve got enough to get the gas station.” Only if the gas station is 5 feet away and then there’s still doubt. He does this so he can get more bang for the gasoline buck. And he doesn’t care much for talking while he’s pushing the car in the rain, either. As for the long rides in icy silence…we’ve been known to make the temps drop 30 degrees…in August. Just saying…or, in that case, not saying.

    Shalom and Zoom!

    Danica “Cow Pattie”


    • Dear Danica “Cow Pattie”

      Actually, it’s Brad’s wife, Rachel, who refuses to fuel up, always leaving it on fumes for poor Brad. Morgaine may have hit on something with her comment regarding the faulty gene in the DNA.
      I’ve been on a few of those long, icy rides and they’re not much fun. That’s why I now keep a coat in the car at all times.

      Happy racing,


  2. I know both these situations well ha-ha!
    It must be some variation in DNA that prevents some people from filling up the tank. 🙂


  3. Ah, we’ve all been there! And no, no one likes ‘helpful advice’ when pushing a car in the rain. Nicely doneRussell


  4. I rarely enjoy driving a long way… I think one of my longest day was one where we walked in the mountain, trying in vain to cross flooded streams, ending up having to walk twice as long as we originally intended. But the day after the sun was wonderful…


    • I don’t like long drives either. Especially if my traveling companion is angry.
      Sunshine always seems to make everything better.


  5. The flashing red light really seems to annoy Brad. Such a funny line. Next thing you know, Brad will be snipping the little wire that makes the light work.


    • Thank you, Christine. I’m still two car lengths behind Miss Danica. Let’s hope she doesn’t drop a cow pattie and make me spin out of control.


  6. Yes, this sounds kind of like something of a “guy thing,” huh? “Columbus didn’t need directions, neither do we” or, at least, “a gas station” should be added to that. Back in 1975, we went to California to see my aunt and uncle. Had a 1972 Mercury Marquis. We ran out of gas in the Mojave Desert, but only close to the station. Station attendant asked my dad, “Could you pull up a little more?” Dad said, “I just can’t!” 😀

    As for the longest day of the year, no, I don’t have an anecdote, but I have one of the shortest day of the year, December 21st, 1961. My mom was giving birth to me and she was glad it was a short day — I was 17 days overdue!

    Keep ’em flying, Mario.


    • Great story about the Mojave Desert. Those Marquis were big, heavy cars. I’d sure hate to push one in the heat. There are a lot of places in the southwest were gas stations are time zones apart.

      So, you’re a Winter Solstice boy. You must have really liked it in the womb. Probably been trying to get back there ever since.


  7. Great story. Totally believable.

    An especially long day? Driving across Kansas and Nebraska on our way to Colorado to visit my grandparents. No air conditioning. No DVD, no iPads or Pods or tablets. Hothothot. All windows down, so head scarves or ponytails so our hair wouldn’t get blown right off our heads. And then, to top it off, a loooooooooooong freight train out in the middle of nowhere. We sat and watched in total boredom after counting the first 100 cars.
    BUT–the reward was the long blue line on the horizon that we knew was the Rockies. Didn’t look like much on first sighting, but the excitement level definitely grew as the mountains did 🙂


    • I’ve been across Kansas. It was a long day for me too. We were headed back to Arkansas from Colorado and had driven for hours without the scenery every changing before seeing a sign that read, “Scenic Overlook Ahead.” I asked my wife, “What could possibly be scenic out here?” A half-hour later, we came upon this so-called “must see” tourist stop near Holcomb, Kansas. It was a wide spot in the road on the north side of a feed lot. The temperature was hovering near 100 and cattle were wading around in knee-deep manure. The wind was blowing from the south. Not only was view disgusting, the smell didn’t want to leave the cab of our pickup for another 284 miles.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oy! Yes, I’m very familiar with that smell. Can’t imagine calling such a sight a “scenic overlook.” I think someone was being a bit snarky 🙂


  8. You got a chuckle out of me. Thanks. I’m one of those neurotic souls who always fills up at between half and a quarter. You just never know. 🙂


    • His wife, Rachel, is the culprit. She refuses to gas up the car. So anytime they go anywhere together he can expect it to be running on empty.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The longest ride I had was on a cold day in northeastern Ohio when my car heater wasn’t working. I was giving the neighbor a 15-mile lift into the city where we both worked and she said, “Anyone who wants my feet can have ’em.” Good and funny writing, as usual, Russell. 😀 — Suzanne


    • I remember heaters that didn’t work. We once put some coals from the wood stove in a metal bucket to warm the cab of our pickup. Frozen feet are no fun.


