Saturday, June 25, 2011


We pulled out of Idaho Falls on Thursday morning about 9:00 am after dumping the holding tanks and refilling one empty propane tank.  The drive through West Yellowstone (the town, not the park), then north to Bozeman and east toward Columbus was uneventful UNTIL we made our usual off site pullover to let the dogs run and to stretch a little ourselves.  During my walk around the truck and rig, I noticed the right rear tire on the truck was very low (40 psi).This is not a good thing.  I pulled out the air compressor, fired up the generator and pumped the tire back up to 80 psi.  By the time I got the air compressor put away, the pressure was down to 70 psi.  I checked Barbie (our GPS) for the nearest Tire Store; 28 miles away in Big Timber, Montana.  So, we got back on I-90 and headed east.  I angled the right side rear view mirror so I could keep an eye on the tire.  It was obviously low, but not flat.  We limp into small town tire store where the shop owner takes the tire off the rim, looks at it and says “It toast”.  The tire has “separated”, something I had never heard of, but later found to be a not unusual occurrence on tires carrying heavy loads.  “I only got one tire that will fit” he says.  How much, I say.  He checks and says “$215”.  Well, this is one of those times when you are a captive customer.  I could not go shopping around for tires.  So, $215 later, we are heading towards our destination in Columbus, Montana.  The only good thing about this situation is there is no sales tax in Montana.  We pull into the City Park there about 5: 30 pm, an hour and a half later than expected.

Did I mention the City Park in Columbus is on the edge of the Yellowstone River?  Like every river in the country in Spring and early Summer of 2011, the river is fast and rising.  We met my brother, Jon and his wife Dawn and set up the camper in what we thought was a great spot.  We had my world famous chili for dinner and then it started raining a little bit, then it stopped.  We sat around the campfire until about 10:00 pm and called it a night.  Waking up Friday morning at 5:30, a look outside reveals puddles of water where there were no puddles the night before.  Jon says the river is still rising, causing the ground water in the park to seep out to the surface, sorta like a lot of little “springs” were bubbling up all around us.  We relocate to the highest ground in the Park.  About 4:00, my brother Ron and his wife arrive in their motor home along with my sister Deloris.  Several relatives of Dawn arrive a little later.  About 6:30 we are making dinner plans for a communal pot luck.  The local police come by and tell us we have 30 minutes to evacuate, they are closing the park because of flood potential from the still rising river.  So we go to Plan B; we all head to Jon and Dawn’s house in Billings.  She had prearranged for Ron and I to park our big rigs in a commercial contactor friends parking lot near their house.  We prepare all the food for our pot luck; ribs, brats, chicken, various salads, etc. and are dining in the back yard.  Just as we are finishing up the meal, a huge dark cloud comes overhead; lightning, thunder then a driving hard rain.  I got soaked walking the dogs back to the camper; where I waited out the storm with Sammy and Annie.  When the rain diminished (not stopped), I left the dogs and headed back to the house.  We had a yummy cake and ice cream desert (it was somebody’s birthday).

After a night to think, I decided it would be the safest to get a new set of tires for the truck.  So off to Wal-Mart where I got a great deal on good tires.  I put the new tire purchased in Big Timber on as the new spare.  My old spare had never been used, but was 7 years old.  So now I have a $215 spare tire.  We had lunch in the camper and went to Jon’s house to visit a bit and take the annual group photo.


Saying our goodbyes until next year, we headed down the back highways towards Cody, WY.  We set up at the Buffalo Bill State Park on a reservoir.  What a beautiful setting (considering no trees to note).  I took a couple of pictures from inside the camper looking out.

IMG_4042      IMG_4045

After a fine meal of linguine with Rosie’s famous meat spaghetti sauce, we took the pooches for a walk.  We are settling in for the night.  We will be here until Tuesday.  I have a work appointment in Cody on Monday at 9:00 am; other than that it is relaxation time   We are really liking the idea of spending a lot more time in the camper.

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