Small-Town Gas Stations Are Important Rural Stops

Prairie Gleanings

Thank you to the gas station/convenience store proprietors. Without you, a lot of rural towns would be lost.

Published on: May 21, 2010

One of the best parts of my job is traveling back and forth across the state. Since I started two year ago, I've put a little over 50,000 miles on my car: a small price to pay for being able to get out of the office.

Today, I was taking photos of the unveiling of E-K Petroleum's new blender pump in Sullivan. It got me thinking about gas stations and how important they are not only to travel, but rural communities in general.

First and foremost, I just want to say thank you to the proprietors that keep the convenience markets stocked and the fuel tanks full. A lot of you are a small town's coffee stop, cold drink station and after-hours supermarket. I don't know how many times I've been running low on energy during a long drive. Your caffeine offerings are a real life saver.

One of my favorite gas station stories happened just last year. My wife, son and I were on our way back to Illinois after visiting my family in Missouri on Christmas Eve. Along the way, we started to get hungry. When I say we, I mean Lucas got hungry, never a good thing for a baby boy confined to a car seat.

We had to get something, fast. Being young parents, we hadn't thought ahead, so no snacks were to be found in the car. Normally, it's a simple as finding a fast food joint, and everyone's happy again. But, this was Christmas Eve.

After driving past about 10 closed restaurants, we finally found a gas station. Even better, they had hot dogs, fried chicken and hot sandwiches. We had at least another two hours of driving, so the crisis was narrowly averted.

One last tip. If you're on a long drive and your eyes are getting heavy, I highly recommend sunflower seeds in conjunction with a caffeinated beverage. I find the constant cracking and separating action keeps me wide awake.

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