The van was due for a check up/oil change and I drove to a dealer in Billings to do the work. I found the Cabela’s that I stayed at last year and first thing in the morning went to the dealer. I got an express change and was out of there in an hour. Next stop was to find someone to look at my batteries to figure out what happened. Cabela’s mentioned Bretz RV and I drove over to see what they would find. I explained the issue to the technician and he offered to take a look to see if he could figure out the problem. I met him in the back of the lot where there were hook ups and emptied the back of my “garage”. There he opened up the battery cases and found that the bolt had come loose and the wires were sparking. Geez, a fire could have started! The wires were a little melted and he explained how that happened. Then he got a wrench and tightened everything up. We tested the outlets and the lights and everything now worked again. I asked him what the charge was and he said nothing, but I gave him $20 and thanked him profusely. Onward!
I stopped at Pictograph Cave State Park near Billings and took the short hike to the caves. One of the caves featured a wall of pictographs dating back to prehistoric times. The site was small, but interesting. Since there was a lot of spare time before my next camping reservation, I drove to Glacier National Park. 6 1/2 hours later I arrived at a KOA and asked for a site. They had one tent site left and I paid for 2 nights and drove to the site. Geez, it was tiny and I could barely back in. Fortunately, the second day I was able to move to another camp site that was easier to back into. The first day I drove to the lower entrance and took a nice hike by the lake. It rained a bit but was still OK. I bought my sticker at the gift shop and was happy. It was a beautiful trail and though it rained, the ground was solid enough to walk on. The rain sounded so peaceful that I made a short video of rain in a pond (see my Instagram account). The next day I drove to the main park entrance and was told that I needed a reservation to get in (I tried to get one the night before but had no internet access). The guard let me go to the ranger stop and he explained that the reservation was only for 6 am to 5 pm and entrance was free otherwise. So I went back to my site and waited until 5 pm and was able to get into the park. Apparently, there were a lot of people waiting for the free entrance when I returned at 5 pm. There was a bear sighting on the road, but I couldn’t find a parking space, and the rangers made me move on. It was raining again, but I drove up the road anyway until the road closed part way in. Turned out that I was 2 days early before the Going to the Sun Road opened. It was kind of a waste of time because there was nothing to see in the rain. Bummer! I felt like I wasted a lot of time driving up there, and Browning, the nearest town, was in Indian territory and was a little creepy. I had to get gas there and left ASAP. Maybe I’ll visit Glacier again when the pass is open.
The morning was beautiful the day I left and as I was driving toward my next destination, there was a moose on the shoulder of the road ahead of me. I slowed down and the car on the other lane did too, and we watched the moose cross the road and jump over a fence. That was my first moose sighting! What a beautiful animal.
Montana is a beautiful state! There were hills and mountains, and you could see the Rockies in the distance from the highway. There were farms and the sun just made everything pop. The drive was very picturesque and I stopped a few times to take some snaps. When I finally arrived at my camp site near West Yellowstone, I was exhausted and just parked the van. I’d be here for a few days and only wanted to rest.