> Samantha Kolovson

The Gathering Of The Clouds

31 August 2016


With a big day of driving ahead and wanting to get as close as we could to Glacier National Park, we got up early, grabbed a quick breakfast, and got back on the road. Our goal was to get to Great Fall, MT around dinner time. We had no service soon after leaving Rapid City so we pulled out our Triple A map of Montana to follow our route. This showed we would be going right through the Cheyanne Indian Reservation passing the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Since we got a National Park Service annual pass, we don't have to pay extra for entrance to any parks or monuments so we decided to stop and check out some history.

From there we were about an hour from Billings, MT where we planned to stop for gas. When we stopped I noticed the air condintioning wasn't blowing cold air anymore as it was 95 degrees out and the air blowing in the car just seemed to make me sweat more. I found little alarm in the air conditioner not working, but dad said that sometimes that indicates a bigger problem. Because I am somehow lucky AF I selected the only service center in town that didn't have their garages full, thank you again google maps. They apprently had three cancelations for the afternoon so they brought the car in pronto and within 30 minutes found the problem. A wicked expensive part had failed and if we kept driving it might freeze up and break a ton of other expensive parts in the engine. We verified both the price of the part and what would happen if it froze on google (This trip was made possible by Google, no joke).

At first the guys at the shop said they wouldn't be able to replace the part until the morning in which case we would be held up in Billings until around 11 AM. But then they said they would have us on the road by 5 PM. And they did. Thank you mechanics at Valley Service Center in Billings, MT, you did well by us. Also thank you to they owner of the Honda CRV that brought his car in the day before because he/she is the reason the mechanic could do it before closing.

How by conincidence or luck and the mechanics who were real menches we were back on the road by 5:30 PM, I don't know. And so we decided to push on to our original destination, still another 3.5 hours away. There are several wild fires burning up Yellowstone at the moment and the big sky of Montana was covered in part by haze from the smoke moving north. On one side the sky was light blue and on the other hazy, dark, and clouded. It made for quite a dramatic view as we climbed up and down through the country side. And when the sun began to set the orange rays only broke through below the cloudline making it look like the horizon was on fire. It was somber and beautiful and continued right up until 9 PM, an hour after sunset, when we reached Great Falls.