Big Road Trip Day 7, July 13 – The Bad News

BRT Day 7 – Boardview MT to Medicine Wheel National Monument, Bighorn Range, Northern WY

Every road trip needs it’s challenges. This was our first big challenge day. Igor, (yes our Sprinter has a name), has been running a bit warm and seems to be spitting coolant out from the radiator cap. Igor is not a spring chicken and we purchased him, 3rd owner from a fella who didn’t seem to take great care of him. The first owner was a contract plumber or similar that used Igor for a work vehicle and it seems like maybe he didn’t take great care of him either. We’ve always thought of Igor as our Sprinter rescue. He was a diamond in the rough but like all rescues, he came with issues and they can still show up here and there.

We decided to try to find someone to take a look at Igor while we were in Billings. I say try to find because many mechanics won’t work on Sprinters. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I found a very friendly and helpful shop in Billings that could get us in and promised we could be out of there by noon. The shop is called Christian Brothers. They are reasonably priced, super helpful and seem quite honest and up front. I would not hesitate to recommend this shop to a friend.

Now a side bar. Here’s a bit of a confession. I have to admit that when I found a place called Christian Brothers, I really was hoping that Christian was the family name but based on the many heavily handed religious billboards I was seeing, I didn’t really believe that would be the case. It wasn’t. There were bibles on the lobby tables, Chrstian rock on the radio and the place is even designed to look churchy. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Christians, or Jews, or Muslims, or Hindus, or Sikhs, or Daoists, or Cree, or Pastafarian, or… ANYONE. I personally consider myself a Buddhist leaning atheist and I feel a bit like this on the whole religion thing. By the way, if any of my friends of many faiths would like to sit down and have a real discussion about belief systems, I’m game. Just let me know.

Off my soap box and back to the story. Tom and I, (thanks to the wonderful help of Christian Brothers) find out that we had a head gasket that is “going”. So we spend the next 2 hours calling mechanic friends for advice (thank you European Car Clinic in Salrm OR) and looking for Sprinter mechanics that can do the work we need. Linden Auto Repair and Engineering in Golden Co could get us in next week so we’ll be in that area on Tuesday and will be stuck there for several days, without our van and with a dog. Ugh. Not a great scenario in this heat. But yay!! For getting Igor fixed by someone who knows what they are doing. This shop is well known for Sprinter repair.

Meanwhile, our fabulous friends George and Terri live in Boulder, so hey, unplanned visit with great friends on the horizon.

Fosco knows what to do in this heat.
Hot but very scenic

We are continuing our planned route to Devil’s Tower. In the 95 plus heat with lots of stops to let Igor cool down. We’re in Wyoming now as I write this. I’ve been in Wyoming twice. The first time was in late November and it was -35 deg (doesn’t matter C or F at this point) and our water tank froze solid. This time it’s incredibly hot, 97 deg F. There are no trees and we’re heading up a 10% grade soon to get to Medicine Wheel National Monument.

Later that day…

We enjoyed beautiful views and sunset on the top of a mountain pass after hiking up to the Medicine Wheel in the Big horn range in WY. This is a very spiritual place. I did 3 laps around the wheel with my mala, om mani padme hum. I thought about Marcy, my recently departed friend, and the time we went to a sweat lodge together with our Medical Acupuncture Group and I had a good cry. There were Elk in the meadow and coyotes yipping. The wild flowers are blooming and it was gloriously cool.