After loading up and bidding our hosts farewell, we got back on the road and aimed the TSX northward towards Tennessee and the city of Knoxville. Knowing nearly nothing about the city, aside from the fact that it was near the Great Smoky Mountains, we both looked forward to the visit, especially since it was an opportunity to see some friends we had not seen in a while. Since the stay would be short and our hosts were themselves returning from a road trip, we decided that we should take the opportunity to visit downtown Knoxville and relax a bit, possibly sneak in a massage before dinner.
Of course, things never go quite as planned. The combination of a bit of traffic and at least one detour as we were leaving Atlanta resulted in us being a touch behind schedule. As much as we tried to take advantage of the higher speed limits to make up for lost time, we were going to be getting into Knoxville a bit later than expected. It was not really any cause for concern, of course, since we had budgeted plenty of time. Then the low fuel light came on. Normally, this signals that there is approximately 2 gallons of fuel left in the tank and at our current rate of travel, we easily had plenty of range to make it into Knoxville and then gas up.
As we arrived in Knoxville, the remaining range display on my dashboard went to zero, so fueling up was to be our first order of business. Unfortunately, it appears that top tier brands are not popular around downtown Knoxville because we struggled to locate one nearby and ended up having to drive a little ways to eventually find one. We followed Google Maps, thinking that the information would be relatively up to date, but the first option was a dud, dropping us at a sketchy-looking run-down location that clearly was not an active gas station. We changed course and found another option not two miles away. Rounding the corner, I could see the station off in the distance, just beyond the next set of stop lights. At precisely that moment, the engine voiced its displeasure with a cough. I nursed the car to the light, keeping it moving and trying to optimize the use of momentum, but the car was fighting back at this point. The light went green and I gently nursed it through, hoping that we had enough momentum to make the last 30 feet, but alas, no such luck. The TSX unceremoniously sputtered out as I attempted to turn into the gas station.