The Five Star DEF Story: Truck Stop “Blues”, Blue Highways, no Blue DEF

After wiping my hands on a paper towel, and wiping down the truck as best as I could, I re-entered the store, waited in line again for 5 minutes, paid for 5 gallons of diesel and 3 gallons of DEF about $28, went into the restroom to clean up, and got back in the truck to resume our trip. The pets (and Kathryn) all turned their noses up at my strong aroma of diesel and DEF (ammonia smell). It only lasted a few days and we all got used to it after a while (NOT!!!).

We talked about the “truck stop experience” and agreed that it would be much better to seek out packaged DEF whenever we could, and store it in our pickup camper (we were wrong; more later). We got off the interstate and continued our scenic byway route with a great visit to Mount Rushmore.

Later that day, at a refueling stop, I looked for packaged DEF at the small-town station we had stopped at. There was none on the shelf, and when I asked the attendant about DEF, they said they had never heard of it. On our route across northern Nebraska thru the scenic Sand Hills on US20, and into central IA on the same route, we stopped for fuel twice more. At one stop, no DEF, no knowledge of DEF. At the other stop, a Shell station in a town with population under 500, there was a place on the shelf for DEF, but no inventory. An the price listed was 11 dollars per gallon. The attendant did not know what DEF was. Clearly, we were going to have to wait until we reached Waterloo, IA to find some.

We arrived in Waterloo IA on day 5 of our trip. We had a great visit with family, except for the tornado warnings that went off five times that evening. We found Brand X DEF at the auto parts store at just under 8$ per gallon including tax. I bought 2 gallons, and realized I’d need a funnel. I asked the counter person about storing it in our vehicle, and what the expiration date was, since it was not marked on the bottle. There was a code printed on the container, but there was no date evident in the code used for the marking (more on this later in a post titled “The DEF expiration date Secret Decoder Ring”). I got a blank stare from the counter person (this was becoming a pattern). Twenty dollars later, I left the store wondering why DEF supply and knowledge seemed to be such a rare commodity.

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