My month long vacation with my sister’s family had sadly come to its end and I now had to prepare myself for the journey home – the best part of two days awaited me and that if all went smoothly!
I had hired a car from Avis and could drop it off at Brisbane Airport. It needed to be returned with a full tank of petrol and I thought too it needed to be cleaned. Having all said our goodbyes we – the car and I! – set off on our final journey, final time to travel with top down too! My first stop would be for petrol and there was a BP at the Coomera Travel Centre on the Pacific Motorway to the Airport and had I stopped there as I almost certainly should have then there would be no need for this chronicle.
But I did not stop there – I reasoned I had enough fuel to get me to the Airport and I could fill up the tank there as I wanted the fuel deduction by Avis to be as little as possible. Absurd really as the monthly car hire alone was thousands of Australian dollars and the amount I was looking to save would be twenty dollars tops!
But if there were any petrol stations nearer to Brisbane I was not finding any and the fuel indicator on the dashboard was moving ever closer to empty – even then I was not too concerned – my own Mini I could often reach the empty mark and drive on for fifty odd miles – my own Mini though also would have a small container of fuel in its boot for just such a contingency of running out before being able to replenish.
My hired Vauxhall Astra’s indicator alas was as good as its word – when it got to empty the car drove to a stop – luckily there was not much other traffic on the road and I was able to pull over to the hard-shoulder without any drama just as I was on the airport approach roads. Now panic was beginning to rise in me. There was a telephone number to call for emergency but I was not getting through. I then decided to call my sister’s home and her husband managed to get me the number I needed to call. I got through and they would send someone out with petrol to re-fuel – an hour tops they said – and this despite me being a bit clueless as to the name of the stretch of road I had broken down on.
I still had about two hours before I needed to check in so I was determined to remain positive though having occasional thoughts about missing my flight and having to book another one and spend an unholy amount of cash into the bargain. In the meantime I had Airport Security to distract me from such thoughts turning up in a Jeep and questioning me naturally enough about why I was stopped in my car only a few miles from the airport for no apparent reason. I explained my predicament and that help was on its way and that seemed to satisfy them.
Thankfully all ended well – help turned up in good time and I did get the car back to Avis if with a half-tank of fuel and uncleaned.
But should I ever be needing to return to an airport in future in a hire car and needing to re-fuel I will make sure I am filled up the day before at least!