My road trip to Montana was less than smooth. I could write pages and pages just about driving here! My one-day 12 hour trip turned into a two day adventure. I was counting on stopping along the way, I just didn't expect to HAVE to stop in Idaho for 26 hours. Oh well, life goes on. Plus, I found a lot of comedy in Cour d'Alene. But alas, let me tell you about my car... and the little clutch that couldn't.
My clutch started slipping going over a huge mountain and the mechanic in Kellog sent me back over the mountain I had just come from. As I was driving, the clutch was getting worse and worse and started to smell like it was burning. I was really worried! Then the clutch went completely out. I could feel exactly when it happened. I had no power at all. Fortunately, I was able to coast into an exit for a "boat check" station, where these four people were checking boats for invasive species (mussels, they said). Even though my phone didn't work, one of the woman had service and called me a tow truck. Then they all sat with me and talked with me until the truck came. Bev (My car. That's right. I named her) stopped working at the only place along the 40 mile drive with people. What luck!
The tow truck driver was nice, but started talking about how I would probably be in Idaho for a few days... I think he could tell I was about to cry because suddenly he switched topics to how he was going to "pimp his ride" on his other tow truck. He went into all the details about the engine, the paint job, the custom back seat, etc.. He didn't seem too impressed with my idea to add spinners to his wheels. He said, quote: "Um... no. If we add new rims they will be solid aluminum. Tow trucks don't have spinners." Then he went into detail about the difference between automatic and manual semi trucks, and seemed impressed that I knew the automatics would have less power. He was still rambling though, so no crying for me.
After I arrived at the garage, I was told they would look at it the next day and that I would have to find a hotel. They called around for price quotes for some local motels, and even drove me to the cheapest one (trust me. It was CHEAP). I was told to get everything out of my car that I "wanted," which seemed odd to me, because I wanted everything in my car... I had hand selected everything for Montana. Oh well. I grabbed my laptop, a change of clothes, and my makeup bag. When we pulled into the hotel, the man didn't even park. I was told, "this is it." So I checked in. I started watching Castaway, which should have made me feel better, but I felt as stranded as he was - six hours away from anyone I knew, with no car (yes, yes, I realize being stranded on an island with a volleyball for a friend for five years is worse than spending one night in Idaho... barely).
The next day the mechanic called and said that I had welded my clutch to my fly wheel. In his 15 years as a mechanic, he had never seen anyone do that before. I think he was impressed at my ability to break a car. I checked out of the motel at the last possible minute, and asked the front desk clerk what I should do to kill an hour. He pointed me to Big K... like shopping at Kmart would make my dreams come true. He also told me that both Portland and Bozeman are "shit holes" and I should choose somewhere else to live. He warned me about the "gays" in Portland, and the "Indians" in Bozeman. I smiled largely at him, and said, "Oh! I work with the queer community and I LOVE the Native American population. Bozeman sounds GREAT!" He seemed a little shocked, so I went on my way. I ate lunch, which was good because I hadn't eaten since noon the day before, then walked every aisle of Kmart three times. I am sure they thought I was robbing the place, so I bought new flip flops and some hair ties. I also read every greeting card in the store. I should start a greeting card company some day. It would be called "Actually worth it greeting cards." And all of the cards will actually be funny. But I digress...
I was finally able to get back on the road! The mechanic gave me back my car along with a HUGE bill (Thanks mom!) and sent me on my way. He told me I had two nails in my tire and sent me to Les Schwab. When it was finally Bev's turn for her check-up, the mechanic said he couldn't find any nails. I told him a mechanic had sent me here and he offered to check again. This time he found them! He came out and said, "There were two nails... your mechanic circled them for me!" I thought it was weird that it took him two tries to find nails that were MARKED on a tire, but it was FREE and I was on the road again!
After that the drive was pretty uneventful. The speed limit is 75 in Montana so I FLEW down the freeway. There was one scary hill where my speed limit remained 75, but trucks were cautioned to go 25. I felt like I was in a rocket as I cruised by all of those trucks! I had dinner with a friend in Missoula, then finally arrived in Bozeman! I haven't seen much of it yet, but I am sure I will have more to report soon.
I can't wait to see BOZEMAN!