We're taking our time getting to the west of Helena. My aunt lives out that way and we really haven't ever met. I woke up this morning early, 0620 to be exact. The trains were rollin by all night and sleep was restless at best. The neighbors here in this free campground are obviously working in the area, and must roam from one free campground to the next. The jerk across from us ran his generator all night long, and we had to listen to the hum. I'm restless and looking for something to do today. I breeze through some websites and find a hike along a local creek. It's 6 miles, and only 16 miles away from the campsite. Cool. Lets do that
Three miles in and we hit our first obstacles. Little did we know this would continue for almost the next 13 until we got to the trailhead. I've driven on gravel a bunch, but not like this. The picture doesn't do it justice. This hill is about a 25° slope with rocks about 6 inches high. It's ok though, Shirley doesn't mind.
We peddle up the road at about 10mph. The rocks are good sized and we don't need a puncture out here in the middle of nowhere. Shirley doesn't fail, and we make the whole trip in 2wd. (Well worth the time I spent putting the limited slip diff in)
An hour later and we end up at the trail. The GPS said an hour when we left. I thought it was stupid. Turns out I'm stupid. The dog jumps out and we grab our gear. Into the hills we go to explore unknown territory.
We plunge into the hills with vigor. It's already 1000 and the heat is on it's way. I hate this heat. It sucks. Forward ho we continue so that our readers can live vicariously through us. In order to diverge my picture taking into more than rocks, I snap a shot of the dog.
Fast forward to 1130 and this has become stupid. We're tired, hot, and pissy with each other. This is a dumb idea and we should just go home. Hangry, we pop a squat and grab some snacks. Life is better, let's trudge onward. This is why we're doing this, to experience. And what an experience it became. The steep up and down hike finally gave up the goods. A dull roar in the distance had to be water. Thank god, cause I'm ready to stop.
I take off my shoes and pants. Whoa whoa whoa, this is a pg-13 blog. I left my underwear on. I walked in up to my knees. The water was so damn cold I couldn't take it. My feet were numb after a minute and out I came. Another snack, a few pictures, and it's time to roll out. It's supposed to be in the mid 90's and the kitties are in the RV with no A/C.
Not a bad way to spend a Thursday. Sitting here in the RV with the AC running I count the pennies being burned out the tailpipe. No more of this. We need to head north. Just one more stop before the great vastness of Canada. What do we call canadian geese when we get there? Geese? I hate not being a local sometimes.
Billings MT- Townsend MT
It's a good feeling to have Roo fixed up and rolling west again. The cruise control is on and the heats are stable. She chugs along without any complaint and I can relax again. Katie is riding shotgun as we hit Crazy Mountain range and churn on towards our home for the night.
I spotted this piece of rustic art on our way through Big Timber MT during a fuel stop. It was created back around 1900 out of metal and a hammer. All of the seams are made by an arc welder. Just awesome. The movement continued west until we ran into Indian ground camprgound outside of Townsend MT. This is the place we will call home for the next couple of days. Life could be worse.
Pretty scenery? Yep. Good views from rim rock? Sure. More trailer parks than we have ever seen in one area? Check. Billings is alright, but it's not home. A city of 110,000 people and the biggest place in mighty Montana.
After a visit to Rimrock park we meander our way back through town and over to Roo for the night. This time a parking lot stay over at Sam's club.
The whole RV moved. The whole thing. It's 0515 and something just hit us. I jump out of bed and go to the front to look around. Our neighbor for the night at Cabela's clipped the mirror with his trailer.
I'm outside looking at the damage and the trailer is nowhere to be seen. Two minutes later and a man pulls up with his fifth wheel and truck. Turns out he felt it on the way out and wanted to come back to make sure it was ok. We exchange information and he offers to pay the bill. It's people like that who restore humanity in my eyes. He could of have just left. I'll order the parts and install it myself. If this man is willing to do right by me, I'll do my part to do right by him.
We finish off breakfast and load up Shirley. Roo is getting dropped off for the exhaust manifold repair and we have three cats and a dog that need to go somewhere for the day.
We set up camp at riverfront park. The park is clean for the most part except they have a problem with canadians. I hate canadians. Those bastards just shit wherever they want, and strut around like they own the place. Stupid geese. Th day of stress has caught up with me and I just can't take it anymore.
The day clicks by and we lounge around the park like a bunch of homeless bums. People come and go. They see us sitting at a table, with a dog, a laptop, and a tent full of cats. They must mutter to themselves "These people must be nuts".
