One hot summer (they all were) when I and a number of my friends were bored with the camp, we piled into my Dad's jeep and headed out the pipeline road towards Dabajuro. My compadres on this occasion were Randy and Mike Lanciault and Dan Sweeney. As a refresher the pipeline originated at Ule near Tia Juana (Any one remember the small camp there - it was a unique and neat community of people who worked at the huge oil pumping station there and the huge oil tank farm) that started oil down the pipeline that ran to Amuay.

Anyway, we drove out the pipeline and then off into the savannahs where we spent the better part of the day following cow paths and just driving across the rolling grasslands taking in the sights. We did a lot of that during our last couple of summers in Venezuela.

Finally the sun began to set and we road back to the pipeline service road and headed back to camp (Tia Juana). We came upon a rise in the road which fell off gradually for about a quarter mile and the road rose again up the next rise. From the top of the rise we could see a typical cantina on the left side of the road set back about 15 feet from it. The cantina was made of upright poles chinked with mud and it had a rusted corrugated tin roof which overhung a bar.

Out front was a hitching rail and standing there were a couple of scraggly horses and a burrow. You could hear music that far away which was not unusual in those days because that was how the cantinas attracted people. You could also hear a one-lung generator chuffing in the background which lit the colored bare light bulbs which hung under the roof, ran the radio and chilled the cooler. There were four guys at the bar and the owner behind it.

Well, an idea came to mind. We coasted down the hill and just before we reached the bottom across from the cantina I pulled out the choke and the jeep sputtered to a halt across from it. Well, the guys at the bar looked at us and smirked. You could read their minds -- dumb gringo kids!!! No gas here!!

Well, the four of us in the jeep gestured at each other indicating what were we going to do now. I told them to follow my lead and each of us in-turn got out of the jeep and pretended to piss into the gas tank which was on the side of the jeep facing the bar so they could not actually see what we were doing. I must say we played it to the hilt.

We got back into the jeep and I pulled out and pushed in the choke and worked the gas pedal and then hit the starter and a miracle occurred right then and there and the jeep engine started. We smiled and congratulated each other, waved to the guys at the bar whose jaws dropped and drove off. When we got to the top of the next rise we died laughing as we recalled the amazement that came over the faces of those paisanos when the engine started.

A great ride!!

 

   INDEX