Up bright and early. Out of the campsite at 7:30 I know the Chevy dealer opens at 8:30 and it’s about 30mins away. Stopping with the parts I needed to replace at every auto parts store I passed. After 5 or so it was clear from the lack of availability and the chincy appearance of the part in the pictures they showed me that I need to be at the dealership. Parts houses wanted about $45-$55 for this hose assembly. Eventually, after somehow dropping nearly $40 at McDonalds for breakfast, we make it to Don K's Chevy dealership in Whitefish Montana. I show the parts guy the piece and tell him some of the story and what seemed like an eternity later it's my "lucky day" they have one in stock, only one.
I ask how much, knowing it doesn't much matter if he tells me this 2 foot rubber hose is $500, I'm buying it anyway. They’ve got me, whatever the price I'm buying. But it was only like $62 dollars. He kindly reminds me not to loose the spring clip from the old hose as the new one does not come with one. I walk out with the new part. Loralea recognizes what’s up and is appropriately elated. The other three are in the middle of some significant strife and Charlotte and I had a brief 1:1 at a nearby picnic table. I think we all understand the situation and we start back towards the Suburban. When we get to the suburban I had the whole scenario planned out in my head, I had grabbed my laptop and inverter from the Suburban last night so the girls were going to be able to put a movie in the laptop they were charging on the way there and watch a movie while I figured out how to fix the suburban. I was going to connect the rubber host spring clip end first so I could be slightly more aggressive with the twisting and pushing and only after I got it in place and its natural curve line it up to the connection that needed to be made I would try to connect the other end. I didn’t want to do it the other way because I didn’t want to stress the plastic fitting on the heater core. That was plan A. I had worked out through about D or E in my mind, instead of sleeping last night. The spring clip end went on just fine and easy and once I removed the old plastic clip from the broken hose the new one literally slid on with the most gratifying but yet suspicious click ever. Could this really be that simple? Adding as much cooling blood back to her as she could initially stomach I thought to myself as I stood there on the bumper looking into the engine compartment, what am I missing. Ok well here goes nothing lets try it. I tried the ignition and click, click, click. DAMN, ok well I had left the hood popped for a long time yesterday and that work light under there probably killed the battery. I jumped it from the rental Subaru and it fired right up. I looked, no leaks, I sat and watched the thermometer and it eventually slowly started to climb and then stopped right were it was supposed to. I was elated inside and cautiously optimistic outside.
Now, how do I get both these cars out of here? A car came and asked if everything was ok, I explained the situation and they told me they were going north not south which I didn’t believe because there’s a fire up there and the border is closed but I can totally understand their reluctance, Oh well. I had texted with Randy Middelton earlier and he was going to be available to help me by driving the rental back if needed. I got the jumper cables put away and closed the hood on the rental and got prepared to ride down to the KOA where the Middeltons are staying. About that time a Toyota with three women came around the same corner the Middelton’s one ton had come around less than 18 hours ago and they stopped and asked if we needed any help. I'd learn latter they were Andrea from MD, Julia from TN, and Margaret from Seattle. I explained the situation and how if I could just borrow an adult to follow me out in the rental and one of them said something like "oh, God sent us. We’re were just heading down to the Polebridge station to see about breakfast but none of us are really that hungry we just felt like a ride all at the same time“ then another said “makes sense now this is exactly the kind of thing we love to do”.
Down the dirt road we went yet again this time feeling better than any of the two times before.
I stopped at the Polebridge Mercantile as that’s where they were headed to get some breakfast. I asked them what they were planning to get and I eventually got one of them to tell me they were very curious to try the cinnamon rolls. I went in and got three. I was really shocked and impressed with the selection of stuff including water bottles in there. As I delivered the cinnamon rolls I asked if they didn’t mind if I took just a second to take my tiny girl in to pick out a water bottle (she has been the only one not to have brought a good one or get a new one on this trip and she’s a little jeally) They said of course and I snatched Carlea up to come in and see if she saw one she likes. I told her if there was a water bottle here she likes we could get it because it would have a good story attached and I’m probably never ever coming back here again.
She picked one out and we were back on the road.
The trip to return n the rental was fairly uneventful. When we got there I talked with and thank the women for their help and they told me about how their travel theory was that “The real adventure starts where your plans end”. Oh this is my kinda people here. We then discussed the journey as the destination and as I write this I realize that this is maybe even a spiritual perspective. Not as far as Carrie Underwood goes in “Jesus take the Wheel” but when you travel without plans and really push your “comfort zone” you are truly putting your trust in your higher power, for me it’s God, and things always work out for me exactly as they are supposed to be.
This experience has clearly shown the children to stay calm, believe there is an intrinsically good nature in mankind, work through problems. Wow, what a lesson to have been obliviously a part of.
We have to get the rental fueled and cleaned to save a $100 service fee.
The rental is shined up and returned, a day early thank you very much. We had it less than 24 hours but Bowman Lake ate two days of our Glacier trip.
I stopped and got a new air filter for the suburban and we washed and vacuumed it. This was some real “Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance” stuff but it needed the pampering.
We got back to the campground, in the Suburban with just the right amount of time to get cleaned up and leave with time to spare to be at our friend Jim and Mary’s for dinner that evening. It was such a comforting feeling to be back in the Suburban and it running mostly fine.
Of course there was already a line for the shower and there was traffic getting out of the park but I expected it now and had left at 4 to make the 45min trip from the park to their house. As we turn out of the park
We stayed in this road construction traffic not moving for 45-55 minutes. All the while with no cell signal to call and let them know what’s up.
When I finally got some cell connection it seemed we be there about 6:40. That’s almost 3 hours to make what should be a 45-minute drive.
I let them know and they were fine with it.
When we got there it was so nice to see a familiar adult that I could talk to. This past 24hours was a story that needed to be told, if for nothing else to get it out of me and behind me.
The children had a delightful time and we had a great dinner.