I learned an important lesson today, or perhaps more than one. I wanted to make a lovely dinner and thought I would make a run into Montana to get some fresh ginger. It was 20 degrees out, so thinking it a bit warm, I literally paused at my door for about ten seconds staring at my coat and gloves wondering… do I need you? I grabbed the jacket but left the gloves. This proved to be lesson number one, NEVER LEAVE WITHOUT MY GLOVES. I got halfway to my destination and pow, the back tire blows. The NEW back tire. Amazingly I have cell service. Word to the wise, if you use T-mobile and are moving this way, switch now. Verizon is the only thing that works with any dependability here. I got lucky.
Called my husband who was working three hours away and he reminds me to call the insurance company, we are covered for roadside service. I carry USAA. While the operator couldn’t locate me via GPS and had no idea where I was, there was in fact one service provider close and they could get to me soon. Lesson number two, ALWAYS HAVE SOME KIND OF RELIABLE ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE. In our case, USAA is fabulous. They have never failed me. The guy took a few hours to show up but that is ok, things could be so much worse.
Lesson number three. This is one I actually learned years ago from my dad. Never let your gas tank get under 1/4 of a tank. Especially out here. When I left home today my tank was near empty. I could have made it all the way to the store in Montana (30 miles away) and considered doing just that, instead I was smart and stopped on my way out there. Had I not done that, I would have certainly run out of gas sitting on the side of the road. Why you ask? Well, when it’s 20 degrees, you need things like heat.
Here are my hard learned words of wisdom to all women traveling alone.
1. Don’t assume anything like… “oh it’s just a run to the grocery store”. Always take your gloves and coat and maybe a scarf. In fact, keep a set in your car just in case. In fact, throw an extra pair of socks in there too.
2. Have reliable phone service. So far the only one I can find is Verizon.
3. Make sure you have roadside assistance and that it covers things like flat tires and running out of gas.
4. Keep a map in your car. Some roads out here go for miles and miles and miles without any signs, buildings or easily identifiable markers. Always be able to describe where you are and sometimes you need a map to do that.
5. Always keep gas in your car, never get under 1/4 tank. Never ever ever.