The Filling Station

Filling stations, as they were once popularly called, are something we take for granted today. There is no shortage of places to refuel when we head out on a road trip. And, to make things even better, gas stations have evolved into a convenience store and fast food hybrid. We can now fuel up in every sense of the word.
Felipe Garcia 1912Things were not always so easy for road trippers. I recently listened to an audio cassette recording of my grandfather describing a road trip he took in 1917 from San Diego in Duval County all the way to California. “In those days,” he said, “the roads were almost impossible. There were no paved roads. It was a hard trip.” But, he made it.
Four Pump Gas StationI definitely inherited my grandfather’s yearning for the open road. As much as I enjoy my travels around the world, there is nothing quite like getting behind the wheel of my pick-up truck and exploring Texas highways and byways. I love the fact that I can drive all day and still find myself under the vast Texas sky. And, of course, I have seemingly endless options of places to stop and refuel.
Two Pump Gas StationAs I venture down Texas roads, I always keep an eye open for abandoned places. These idle and lonely structures draw me in and stir my imagination. I am especially fascinated by abandoned filling stations, the places where the generation of road trippers before me stopped for fuel and refreshment, perhaps an ice-cold Coca-Cola and a Moon Pie.
Gas Station EncinoSome of the abandoned filling stations I have come across are from the days of full-service — when someone actually pumped the gas for you and even cleaned the bugs off the windshield. I started driving in the days before self-service pumps. The lowest I ever paid for a gallon of gas in those days was eighteen cents. And I bought more than my share of Cokes at filling stations.
Sky Chief Gas PumpThe old abandoned filling stations on remote stretches of highways remain as mute testimony to our restlessness and yearning to explore the places near and far from us. They made it possible for the previous generation of road trippers to see and explore more of the Lone Star State and places beyond.
Texaco Station The next time you are on the road, take a moment to reflect on the role of the filling station. We are certainly fortunate to live in a day when we can travel as far as we like — and, on well-maintained roads. But, were it not for the humble filling station, we really would not get very far at all. They are indeed an oasis for road trippers.

4 thoughts on “The Filling Station

  1. Hey Omar, you defenitely have to meet Mike and Frank from The American Pickers. They love old fill stations too! I like your blog!


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