Monday, July 1, 2013

Serendipity, Good Friends and Heat

Sunday was a different kind of day, but all good.  I was up early......5:15....the Tour de France starts at 5:30.....we wanted to get out of camp around 8:30 so we could get to Billings, MT early in the day, fuel up, and visit with our Nomadic friends, Chris and Cherie (Technomadia)  who are marking the end of their second week at Interstate while their 8V71 Detroit Diesel is rebuilt.

As I exited the coach around 5:30 I could already feel that warmness in the early morning air portending a hot day.  It has only been recently that we have experienced a couple of days in the low 90's.  When you've been used to mostly 60's and 70's for a long, long time it takes a bit to re-acclimate yourself to hot and dry weather.  We didn't take much out on our arrival, so putting away what we did get out took little time, and we were able to pull out of the park exactly at 8:30.  Our 4 traveling companions, the McCloud's and Olivier's, were going to leave a little later in the morning.....the McCloud's were going to attend church, and the Olivier's were only heading to Billings for the day, while the rest of us would meet in Columbus, MT....about 42 miles west of Billings.

Of course our initial destination was Billings where Chris and Cherie are currently domiciled. We had also located a Flying J with propane and diesel, both at decent prices.  We're getting a little low on propane, although if we don't use the generator for A/C we could probably be good for several weeks, and we were down to 1/3 tank on the diesel side.  Our goal is to enter Canada with close to a full tank of diesel to avoid having to fuel up there....diesel is close to $4.50 per gallon.  If we fill up north of Great Falls we can get into and out of Canada without having to buy least that's our plan, right?

The drive west on I-90 continued to be beautiful....the vistas are so big.  The terrain was more hilly, and we went up in down several hundred feet in elevation several times, but the 6V92 performed well, and the temps stayed in line getting to 200 degrees on a couple of steep climbs. 

Billings was only 130 miles from Sheridan, so on the way we stopped off at the historic site of Little Big Horn, the scene of Custer's famous "last stand".  The parking lot was jammed with visitors, and we had a difficult time finding 62' to park in, but we finally succeeded after a couple of failed attempts.

Standing on the high ground where Custer and his remaining 41 troops made their fated final stand

I failed to mention that our parking "spot" ended up taking 10 regular car spots as the RV parking area was full.  We decided to park there and apologize later......well, later came in about 15 minutes when we heard an announcement over the PA system asking who ever owned a vintage motorhome with a large cargo trailer to please move from the car parking area as "you" are taking up 10 spots.....:-)  It's all good.....we saw what we wanted to see, and besides it was very, very crowded with weekenders and tour groups, so we made our apologies and moved back down the hill to I-90.

We arrived safely in Billings around Noon, and as we were exiting to fuel up we heard an air horn tooting and saw the Olivier's cruising on by.....headed for the local KOA.  The RV islands ended up being one island, and there was a waiting line of at least 3 RV's ahead of us, so the propane plan will have to wait until Great Falls.  We decided to use the truck lanes where the fueling is much faster.  By paying cash, and using our Flying J frequent customer card we got the price down from $3.84 to $3.75 per gallon.

Chris and Cherie's location, Interstate, was just about 4 miles from the Flying J, and we were there in just minutes, and exchanging hugs....we last saw them in Melbourne, FL where they stood by us during our fuel mishap (I put 50 gallons of unleaded into my diesel tank by accident).

You can see the back of Chris and Cherie's Zephyr in the background

We sat in our coach talking for a while, and before long we got a call from the Olivier's who had finished checking in at the KOA, and wanted to also visit with Chris and Cherie.  They were there in minutes and we headed over to a local ale house for lunch.  As it turned out the ale house was a "little" understaffed and it took us almost 2 hours to get our lunch, but it was all good as we sat talking about everything under the sun, but mostly about our lifestyle, of course.

Tom and Darlene McCloud called about half way through lunch and said they would meet us at Interstate and continue on to Columbus with us when we returned from lunch.

Our nomadic convergence at Interstate in Billings, MT!  Note, Tom is still in his "Sunday go to meetin' clothes"

Of course, all really good things come to a conclusion, and by this time it was 4 pm and time to get on to Columbus where our evening quarters awaited us, along with 50 amps of power to run our A/C's.....did I mention it was HOT!

We arrived in Columbus after an uneventful 42 miles, quickly checked in and plugged in to begin cooling our coaches down.  Monday we are off to Great Falls, then into Canada!

Thanks for stopping by!

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