Time clicks by. Tick tok. Tick tok. I've never really stressed out to much in my professional career. Things happen, stuff breaks, life moves on. Now I'm sitting in the park and all I can wrap my mind around is the continual thoughts of what if... " What if it's not done tonight, what if the head is warped, what if they they break a few manifold bolts?" These scenarios run through my mind throughout the day. This is all we have, and our budget is shoestring thin. The phone rings. Some damn telemarketer. The hours continue to tick by until 4pm. The shop closes at 5 and I'm ready to call them. The phone rings again "Kenny?" the voice asks, " We're all wrapped up here. She's ready to pick up" Sweet relief after a day of worrying. We load up the animals into Shirley and roll over to Roo.
Sunday morning rolls in and we slowly pack up for the road. We are both going about our normal move out tasks. Katie is making breakfast and putting things away, and I'm outside unhooking the RV and prepping the jeep for the next leg of the trip. I'm groggy and tired from the night before. Hungover or not, we've got miles to cover. Roo has a hot date with Rocky Mountain Cummins in Montana on Tuesday and it's still a couple of hundred miles away.
Three miles out of town and trouble strikes. FLASH! The check engine light comes on. I immediately let off the gas and start sweeping the gauges. The tachometer is bouncing up and down. Not good. I pull over and watch the gauge and listen intently. Motor sounds good. Rev's up ok... guage must be the problem. In an effort to make the boys jobs at the Cummins shop easier I sprayed the motor off the night prior to rid it of two weeks worth of dusty back road filth. Bad idea. I call up the shop that is going to do the work and he tells me what sensor feeds that signal. We leave Roo sitting on the side of the road for a parts run to town. I pop into O'reillys and pick up the sensor I need along with a few tools. I've only brought a limited selection.
Under the RV and laying in the gravel I begin the tackle the job. Turns out the sensor is tucked behind two pumps on the side of the motor. An absolute nightmare to get to it. After 45 minutes I am finally able to get the socket on the bolt to loosen the mount. Yeah, 45 minutes just to figure out how to thread the extensions through the wire harness and mounts of the power steering pump and injection pump. The bolt comes out but the sensor is wedged in. Another 2 hours trying to create some sort of extraction device and I get nowhere. Time to give up and move on.
I don't like to give up. It bothers me. Alas it's 1500 and we still have 3 hours of driving in order to get to Billings. I put everything away and fire up Roo. Gauge is good. No check engine light. Guess she just needed to know that I cared.
We pull into Cabela's around 1845 and breathe of sigh of relief. When will the problems end?
New Salem, ND- Wibaux, MT
Happenings from 7/3/17... fell behind a little
This seems to be a reoccuring thing around here. North Dakota= big ass statues of animals. So we're looking at the map trying to figure out where to go next and we see a little marker that says Salem Sue. The largest New Holstein cow in the world. We have to stop. Not even an option. Of course this time we were smart enough to just take the jeep since it was twenty miles away.
After Sue we hit the road running. Our intent was to get all the way from new salem ND to Wibaux MT. We had made reservations to stay at this beautiful place two days ago. The flat land turned into rolling hills on the west side of North Dakota. The rolling hills then turned into short steep grades. It was 90 degrees out and Roo was feeling the stress. The manufacturers of this fine home on wheels were smart enough to put in a temp guage with no numbers. Just a C for cold and H for hot with a few lines in between. I imagine it was so that non-motor savvy people don't look down and get paranoid by seeing bigger numbers. But how hot is too hot? Here's a quick engine lesson for you guys. This thing has a 5.9 cummins turbo. It's pushing 30k lbs up a steep hill at 60 mph. Basically we were working this little engine to it's max. I watched the needle climb and drop climb and drop. Then it got to the 3/4 mark and I thought.... maybe we should pull over. FLASH! Idiot light for the temp comes on. My heart drops. We can't afford any repairs. No jobs, no friends or family near by, no place to work on this thing myself. We pulled over at the next way side.
After she cools down we hit the road again. Much more gingerly this time. We slowly make our way to Wibaux MT. Just west of Theodore Roosevelt National Park to stay for a couple days at an RV park. Time to fill up with water, wash our clothes, and run the AC. We pulled into this grand palace called the Beaver Valley Haven RV park. What a dump. Picture this... your family bought an RV park and worked their ass off to make it nice. Then the parents died, the kids took it over, they got divorced, and now 2nd husband Jake and the wife Berta are running the joint into the ground. After we set up we literally found goat crap laying around the campsites. But hey, it was $30 bucks a day and that's cheap compared to the next town over asking $50.
I'm just a guy, with a wife, a dog, and three cats. Watch us travel the country.
Months of travel
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies