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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.

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County
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Alec Nolan

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

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