As I closed the bedroom slide this morning, I heard a BANG so loud it brought Odel inside. Uh, oh. What now? We gathered our limited technical wits about us, moved the slide in and out, flashed a flashlight beam here and there, scratched our heads and wiggled our eyebrows, each secretly hoping our spouse would have an a-HA moment. Still not fixed – darn!
To the computer we went, resulting in a few phone calls to repair facilities in Billings, on today’s route. No luck, as both places have a two-week waiting list. We got the name and number of a mobile service operating out of Billings, so we left a message and waited for a call back.
Meanwhile, the slide is only sticking out a little bit (it still moves in and out), so we are once again on the road in our quest to reach Livingston, Montana, on Friday.
We left Crookston, Minnesota on Monday morning and stopped half way across North Dakota that afternoon, at pleasant Roughrider Campground (click here to read our review and see photos) in Minot. Once again, driving through North Dakota’s beautiful, rolling green hills and farmland, we commented over and over on how appealing the state is in summer. Pity the poor pioneer who arrived during the season of lush green grass, bottomless blue lakes, and brilliant sunshine, happily selected his homestead and built his sod house, only to be buried in winter’s blizzards. Surprise!
Tuesday was so unusual for us – we spent the entire day socializing, and in Minot, ND of all places. Boomers Sharon and Don have been “settled” in a campground there for five weeks while Don recovered from a ladder accident – the idea of a visit with them guided our choice of route to the west. We met for a late breakfast at Denny’s, where Sharon and wheelchair-bound Don showed up in the company of another Boomer couple, Becky and Lonnie. After commiserating with Don and Sharon’s plight, our breakfast chatter turned to the usual full timer topics: campgrounds, rallies, places to visit, places to avoid.
Back home after breakfast, we awaited the arrival of virtual friend Sue Malone and her traveling partner Mo. I first “met” Sue when she left a comment on our blog a couple of years ago, and we’ve exchanged emails from time to time. Sue and Mo are on an extended loop trip from Oregon to the east and back, and when it looked like our paths could cross, we were determined to make it happen.
Right around 2 pm, the MoHo pulled into the vacant site next to us, and we finally got to exchange hugs and hellos with Sue and Mo. Their overnight site was still a hundred miles to the east, so they weren’t able to linger too long, but we packed a LOT of conversation into the time they had!
Then, in spite of pouring rain (it had rained all day), we headed to Sharon and Don’s spacious Phaeton for happy hour with our hosts and Becky and Lonnie. At his afternoon doctor appointment, Don’s cast had been removed and he was out of his wheelchair! Sharon and Don were spinning with the excitement of being able to move on. Big smiles all around. After a couple more hours of quality social time and snacking, we took our tired selves home to a dinner of salad and popcorn. :)
On Wednesday, we were on the road shortly after 9 am, heading to Glendive, Montana. All of the sudden, we were in the WEST. The big sky, the buttes and bluffs, the sage covered hillsides and towering cottonwoods. The only green patches are the irrigated crop squares and circles, and the sinuous curves of the riverbanks. What a dramatic change from the green of the east.
Just north of Glendive, we checked into little Green Valley Campground (click here to read our review and see photos), set up, and immediately took off for Makoshika State Park, hoping to find a good hike. Wow, did we stumble on a beautiful surprise – gorgeous badlands, fascinating hiking, and few people. We spent the afternoon exploring the weird formations and enjoying the fantastic weather – big puffy clouds, sunshine, 70 degrees.
As I write this, we’re heading west on I-94. Jim, the mobile repair guy, called back (hurray for cell phones and cell service on the road!) and we’ve made a plan to meet at a truck stop in Billings this afternoon. With any luck, the BANG will just be a blip in the travel plans (fingers crossed).