A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, October 3, 2022

The Quest For Propane


Downtown Columbus, Nebraska

(All photos off the internet for clarification of the saga)

We came by Walmart first so I may as well get that over with. Oh the humanity! I had to stand in line for the self-checkouts, not usually the case. At least I got that behind me. Next up, Tractor Supply across the boulevard.

I pulled in up to the fence, got out and walked into the store. “Propane?” the cashier asked.  I said yes and she called it in.  I went back out and sat in the RV.  Here she comes.  Oh-oh, she’s slightly shaking her head.  What is going to be wrong this time?  I rolled down the window.

“I don’t think I can fill it.  The attachment I need broke.  We ordered a new one.  It should be here next week.  Is this where your tank is?” as she pointed to the correct bay.  I said yes.  She checked. “Nope, sorry.”

The broken part is the brass and aluminum knob coupling onto the propane fill port.

I asked where else in town had propane. 

“Ace Hardware does.  Know where that is?”

I said I thought I had passed it.  She gave me directions anyway which proved I hadn’t passed it.  It was three miles away on the south side of town through busy city traffic.  We finally arrived.  It didn’t look good.  It looked like they only filled canisters and by weight. 

For RV’s it sold by volume and the pump has a counter like a gas pump.

I went inside to make sure.  Nope. They couldn’t fill an RV.  “You know any other place?”  She made a call to her supervisor.  She didn’t know.  “Maybe Sapp Brothers.”  Guess where Sapp Brothers is?  Down the street from Tractor Supply and across from Walmart.  Way back where we started. Wonderful. Back we go. 

I stopped at Menards along the way to check with them as some Menards (they are like a Home Depot) has propane filling stations.  This one did not.  Not a big enough store. 

I pulled into Sapp Brothers.  They are a truck stop place like Loves and Pilot.

Their machine looked the same as Ace.  Sold by weight, not volume.  I went inside and asked.  I was right.  I had run out of options for Columbus.  Unbelievable.  I agonized about this for the rest of the day. Eventually I resigned myself to the fact that it will be okay.  I still had a quarter of a tank and the light indicator inside wasn’t in the red zone yet.  I’ll find something somewhere even if I have to drive out of the way for some distance.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

We spent the night at Walmart, a surprisingly quiet and peaceful night.

- comment replies -

“Do you ever take Beans into shops?”  No, that would not go well.  No telling what she’d get into or who she would freak her out over being around.

No I have not been to the Acoma Village in New Mexico.  I’ve been around those parts but did not know of it.  Thank you for the kind comment about the eBooks Kathe.

And David, yeah I am having reservations about these two Patterson books I bought as they are coauthored also.   But I wanted to support Dee and her bookshop.  I too hope she stays in business a long time.  Being an independent bookshop owner in these online days must be a risky gamble.


Debby said...

We have a Sapp Brothers along I-80. I pass it everytime I go to my son's house. I had no idea that they are a chain.

Good luck on your propane search. I call days like yours 'dog chasing its tail' days. In your case, perhaps it should be 'cat chasing laser dot' days.

Barbara Rogers said...

How frustrating! And all for a puff of gas! Not funny if you need it for cooking...I imagine. How do you keep Beans from getting fleas? Since she might choose to roll in the dust sometimes, that's also a good way to pick up a few.

Ellen D. said...

Good luck with your propane search, John! I googled it and there are several places listed near Columbus, NE so I hope you had success.

Kathe said...

That would make me very anxious. I suppose running out of propane is better than running out of gas but not much.
Your descriptions in your books of the different rigs folks have is so interesting. Everything but the kitchen sink to living in your car almost. I remember reading about the first winter Lawrence Welk and his family spent in North Dakota. They turned over their wagon and made it into a shelter. I can't imagine that kind of suffering. He came from the town my mom was born in. Skogmo, ND. I'm imagining him laying in his mansion in California with toilets that had champayne bubbles drift up when you flushed (I might be making up that part)and remembering that first North Dakota winter under that wagon. Did you know his first band was called the Hawaiian Fruits? I actually didn't make that up. Enjoy your palace on wheels. I'm thinking Lawrence didn't do much camping.