Mr. Hauge in the desert
“The only thing we had in the car, because I drove a Jeep back then… I had a shovel, a gallon of gasoline in the gas tank…no, no, I didn’t have a gallon of gasoline… I had all the things to make him think I was gonna kill him,” said Jeff Hauge, English teacher at PHS. He is known for the unbelievably entertaining stories he tells during his classes.
On Thanksgiving in 1994, he was traveling from San Diego to Lake Havasu, Ariz. His companion was his current best friend, Scott. They ran out of gas and decided to fill up in a small town called Rice, California. They later found out that Rice was not exactly a town; it was an intersection — zero standing buildings and zero residents.
They managed to park next to a roadside assistance call box, where they talked repeatedly to an emergency operator named Diane. They were stuck there for over six hours because the tow truck kept getting sent to the wrong place.
“We were on Route 62 and she kept sending it [the tow truck] to…40, interstate 40…no, 68,” he said. “You know, you get to know somebody pretty well after seven hours.”
This explains why Scott and Mr. Hauge are now best friends; even though the situation was defined by Mr. Hauge as “murder-y.”
Mr. Hauge also mentioned the train scene from “Fast Five” was filmed in Rice.
After waiting by the call box for a while they started to get bored and decided to have a bit of fun with Diane.
“He looked around the car and saw that I had everything that looked murder-y, and we parked the car next to the call box, and we listened to the radio for a little bit, so he picked up the phone — I mean literally it was right there, ‘cause this is before cell phones because I’m…old- and uh, we just called Diane and talked to her. This guy just picked up the phone and said:
‘Emergency roadside assistance-’
‘Diane, this is Scott… I love you…and Jeff here, this is what we have in the car, and he listed off all the things we had in the car and was like ‘Is he gonna kill me?’”
Mr. Hauge described Scott’s reaction as his friend started looking at the objects in the car with a laugh, “You have a shovel, you have a tarp… and I wasn’t bothered by it I was having a fine day.”
Eventually, the tow truck that was sent did show up to help them out, albeit being very late at night. Mr. Hauge said on the way back to San Diego, they stopped at the same call box to wish Diane a Happy Thanksgiving.
We talked to some PHS students during a lunch hour to ask them what they would do if they were stranded in the middle for nowhere.
“Cry myself to sleep,” freshman Sophia Tate said.
Freshman Andrew Hogel was more strategic.
“I would try to find some running water, running water will always lead to civilization.”