During the six days we were stranded in the QT parking lot, Tom and I didn’t have much to do. We didn’t want to detach the truck because it would look like we were abandoning the RV. So we couldn’t go anywhere. We put out the living room slide so we could walk around in the RV. But we kept the other slides pulled in so we didn’t take up too much room. We couldn’t do all our electronic things because we were depending on our solar panels to charge the batteries. This worked really well until the day it rained when it didn’t work at all. We took long walks around the neighborhood and spent a lot of time people watching. Fortunately for us, we were parked at the busiest gas station on the planet.
Why do I call it the busiest gas station on the planet? After spending more than 100 hours in the parking lot, I can honestly say I have never seen a gas station with as much traffic as this one. Here are some of the things we saw during our hours in the parking lot.
We met all the managers and assistant managers of the QT. Every shift change we would go in to the convenience store and introduce ourselves. Every day we were delayed we would go in again and apologize and explain why we were still there. The managers didn’t really care. They were too busy working with all the people who came in. As long as we weren’t creating a disturbance in the parking lot they were happy to ignore us.
We weren’t the only people who used this as a waystop when broken down. We saw several people with flat tires come limping in. Some of them rolled in on spares almost as flat as the original tire. Some of them changed tires in the parking lot of the QT. One left his car here for two days until he could get a new tire and come back to change it. We also saw two tow trucks come in and pick up disabled cars.
The busiest gas station on the planet has twelve gas pumps that are all occupied all the time. Usually with people waiting in line. The diesel pumps are especially popular. One of the frustrating things when you need diesel fuel is to have the one or two diesel pumps blocked by people who could be at any other pump. If you aren’t getting diesel fuel, please use another pump if one is open.
In addition to getting gas, many people used the free air pump to air up their tires. Tom and I always had an air compressor at home, so we rarely used air pumps at gas stations. It seems like all the gas stations in Ohio charge for air anyway. Here at the QT, the air pump is free and people use it all the time.
The store at the QT is open 24/7 and there are usually 20 cars parked around the store. Before there was a winner in the mega-millions there was a long line every day with people buying lottery tickets. Kansas wasn’t selling the mega-millions tickets and this is the first store across the state line in Missouri. Consequently they were extra busy selling lottery tickets. But since the big jackpot was claimed, the number of workers in the store is about right to handle the number of patrons.
The QT store is a small grocery store. They sell a lot of prepared foods like salads and donuts. They have the hot dogs – sausages – corn dogs – tortillas on those big rollers. Those always look and smell delicious although I seldom eat them. And the QT has a Fresh Kitchen where they make grilled cheese sandwiches and pizzas. Tom and I treated ourselves to hot grilled cheese last night and the sandwiches were very good. The QT has a big coffee and tea bar and I know lots of people stop by every morning for a cup of one or the other. One thing I learned: I should never live next door to a donut shop. The fresh donuts every morning at the QT were irresistible.
One surprising thing is the number of deliveries the busiest gas station on the planet gets during the night. The first night two trucks dropped off things. The next night three trucks. Last night it was seven trucks. We notice them because of the beep-beep-beep noise when they are backing up to the unloading platform. Wakes me up every time.
In addition to everything else, people use this gas station as a place to walk dogs, make phone calls, and meet people. We’ve noticed people getting out of cars and greeting others with hugs and handshakes. We watched one couple exchange children twice (shared parenting). Sometimes everyone gets into one car and drives away, coming back later to divide again. Sometimes they exchange an item, talk for a while, and then part.
People watching at the busiest gas station on the planet was interesting. We are thankful that the QT managers let us stay there during our time of need. And we enjoyed our window on the world with all the diversity of human drama.