14 October 2009

Yellowstone to Liviingston the Hard Way 09-29-09

Today God must be apoplectic with laughter see (Making God Laugh).

Since there were no places for photo ops that I could take Koty with we packed our bags and headed out. Looking forward to fall colors and new territory for photography. So we head out in the early morning, with great anticipation, to 191. Visions of Spanish Trails dance in my head. About a mile out of town I spy one of those electric flashing signs, which says "191 closed to through traffic due to construction". I could not believe my luck. There was nothing I could do but head back the way I came on 287 and the Madison River.

As we came on Hebgen Lake I saw horsemen and cattle being moved. Most of the cowboys were too far away but I was able to get this photo of a Montana cowboy. This is a real Montana picture to me.

Montana Cowboy

On we went to Ennis and at Ennis we took 287 west through Virginia City and Nevada City, two old ghost towns, both were closed up tighter than a tick. This is one of my favorite images from Nevada City Gallows Barn & Stage. There's a pretty good grade just outside of Ennis and Clementine seemed kind of sluggish. Normally, she climbs mountains like a gazelle with Shadow in tow. Today there was no Shadow and she seemed to struggle. I paid it no never mind.

We continued up 287, along the Ruby River, to Twin Bridges where 287 turns into 41. We followed 41 north along the Jefferson River. I thought this was some very pretty country. I think it's called the Tobacco Root Valley.

Tobacco Root Valley

At the junction of 41 and 2 I decided to take 2 which was to be my Waterloo. 2 is a twisty, two lane road that goes up over the Continental Divide and into Butte from the south. All went well until we started climbing in earnest. Clem went from sluggish to utterly poop less. I had the pedal to the floor and she was winding 800 RPMs and doing about 12 miles per hour. I put on the flasher and we limped up the Divide.

When I got into Butte I stopped at the Dodge dealer. But, more good luck they were not certified to work on Sprinters. The fellow suggest I drive a little on the flat and see if maybe it would work itself out. I drove for a little while and things seemed to be ok.

I headed out on I-90. Right off the bat there is a pretty good grade. Wham! Clem pooped out again and this time the check engine light came on. My luck was good in that there is a weigh station at the top of the grade so I pulled in. I have AAA but I decided to try the Chrysler emergency service. They were very responsive and a tow truck was there in under forty-five minutes.

The driver told me we had a two hour trip east to Livingston. Livingston? That's going backwards! The driver told me that's because t was closest. He spent the next two hours telling me how I should have called AAA, who he also had a contract with, as they would have let me be towed to Missoula, which is in the right direction. Koty rode in Clem all by himself and didn't seem to mind at all. He sat in his co-pilot's seat for a while then took a nap. That dog. He is so flexible and tolerant. I'd do well to learn from him.

Anyway, we ended up at Yellowstone Country Chrysler in Livingston.

Poor Clem

As it turned out I had done precisely the right thing by calling Chrysler. Yellowstone Country is the only certified Sprinter repair shop in Montana. Had I been towed to Missoula I would have either been towed back to Livingston or to Kellog, Idaho.

By the time we got there the shop was already closing for the day. So, I set Clem up and made myself some "Montana Tea" see (Montana Tea). Whilst I was sitting on my steps drinking my tea another tow truck pulled up with a big Dodge diesel and camper on a flat bed. They unloaded right beside us.

It turned out my fellow strandees were Roy and Mary from Redding, CA. We got acquainted very quickly and they invited me over for a tamale and enchilada dinner. No offense to my beloved Montana but real California Mexican is something I do miss. We had a great time.

I had planned on camping at Spanish Creek this evening but instead I am camped out in a car dealers parking lot in Livingston. All things considered it was the best of a bad situation.

©Kinsey Barnard

1 comment:

Michelle B. Hendry said...

The less fun part of the adventure. I hope the situation is rectified quickly!

Love the cowboy pic...