We’re pleased to report we’re spending the night in Billings, MT after wrapping up the engine work on the ’11 this morning.
Of course, we took our time making sure we got it right, but from the time the engine was cool enough to work on to the time it was hot again was right at 24 hours, and, as you may recall, that included some bull riding and sleep. Granted, Scott did all the hard work, and we think he was pleased when we finally left him alone to work while we went bull riding. (Okay, we didn’t really go bull riding but we know a lot about bull so watching the professional riders, including a young man who graduated high school just last year, pretty much makes us competitive in the sport.)
With engine repairs completed, it was time for one of our batteries to die, which it did this morning. In and of itself, not having a battery to start the car is not a major issue unless you happen to not be parked on a hill. It’s pretty straight forward to jump-start a T when you’re on a hill: hold the brake, throw it into high gear, switch the magneto to the “on” position, release the brake while holding neutral with the low-speed clutch pedal, and release the pedal when you’re coasting fast enough to turn the engine over a few times via the driveshaft that’s now turning with the wheels. (Don’t forget to put the low speed clutch back to the neutral position once the engine starts or you’ll need more hill.) We’ll see about replacing the battery tomorrow, maybe, but it’s under the rear seat which is under all our luggage and spare parts so when we do change the battery it will be in the morning before we pack up or in the evening when we unpack.
Overall, we have to say our time spent in Wyoming was exceptional. The scenery is beautiful, the weather (this time of year) is pleasant, and everyone we met was friendly and welcoming. If you ever find yourself in this neck of America we’re sure you won’t regret it. We didn’t.
But we’ve moved on to Montana for a spell and we’ll bed down tonight here in Billings near the Yellowstone River, just a few miles north of where the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River ties in before they both flow on to the the Missouri. We’re going to try to get an early start in the morning to chip away at the distance standing between us and Mount Rushmore, but based on a cursory scan for lodging options it’ll either be a short day or a very long day. Regardless how it turns out, we’ll have Scott and Althea Conger to thank for getting us back on the way.