We are, as everyone who has ever met us knows, a wild and crazy family. Or maybe not so much. But when it comes to road travel, we have invented a number of ways to keep ourselves and those around us entertained. Emma likes to plug in to her ipod. Sometimes she sings really loud and off-key while she's got the earplugs in and we all think that's really funny and then we tell her to stop it. Isa and Nate like to punch each other and have pillow fights in the back seat and sometimes throw things at Emma. This is also marvelously funny to the rest of us, and then we tell them to stop it. Matty, a small and generally powerless individual, has found that he has the power to bring the entire vehicle to a halt by yelling "I need to go POTTTYYYYYYY." The true humor of this gag is not apparent until we have left the road and found the nearest bathroom, only to discover that he didn't have to go at all, he was just a little bored. This is especially funny after he has done it two or three times in an hour, and boy do we get a good laugh out of that one.
The wildest traveler of all is El Husbando, who decided that we should see just how far the van can go on no gas before it stops moving. Just for the record, the rest of us chickened out when the car said that we had just 5 miles (or pieces of gas, as Nate likes to think of it) left before empty. We left the road at a place where we could see there were houses, because people who live in houses must have gas nearby, right? Or not. But they would know where we could find some gas, right? Or not. Around the time that we had 4 pieces of gas left, we happened upon a yard full of people who must all have been from a totally different place, because no one was too sure where we could get gas nearby. Eventually, they agreed that our best bet was to get back on the highway and drive to the next exit where there certainly was gas. This, it was agreed, was no more than 5 miles away. Which was great, except that we had only 4 pieces of gas left, and Florida is entirely flat (except for the highway ramps) so there was no possibility of coasting downhill to save some gas.
We got back on the highway and watched the car display work its way down as we drove. Here is the picture from before we got to the exit with the gas. As you can see from this very fine photo, the car is clearly telling us that the DTE (distance to empty, it is too late to get gas) is now ZERO. As in, there is no more gas in the car and it is now running, as my father used to say, on its reputation.
As it turns out, the car is a big fat liar. We drove for a good mile on no gas and the car did not stop until we got to the gas station. I think we'll try it again on the way home, because now we all want to know how far the car will really go on no gas.