Yup, It’s Full of Gas

One winter in Montana, during a time that the temperatures were hovering in the minus 20 to minus 40 range, two of us were sent to repair some neon lighting over a side door of a hotel.  There was just enough room on the top of the canopy for the two of us to stand and work on the fixture.

While we were working, a young man dressed in summer street clothes came out of the hotel and unlocked a car parked near the side wall of the hotel.  It was obvious that the car had not been winterized.  This was in the 1960s and cars did not start well in the winter in those years.

When the young man tried to start the car, the motor barely turned over.  He got out, locked the car and went back into the hotel before he froze.  The obvious thing to do was to call a service station for help.

About 20 minutes later he came out of the hotel and tried it again.  We concluded that he didn’t have enough money to call a service station.  We felt a little sorry for him, figuring that he was from out of state and this was his first experience with cold weather starting.

Of course the car did not start this time either.  He got out, walked around the car, kicked all four tires and ran back into the hotel.  We looked at each other and one of us said; “Nope, the tires are O.K.  That can’t be the problem.”

A few minutes went by and here he came again.  The same thing happened again.  This time when the car wouldn’t start he raised the hood and looked into the engine compartment.  Then he slammed the hood shut and ran back inside the hotel.

This was starting to get entertaining!

One of us said; “The engine is still there.”

A short while later, out he came and tried to start the car once more.  Still no start.  This time he raised the hood, took off the radiator cap and peered into the radiator.  One of us said; “Yup, it’s full of gas.”

He went back into the hotel and didn’t come out again while we were there.  By that time we had our job done and were starting to get cold.  We picked up our tools and ladders and headed for the barn.  I have no idea what he did with his frozen car.

Perhaps it is incidents like this that give Montana and North Dakota a reputation for being cold.