An American AdventureAway We Go Logo


Troubles In Montana

July 27, 2006

After getting a late start out of Edmonton (around noon), we headed off down to Montana. In southern Alberta, Canada, it is just about as flat as can be. Once you get out of the city there and start heading south, there's nothing but farm lands for as far as the eye can see.

As we approached Montana, it began to get hilly again. And right about at the border there was a mountain. The more we drove the closer it got. Eventually the highway did curve around it, but not without some steep grades. Now the temperatures were a lot warmer than what we had been used to. It seems as though the lower 48 is going through a heat wave right now.

Also happening at the same time was the fact that our gas was getting low, REALLY LOW! However I didn't want to stop at the last Canadian town on the border and pay $5-$6 per gallon for gas. The next town within Montana was just 30 miles away. Checking the digital gauge on the motorhome, it said I could go another 100 miles before empty. Ok, let's go for it.

What I didn't know was that the border was kind of down in this valley and once you pass through it, you're climbing back up. Now the transmission started acting up as if it didn't want to downshift and was bogging down. This happened once before going from Vegas to Southern California. The best the motorhome could manage was about 20 mph up the hill. And at this speed, in this gear and climbing, it was only getting 4 mpg. Now my chances were not good!

OK, so lets run down the situation here. We were extremely low on gas which meant no generator and no a/c in warm temperatures, and the possibility of running out of gas. The transmission was acting up and barely able to climb hills. Oh and did I mention that the sun was setting and it was starting to get dark.

Once we reached the top of this one hill and leveled off, I decided to pull over and disconnect the Blazer and have Cricket drive it. This should allow the motorhome top climb easier.

Well that led to another problem. We hadn't driven the Blazer since we left Alaska. It's been hooked to the motorhome for the last 5 days. The brake booster used for towing drains the battery over long periods and the few times I've run it at rest stops, were not long enough to give it a good charge. So I had to break out the small trickle charger I had, hook it up, and wait.

After a few minutes, I was able to get it started. By this time the motorhome had cooled off and without having to pull the Blazer, it was sailing down the road and hasn't acted up since.

Once we arrived at the next town, I filled up the RV and the Blazer with gas. There didn't look like any good place to stop for the night, so we continued down the highway. Just a few miles further was a rest stop where some truckers had also parked for the night. By this time it was about 10:00 pm, so there we decided to stay as well.

The next day we continued on down to Helena, which is the capital of Montana. Not to far from the capital building was a WalMart. This was a perfect spot to park the motorhome, unhook the Blazer and drive it to visit the capital. Once we arrived there, I also decided to call MotoSat and have them reassign us to another satellite now that we're in the lower 48. Needless to say that 4 hours later we still did not have internet through the satellite. During this time, Cricket and the boys went to a nearby restaurant, ate lunch and went shopping at WalMart. By this time we had just decided to stay the night there and visit the capital first thing in the morning.

This morning, we drove over and took a tour of Montana's capital building. It was small as we expected, but not as fancy as others either. Not a lot of marble or gold on the inside, but carved wood. It still look good though.

Now back to the motorhome and down the road to West Yellowstone. Once we decided on a campground and setup, I decided to get the Datastorm internet satellite working again. This time though, I called the installer Bill Adams instead of Motosat. Before long, he had me connected and online. Thanks Bill! If you're interested in getting a satellite for internet, visit Bill's website at and he'll get you setup.

It is again late in the day so we decided to just stay here one night. Tomorrow we'll drive the RV into Yellowstone. We're told they have plenty of parking for RV's near Old Faithful. So we'll stop and see it as we continue southward.

One day we'll come back to Montana. The way the past few days have been though, it is time to move on.

See you again soon,