  10. The longest day of my life was the day my Mom died in my arms and I had to sit and wait by myself for many hours (9) for the university to decide to come and get her. It was a hot day in September, no AC…


  11. Oh lordy! It so is a guy thing! Mick would stretch out as long as possible, once making it to the gas station with the “0 miles left in the tank”… and we once coasted, pulling the 27′ trailer down a hill to one of those rest areas, had to call AAA to get gas… ah the memories. Needless to say, he got teased by my sister’s family once we made it to the campsite! I didn’t bother being mad at him as we got to wait in a nice cool area, playing backgammon until help arrived…


    • You might as well roll with the flow, eh Dale? I knew a guy who used to coast down hills all the time to save gas. When he died, he was worth close to a million dollars. He was so tight, he squeaked when he walked.


  12. The last line was perfect. I enjoyed that she made her suggestion while he was pushing the car in the rain. It was just the right nudge that made the story quite amusing.


  13. Ha, love that last line. My ex took the flashing light as a challenge to see how long and how far he could go, which meant he did a lot of walking. Of course this was before cars would calculate all this out for you.


    • I really don’t want to find out exactly how far our car will go after the light comes on. It sends me into panic mode and the anxiety level goes through the roof. Guess I’m not much of a daredevil.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Well, I guess that’s one way to celebrate the first day of summer. Although I’d probably classify this as a “character building experience.”

    I’m sure u knew this already, but can u believe it was International yoga day, Hike Naked Day AND national selfie day😱
    Busy busy busy day


  15. I play that game all the time. My current score is 27-358, with 27 being times gotten there, 358 being times walking to nearest gas station, which is not fun when on vacation in British Columbia. Of course, Brad is code for Russell by alternating letters in Brad; R is for Russell, and D is also for Russell, since Russell contains no D’s. I wonder what Brad/Russell’s score is?


    • I’m not quite in the same league with you, Perry. Let’s just say I keep an empty gas container in the trunk at all times (no point carrying a full one, is there?) and my thumb is permanently extending into hitchhiker mode. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is writing your name with your thumb sticking straight up (or maybe you would).

      I can’t believe you ratted me out in public, divulging my secret identity. That’s the last time you’ll get my vote for Imperial Wizard at a KKK meeting.


  16. So the “E” indication in the fuel gauge does not stand for “Enough”? You need music that keeps in synch with the flashing red light to enjoy the ride.


    • More so to the relationship. My Dad always said, “Watch the oil and the coolant, the gas will take care of itself.” Overheating will blow up a motor. I am a big believer in prayer, though.


  17. I know the feeling, I hate filling up, it’s a necessity but it must be left until the very last moment. Then of course you have the problem of getting you’re timing right because if you’re out you end up pushing.


  18. You did this soooo well. I could just see this pair, her sitting quietly thinking, ‘I told you so.’ In fact, I have to ask, did you know my parents?


  19. I could feel the undertones of Grrrr … in your characters. : )
    I believe this type of no gas thing is a pet peeve for many couples.
    I’m a 1/2 tank full – time to get gas person. Hubby is a, “We’ve got enough to travel the world kind of person.”
    Purchasing a car emergency plan helps eliminate stress and car pushing.
    Great write …
    Isadora 😎


  20. Russell,

    I once left enough gas in the car for Nan to get in it the next morning and drove three houses down the road (not enough a block) before she ran out of gas.

    I won !! Hee, Hee



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Mandie Hines Author

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