How Many Paper Towels Does It Take To Mop Up Jet Fuel?

Paper Towels

Ford paid all expenses for the Unminivan Moments road trip from San Francisco to Seattle.  All adventures were a result of the journey.

Paper Towels

Ughhh. I did it again. I booked a flight out of town at the crack of dawn. I was barely awake when I boarded the plane a little before 8 AM. I settled into my seat. Plugged in my headphones, and…got back up, so the people sitting in my row could get to their seats. Just thirty minutes before, those seats had been empty per, and now, I had a full row. I plugged my headphones back in. Back to the Today Show, and slowly waking up. And then…our Captain came on and announced he was finishing up paperwork, and then we’d be in the air.

Lately, it seems “finishing up paperwork”, is actually code for “Houston. We have a problem.” Literally. I glance outside the window, and within seconds make eye contact with the guy sitting in the window seat. What the WHAT, we said together, almost in slow mo. Seriously, it was a jinx moment. Outside, like right outside the window, a few feet away, fuel is dripping off the plane!!!! I kept rubbing my eyes, as I watched several guys mop up jet fuel, with what looked like the largest Bounty paper towels ever. Is this for real?

If I’d had my cup of coffee, or it was later in the day, I might have panicked. Instead, my new friends, Taylor & Mina,and I started sharing travel stories. They were headed back to California from Argentina, until someone broke the plane. Fun times in Customs caused them to miss their original flight, and fate put them next to me. I was happy for the distraction from the fire trucks, and fun news that we needed to de-plane while they replaced a valve. And, most likely, added more fuel.

Watching the clean-up, was like watching a Saturday Night Live skit. I truly regret not passing my phone to Taylor & demanding, um, I mean requesting he capture the moment. Meanwhile, I was wondering who lost the memo? You know, the one that said I’m heading to San Francisco to begin adventures on Thursday in the Ford Transit Connect. Wednesday was supposed to be my travel day. Calm. Uneventful.

In the end, it was probably the best way to kick off my epic road trip. After chatting with Taylor & Mina, I scrapped my official route plan, trading I-5 for Highway 101. A much prettier drive, full of random adventures. Taylor & Mina-if you’re reading this, thanks for the tip about Bottle Barn, and fun CA facts. Hit me up, if you’re ever in Houston.

Stay tuned for #Unminivan Moments recap, stories from the road.




  1. Because the dog is on diuretics now, and when she gets up to go pee I have to go scurrying, or she just helps herself inside, the mere mention of a giant paper towel makes me think “I need some of those!!” Forget the jet fuel. I need them for them for my house. (P.S. Seriously, I read your post strictly because of the paper towel mention! ha ha!)


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