Montana or Bust: We Have Arrived
(Sorry for the delay in getting this posted. It’s been a bit hectic since our arrival, as you’ll find out…)
After a good night’s sleep at the rest area in Anaconda where we parked at the end of Day Three, we hit the road around 10 on July 4th, expecting to reach Wayfarers’ around 1pm -ish.
So, when we took off from the rest area, we had 3/4-1/2 a tank of gas. Plenty of fuel to get us to Wayfarers’, right?
Hey, did you know that in addition to a lot of hills, there are not very many gas stations along Montana state highways? I didn’t and that led to our first harrowing adventure in Montana…
Somewhere between Deer Lodge Prison Farm and Lincoln, Bessie got so low on fuel that the fancy shmancy fuel/distance guesstimator wouldn’t even register how much fuel-to-distance we had left. No gas stations. Anywhere.
Panic Mode Engaged!
Many very tense, anxious, worried minutes pass as Courtney and I both count down the miles to the next Podunk, Montana town and simultaneously praise Bessie for making it each passing mile on whatever fumes are left in the tank.
We finally stumble (crawl, is more like it), in to a little town we don’t even know the name of, and find a fire/rescue/EMT guy talking with a few other people in a dirt lot. We pull over and start explaining our predicament.
“Fumes?”, he asked.
Here’s where the “We’re not in Arizona anymore, Toto” realization begins…
EMT guy directed Courtney to a lady that owned a small store in town that sold gas and diesel. While she was talking with the lady, he admired our Command Center, and talked to me about my fubar with the gas — it was never mentioned, but he and I knew it was nearly a “Revocation of Dude Card” infraction and next time, fill up, even if only 1/4 down.
But I digress.
The store owner lady (“OL”) did have gas and directed us to go down the ‘main road through town’ to the store where we could get fuel.
About that main road…
Small town. 4th of July celebration in progress. Cars parked on both sides of a sometimes pavement, mostly gravel, barely wide enough to walk side-by-side, not to mention navigate a 1 ton dually, pulling a 35 ft 5th wheel. Navigating felt a bit like this:
We finessed our way to the diesel pump. The diesel pump with the “nope no fuel” bag over the nozzle.
Holy stranded motorists with a giant trailer, Batman!
Courtney ran in to the store to talk to OL, naturally.
So, in Montana, apparently everybody drives a ‘rig’ and they’re all diesel. Combine that with the 4th of July holiday and the only gas station around for miles, you find yourself in the same predicament we found ourselves.
The OL was, much like EMT guy, very kind and opened up the pump to let us get anything that it may have been holding in the depth of it’s tank. We squeaked $14 of diesel from that otherwise empty tank.
Having sucked the last of the fuel from the pump, we still had to get out of town and back on the road. To do that, we had to back out of the lot (there was no room to maneuver our trailer and truck forward).
Once the townsfolk realized what was underway, they stopped what they were doing and started snapping pics and taking video of the crazy chick backing up the rig and trailer.
Courtney’s backing up skills are ‘old hat’ to her and it went off with nary a snag and we went on our way. To the next town. With fuel.
With a full tank and peace of mind, we continued on to Wayfarers’ state park.
We turned in to the park entrance and waited in line with the other visitors. I immediately recognized the Park Ranger directing visitors as none other than the one and only “Ranger Amy” — the very person that “hired us on” as camp hosts.
As our turn came up, and Ranger Amy leaned in to give us parking directions, we said “Hi! It’s Greg and Courtney your new camp hosts.“
By the look on her face after she processed that statement, you’d think we pulled up in the Publisher’s Clearing House van and presented her with a giant cardboard check.
“OH MY GOSH. I’M SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU GUYS! WELCOME!“
Ranger Amy announces over the walkie talkie, “Guys! Our new hosts have arrived! They’ve got a BIG rig. Make sure they get to their spot!“
“Can you guys help us out today after you get settled in?“
Sure! (We had already been advised it was hectic, being 4th of July weekend, the park being short handed and such and I actually expected to be put right to work).
We drove up to the entrance booth and received another joyous welcome and directions to the host site that was to be our new home for the next 3 months.
As we arrived at the day use/camp ground main area, we received another joyous welcome chorus from the employees and other volunteers.
We told them we would need about 30 minutes or so to get set up — unhook, sewer, electrical — the basics.
“Oh, take your time. We’re just SO GLAD TO SEE YOU!“
Four crazy days of travel ending with a hearty welcome that more than made up for the nerve-wracking last leg of the trip.
So what was the first day like and how has it been since then? Well, you’ll just have to wait until the next blog post!
Now that things have settled down and we’ve got somewhat of a routine going, there’s definite times where I can sit down and keep everyone updated on a more frequent basis.