Our youngest son, Scott, spent last weekend driving home from his second year of college in Portland, Oregon. It's a long drive and we had no idea how much we should have been praying. We prayed, of course, that he'd have a safe trip home, but we had no idea we should have been praying more, much more. Thankfully, I believe God sent a legion of angels to get him home safely. Let me explain.
The problems all started, Scott says, while he was looking for a campsite at which he could spend the night on Friday. The campsite was our idea. His idea was to find a location somewhere in Medicine Bow National Forest to sleep. He had no intention of wasting $10 to pay for a campsite. Mind you, we were funding his trip home and we're still curious as to why he was so bent on saving this $10. John and I felt that a campsite would offer a little more protection from wild animals and wild people. So, Scott obediently looked for a campsite somewhere west of Casper, Wyoming. In his search for a campsite he apparently neglected to check his gas gauge. And, you guessed it, he ran out of gas. But, he just didn't run out of gas, he ran out 50 miles from the closest gas station! Yes, you read that correctly, 50 miles, five - zero! Remember, this is Wyoming.
What do you do when you are 50 miles from the nearest gas station and it's 10:00 at night? Well, you surely don't call your mother which, in this case, might have helped as I have a relative in Casper, but Scott didn't know that. Scott decided to start walking. He walked for an hour until someone finally offered him a ride. I don't believe he knew how far away the closest gas station was until way after he started his search for gas. His rescuer was a man who was on his way to Casper to do ministry at the prison. When they arrived in Casper, this good Samaritan called his friend who brought Scott a gas can, which Scott tells me holds around 2.5 gallons of gas. The man GAVE him the gas can, with gas in it! Very gracious. It would have been wise for Scott to top off the tank, but he didn't think of that. Scott found a man at the gas station heading west who gave him a ride back to his car, and offered him a beer. Scott tells me the driver wasn't drinking, just the other guy with him. Oh, and Scott refused the beer. These two men are apparently, in the irrigation business. You get to know someone when you are in a pick-up with them for 50 miles.
After filling the car's gas tank with the gas in his newly acquired can, Scott continues his trip towards Casper. But wait, he didn't top off the gas can and you can only go so far on less than two gallons of gas so, yes indeed, he runs out of gas AGAIN, now fifteen miles from Casper. Once again, he found himself walking and about five miles into his trek, along comes a trucker to offer him a ride. I think by now, it was close to midnight and still, no call to his mother. The trucker delivers him to the gas station (the same one) where he now fills his new gas can ALL the way to the top. And, once again, Scott found a kind soul headed west in a delivery truck, who willingly drove Scott back to his car. Not only that, but he waited for Scott to fill his tank and make sure he got on his way.
Once he got his car filled to the top - on his third visit to said gas station - he continued his search for a campground. Never mind that there are hotels in Casper. I know, I've been there. But Scott did have a brand new pup-tent purchased just for this trip and he was determined to use it. By 2:30 A.M. he decides that there are no campgrounds in the entire state of Wyoming, at least not along his route, unless you count the KOA, but they charge $25 per night and that was apparently way outside of his self-imposed budget. So, he finds a public access area to some local body of water and pitches his little 5' x 6' tent, climbs in (at a diagonal so he'd fit) and goes to sleep. The sun woke him early in the morning and he decided he'd better get on his way before he was discovered in this illegal camping spot. After leaving the site he checks his clock, only to find out that it's only 4:30 a.m. He's now had a grand total of 2 hours of sleep.
I called him later in the morning - 8:00 mountain time - to see where he'd spent the night. He had to confess to his illegal camping experience but, as he put it, there were extenuating circumstances. This was when I finally heard of the evening's adventures. While I was on the phone to him I suddenly heard him say, "oh, there's a police car going the other direction. Uh oh, he's turning around." It was at this point I started giving him tips on what to say when/if he's stopped. He interrupted my advice with "Yeah, mom, I've gotta go talk to this guy. I'll call you later." I could only laugh. At least he had quit "walking" his car home!
Scott arrived safely on Saturday night. We're still thanking God!