A Trip Across the USA
Jon Vermilye's Photo Page
May 12 - Missoula
Well we are settling in in Missoula. Our first problem is to find room in the van for two other people. Our usual method of packing for one of these trips it to keep our clothes in laundry baskets, one on each of the back seats. It works great for camping & pull up (outside corridors as described by AAA) motels. Not so good for hotels or inside corridors. The rest of the space behind the front seats is filled with coolers, cameras, etc. So, feeling like the Clampetts, we moved enough extra stuff into the room to fit Don & Anne in the van. Of course, this is rug cleaning day for the motel, so not only did we have to move everything in, but it needed to be off the floors & furniture. Made a small mountain on the bed!
Missoula has a new, well organized airport with parking much closer to the baggage area than Syracuse. We talked with a gentleman waiting for his wife of 61 years to get off a plane from Seattle while waiting for Don & Anne's plane from Salt Lake City. We managed to fit them & their baggage (no mean feat) into the van & made it back to the motel. Since the temperatures are expected to be below freezing most nights this week, they extended their stay at the motel as long as possible. Unfortunately, since this is graduation weekend, not much is available for the end of the week.
Karin & Brian made it back to Missoula last night. They said their truck saga was too long a story to tell over the phone, so we will have to wait until we see them to hear it. They called us on the cell phone to let us know, but the first call they got "This Cingular phone in no longer in service" message, and the second time they tried, it went immediately to voice mail. The phone was on & showing full strength all this time. On top of that, the phone is suppose to indicate when you have new messages - nothing on the phone...
May 12 - Missoula Continued
We stopped at Walmart to buy a lamp for my end table at the motel. I don't know why, but the only reading lamp they provide is a 4 - 40 watt fluorescent fixture over the bed. It lights up the entire room; great for reading, but not so good for me reading & Carol sleeping. After that we dropped Don & Anne off at the "Dollar Rent-a-Car" to pick up their car for the next two weeks, then off to see Brian & Karin.
Their truck seems to be fixed. The engine would shut off when it felt like it, a bit inconvenient for traveling. On the way to the wedding it quit so that they needed to be towed to Wheatland, Wyoming. After checking a number of things, the mechanic found that using a test light to check one of the modules temporarily fixed it. So, Brian bought a test light, and between Wheatland & Denver, every time it stopped, they got out the test light & restarted it. Not the best solution, but it got them to the wedding. On the way back, it died for good, strangely enough, in Wheatland, Wyoming. The same mechanic ordered a new module, but while removing the old one found the problem was with the mounting, not the module. With a good cleaning & a new application of silicon grease the module held up all the way back to Missoula. The most interesting part of the adventure was the mechanic, even after hours of work, including cleaning the gas lines and other attempts at fixing the problem, wouldn't charge anything because he felt he didn't actually do anything to fix it and made a mistake ordering the new module (which he didn't charge then for). I need this guy in Oswego!
We all decided it would be good to visit the Smoke Jumper's Museum out by the airport so Karin called & the answering machine said they were open for the season. We drove out & they were closed. Fortunately, we ran into someone who had keys to the place & he opened the doors, turned on the lights & exhibits and stayed until we were done. Unfortunately, we couldn't find him when we were ready to leave, so we couldn't thank him, but it was much appreciated by all.
After lunch, we stopped to see the Carousel. This is the only one in the country built entirely by volunteers. Wonderfully carved horses, a great mechanical calliope, and a fast, great ride. I had a problem getting photos of the grabs for the gold ring, but included one of Don trying. Brian got it! The Dragon theme continues into the "No Smoking" sign in the men's john. Sorry for the flash reflection, but I only had the small digital camera, which doesn't allow a bounce flash.
Don Grabs for the Gold Ring
No Smoking Sign
All of Us in a Mirror
May 13 - More Missoula
Our plan today is to drive to the Buffalo reserve NorthWest of Missoula.
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Last Update: March 25, 2012