West Yellowstone, MT 8/22
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We tried to get another early start leaving Green Valley Campground but it was not to be.  When we arrived the night before, I noticed a strap that wasn't rolled up in the large slide-out awning properly.  No problem, I unrolled the awning and then rolled it up again.  However a plastic clip that holds the awning in place for travel broke.  So it took me about 20 minutes to fabricate a workaround with zip ties but I finally got the awning in place and was confident it would remain in place at 70 mph.

OK, we're ready to go.  Denise returns from the office from mailing a letter as I pull out of our space.  She informs me that one of the roof vents is open.  How can that be?  I know I closed them.

It seems as the vent is not connected to the mechanism that raises and lowers it anymore.  And to get to the actual vent, I need to remove the screen.  All I have to do is remove two screws.  Only these are not "normal" screws.  They require some special screwdriver with a square tip.

I remember seeing an Ace Hardware in town last night so we go there and see if they have the screwdriver I need.  The guy there just can't believe he's out of them.  If he had known, he could have ordered more last week.  A lot of good that does for me.

But fortunately, he has an old one with a damaged tip in his tool box in the back.  He lets me borrow it and I manage to remove the screws.  I secure the roof vent with some more zip ties and then purchase two philips screws to replace these stupid square ones.  Now that it's nearly 10:00 am, we're on our way at last.

Just west of Billings, we hear a faint "clank clank" coming from somewhere.  I pull over to find that a piece of angle iron that is part of the frame has broken loose on one side and is barely attached on the other and we're dragging it down the road.  Luckily, it is not a major piece of the frame but I'm sure it is important or it wouldn't be there.  I break the angle iron off, throw it in the bed of the truck, and we continue on our way.

The next large town is Bozeman.  I pull into a car dealership to see if they can weld the angle iron back in place.  They can not but assist me in finding a muffler shop that is on our way and allow me to use their phone to confirm.

The guy at the muffler shop was great.  He claimed to have worked as a structural welder in the past.  I explain that this is the second time this piece of metal has broken.  He can't believe the "piss poor" job that was done previously at RV Travel World.  He welds the iron back in place and then checks the corresponding piece in front of the axles.  The welds are fine but the actual metal is cracked on both sides.  He welds it back together too and completes the whole process in about an hour.

Now we didn't talk price before he started and I'm an out-of-town traveler who's basically stuck and at his mercy.  He could screw me royally by charging almost anything he wanted.  But when he was done, he just looked at me and said, "How 'bout forty bucks?".  Now I just paid $65 for the shitty job at RV Travel World that only lasted for a few thousand miles before falling off again.  I told him I'd give him sixty so he could buy himself a beer.  This is the kind of "niceness" that you find outside of metropolitan areas.

So needless to say, we didn't complete the 451 miles to West Yellowstone, MT until about 6:30 pm.  We stayed at Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park.  It's a nice park but expensive at $40 per night.  But then as we remember from last year, everything in and around Yellowstone is expensive.

We played a game of dominos at the picnic table while rehydrating after our long day.  Then it was chicken on the barbeque and a little TV before going to bed.

I took a few shots of the area around the park.  You can see them by clicking the links on the left.

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