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Deschutes County

Last gas: 100-plus pump-less miles on Hwy. 20 east of Bend test drivers’ prep

Stranded drivers a familiar issue for Brothers store, tow company

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Stranded in the middle of an unfamiliar place, with no one in sight who can help: It's not something most of us want to experience.

The lack of gas stations heading east from Bend on U.S. Highway 20E might be a big surprise, especially for people from outside of the area or new to the route, and so some travelers end up stranded as a result.

Valerie Durantini and her husband found that out the hard way Monday morning on their way to Idaho. The two were stuck in Hampton for over two hours, waiting for AAA to send out assistance for gas.

While they waited, three other vehicles stopped outside the Hampton Cafe dealing with the same issue, and asking the same question: Where can we get gas?

Based on Google Maps, the nearest gas station is Riley Store & Archery, 105 miles east of Bend.

"This isn't about me," Durantini said. "This is about the safety of others on the road."

We spoke with Bar Towing in Bend to see if this is a common problem.

"So what we end up finding is people trapped because of no fuel at the Brothers Stage Shop or at the rest area about a quarter-mile down the road," Operations Manager Sean Loftus said. "I've been doing this a little over 15 years, and we get multiple calls every month."

The owner of Brothers Stage Shop, Talya Taitano, said stranded drivers are a constant issue at her place, but she can't afford the $90,000 it would apparently take to put in a gas pump.

Taitano said she has been looking for assistance from Deschutes County to ensure nobody has to survive in extreme weather conditions with nowhere to go. But she said she's never heard back.

We reached out to ODOT, but they have not provided a comment at this time.

The continued problem does beg the question if signs warning of the gas-less route would be a good idea before one heads too far east out of town.

"I don't think there is any signage that indicates there's no fuel for the next 100 miles," Loftus said. "That is not a sign you see very often in Oregon."

One thing is clear: Make sure you have a full tank before heading east on Highway 20.

Bend / Central Oregon / Government-politics / News / Top Stories
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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.

Comments

36 Comments

  1. In the age of paper maps such oversights might be understandable. But in the age of pocket computers for the masses what, some people can’t even take 10 seconds between texts to look at the route they are driving?

    So now we (the taxpayers) are expected to put up another sign that basically just says “hey stupid, do you know where you’re going?”

    1. “Oh no! Not a whole sign, with lettering and paint and everything!?! The burden that puts on the taxpayers!” Calm down boy. It’s just a sign. Not worth giving yourself the vapors over.

    2. In rural Oregon, the maps on your phone are riddled with errors. Especially when it comes to gas stations. The cost to us to put a couple signs up is absolutely minimal.

        1. You’re right, DT. Let’s just remove all the informational signs from the highways and replace them with personal responsibility. Think of all the money we’ll save! You’re going to be the most popular politician for it.

        1. That’s if the map is loaded before getting outside coverage. Also, the road and path will show but nothing else. This occurs in the very remote areas. Elon Musk was trying to establish coverage in order to prevent issues like this.

  2. There is a sign at Foster warning there is no fuel for 69 miles, the distance to Sisters so why not a sign at the Alfalfa turn there is no fuel for 100 miles, the distance to Riley, A state sponsored sign is a lot cheaper then a state sponsored service station.

  3. On second thought, why are not people being more proactive when touring and reading maps for what lays ahead of them? I know we do when traveling, and never let the tank get less than half full just in case you want to take a side trip.

  4. “This isn’t about me”….that’s a lie, and not a very good one. This is about you not paying attention, and it biting you in the hind end. They’ll blame trump and think it’s his fault kate brown won’t put a gas station with free everything in the middle of nowhere

  5. Hope these brain-dead drivers never travel through Nevada where long gaps without fuel are the norm.
    —————-
    I’m amazed how clueless some folks can be when traveling in unfamiliar country. Granted, sometimes in small towns with one gas station that place can be out of fuel (looking at you Fossil, Paulina, Post). 😱. Been there had that happen to either me or friends, but we had enough fuel to continue on.

  6. Good headline. Also, gas up before heading over the passes. One wreck in the winter and you could be stuck in the pass, waiting in line, depending upon your car to keep you warm.

    AND, one of my favorite Mark Twain quotes:
    ““A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”

    1. Absolutely. Winter is the most critical time to prepare but even during the summer
      if there is a really bad accident or other emergency, and they close the road for long periods of time and put in detours, you could run out of gas in the middle of nowhere…

  7. Looks like it’s time for a nice big Love’s out there with all the bells and whistles. Have driven this stretch many times and never had a problem, except changing a flat out there in no mans land.

  8. That Riley store is pretty cool. 🙂

    IIRC, part of the problem might be that Google Maps says that one of the little towns alone that route does have gas. I guess they used to.

    Yea it’s kinda surprising that there’s no “next gas 100 miles” sign.

  9. This isn’t anything new, it’s been this way for many years. Years ago the store at Hampton had a pump but that’s been gone for a long time. With all the traffic on that road,
    a small station or truck stop would do really good business but it’s extremely expensive
    to put tanks in the ground these days,and the actual profit that they make on each gallon is very small, so it would take someone with deep pockets…

    I don’t have a problem with them putting up a last fuel sign somewhere, they have been using
    them for years, but the problem is, people don’t think and they don’t plan.
    It’s really stupid to travel areas they don’t know, especially in the winter, and run their tank down really low not knowing where the next station is, but you can’t fix stupid…

    1. The same people that lack the common sense to have at least a half a tank of fuel before driving out into the desert are the same ones that wouldn’t read a sign either. Then they’d complain about the sign not being big enough, or not having flashing lights, or it not displaying in multiple languages.

      Always some fault but their own.

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