Dec 28 – departure day – We left Calgary at 10:30 and were headed south to Butte. This whole trip was pretty uneventful – even the Coutts port of entry – US border was easy! The border agent took one look at us and said “your too young to be snowbirds!” and after a couple random questions, we were good to go! The speed limit on the Montana highways is 130 km (80 MPH). We were, by no means, quick – averaged around 93 km/hr (58 MPH).
We arrive at the Butte Walmart around 7:30 pm. Honestly, I could never understand why people parked at Walmart but let me tell you, this is a great place, because we couldn’t bring much for groceries across, so it served us as our grocery store and rest stop. Also, we picked this location for the first overnight stop because we knew there was a pretty big, and long mountain pass south of Butte and wanted to do that in the daylight in case shit went sideways.
We awoke at 6 am with the intention of getting on the road by 7 – it was going to be a 10-12 hour day of driving because we really wanted to get somewhere that was not below freezing (0C / 32F) and decided that Mesquite would be the next overnight stop. Our “early” departure was an epic fail, in fact we left 3.5 hours late! We had frozen compressed air bag system – and you need airbags to drive. I was pretty confident this would take us no more than 2 hours max – and I mean max! We had cleared frozen air lines when we picked Ruby up from storage in Shelby 2 years ago – and that took 2 hours, so I thought we had this in the bag.
Normally there was an air dryer system to prevent this type of issue, but the dryer system she had was fu*&^% and Todd had taken it out. We have every intention of putting one back in, but we didn’t get to before we left. Luckily (I guess), we had all the tools and equipment (brake line anti-freeze/methyl hydrate, a small air compressor, a funnel and suction system (Todd’s mouth!). Also, we were at Walmart, so if we needed anything, we could just buy it. Which we did – we bought 2 containers of IPA (isopropyl alcohol, not beer) and a tire pressure gauge (so we could measure if air was going in the to bags and the primary, secondary and auxiliary tank).
Let’s take a hands up vote right now to see how many people are amazed at my technical knowledge here?!!
Anyway, at 6:15 we were both outside blowing antifreeze in to all compressed air nozzles at all locations – actually we did this twice – and then for the next 2.5 hours emptying and filling the systems and moving the bus around the parking lot trying to get the leveling system sensors to “kick” in and try and move the block in the air system. Todd was not happy he had to put his coveralls on, on day 2! Surprisingly, we did laugh a few times, and even googled “tourist stuff in Butte” in case we needed to settle in for a couple days!
After 2.5 hrs, Todd went to go tap on a couple of solenoid valves (these notify other systems to fill air in to bags or tanks) and low and behold, by the magic in the air and probably our great attitudes…the left side air bags filled up! WooHoo!
Sorry for the technical post, but i think i kept it pretty simple – and leave us a comment on how amazed you all are at my tech verbage!
Lets hit the road husby….next rest stop Mesquite.