Monday, June 21, 2010

The 2nd Day of My Summer Vacation

Day 2

8:00AM, The alarm goes off. Perhaps our long lost mechanic will call us this morning. I headed to my free continental breakfast for a surprisingly good waffle in the waffle maker. I make a mental note to find the same batter for my waffle maker. Apparently my mental note has fallen off the mental fridge because I have now forgotten the brand to buy.

9:00AM, I start watching Back To the Future. It seems to be what we do when stranded in boring states while traveling. On a ski trip a few years ago we were snowed-in from a blizzard in Omaha, NE and sat in the hotel room all day watching all 3 Back to the Futures followed by Big Mama’s House I and II. Good times for sure.

10:00AM, I head over to the car to fetch our cooler for what I was convinced would be a second nights stay in Billings. What could possibly be done to my car on a Sunday? On the off chance the car would start, I gave it a try and voila, it started and behaved perfectly. I drove it across the street to the hotel and rousted my children to pack up we were going to go hit the road. After the car was loaded and we were going to go I turned over the car. Click Click Click. The battery was too low. I used up my remaining power for the first start of the day and did not have enough left to start. I ran across the street to the gas station and bought jumper cables. I then went back into the hotel to find a suitable donor. Sure enough but the owner of the hotel was there and offered to jump start my car. I figured he might have been a journeyman mechanic because he had a Ford F250 pickup and as anyone knows the ability to fix cars corresponds directly to the size of your pickup. My car did start from the jump and we hit the highway. Not before giving the night clerk a nice endorsement for customer service, however my capitalist friend did not look amused.

10:25AM, We return after two miles of travels we had to deviate back into Billings to a NAPA auto parts store as the same conditions had returned. Repression and ignoring work so much better on humans than cars apparently. The NAPA sent us to the only shop open on a Sunday with mechanics in downtown billings. We head to Expert Tire.

11:00AM, The man at Expert tire says he’ll look at it but feels certain there will be little he can do because he is not a Volvo dealership. However he waited a bit to tell us this just as we were getting to the end of Back To the Future Part II. We now know we are doomed to stay in Billings another night. We scouted out the only Volvo dealership in Montana which thankfully was 6 blocks away and then found a room at the Crowne Plaza which was also 6 blocks away.

12:00PM, We check in to the Crowne Plaza and head back to Expert Tire to get our stuff from the car. We figure it will be a nice looking hobo parade hauling our stuff 6 blocks down but the nice man at Expert Tire just told us to haul our stuff down to the hotel in the shop pickup. This really is not like other places. The keys were of course on the dash and it was truly an elegant brown Chevy shop truck that looked grand pulling up to the Crowne Plaza.

12:30PM, I finish up Back to the Future Part II of course. It certainly is a good distraction to contemplate the complexities and paradoxes of time travel.

1:30PM, Back to the Future Part III has started but the kids and I have a mission. We need to move the car from Expert Tire 6 blocks to the Volvo Dealership. When we last left the car at Expert Tire it again was low on power and needed a jump to get started. Also it seems like it was again having a hard time starting. We were confident that we could push the car a flat 6 blocks due to the combined hard core athletic abilities of the 3 of us. I refused to pay $60 to tow it to a place I could almost see from Expert Tire. When we got there, a determined young man was trying to diagnose the car despite telling us they couldn’t do anything about it because no one has Volvo parts. He gave me the codes though and the problem was an Engine Coolant Sensor and the Thermostat. He explained why the car has a proclivity to speed when it doesn’t know the proper temperature. It sounded like Monday morning would be a breeze to just have the Volvo dealership change those out and hit the road. One last jump and remarkably the car started and instead of pushing it to Volvo we drove it there.

2:15PM, We walk back to the Crowne Plaza. One observation about downtown Billings. Besides being dead to the world on Sundays, it has got to be the hobo capital of the state. Perhaps due to the lack of things like cities and such all the Montana hobo’s have to wander downtown Billings. Per Capita it must be a very high homeless rate but it must suck when you options as a homeless person are limited to like 5 cities in the state at best. I pondered whether perhaps those weren’t exploded deer on the highway but just unfortunate hitchhiking hobos. Thankfully we were able to watch the end of Back To the Future Part III and contemplate the settling of the old West and the unlikely ability to make a train version of the flux capacitor.

3:00PM, Started over with Back to the Future Part i

5:00PM, Toy Story 1

7:00PM, Toy Story II

9:00PM, gaaaaack bored. Time for a glass of Schnapps.

10:00PM, took a look at the Billings night scene. It turns out it is not the lights of clubs or Billings night life or casinos but rather the lights of the Oil Refinery. Hmmmm I guess it’s time for bed. Better luck tomorrow.

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