6:15AM, I arise early on a glorious Billings morning. The sun is shining brightly off the oil refinery. There is a starbucks in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza in a rare showing of civilization. I walk to the Volvo dealership to make sure I am the first one in line to get my car looked at and repaired. There still is no traffic pouring into Billings. Even the hobos are not on the street.
6:45AM, The service manager is opening the garage door and I successfully get my car booked in right away. I wish I had known the mechanic didn't show up until 8:00am but I'm content to drink my coffee, read Motortrend and listen to Fox News in the background. Apparently there's been an oil spill somewhere in the gulf...at least that's how the news seems to convey it.
8:00AM, I have completed reading a fine comparison of 2010 8 cylinder muscle cars. Apparently Mustangs have edged out the Camaro and Challenger to win most categories in the 8 cylinder rankings. I assume Mustangs perform better because they have less weight due to the lack of bailout packages and bankrupcy proceedings.
8:30AM, Bob the car salesman comes in for a stint at the desk. I'm sure car buying customers will be streaming in soon. We strike up a conversation in the mean time. We talked about a lot of different subjects for the next two hours. First of all Bob went out to his car and got an atlas to show me the best route to get to I-15 as we were now modifying our journey to head straight to San Diego and skip Portland, OR. It was good advice and he did not even have Google Maps on his phone. We then talked about Hyundai's and their vast improvement in the last 25 years. I discussed the Motor trend article I had just read comparing the American 6 cylinder versions of the muscle cars and the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe was thrown in. Well I'll be schnuckered but the Hyundai beat out all those American muscle cars. There it was sitting on the showroom floor too. We then discussed the exploding deer. He told me how prevalent it was and to be careful on the rest of my journey as the deer are everywhere. I was just relieved to know they were not exploded hobos. I learned that Billings has 125,000 people and has grown significantly in the last 10-15 years. Wells Fargo has a large communications center employing a lot of people. Also GE I think he said had a new group there. Before this recent influx of companies most people were ranchers or worked at the oil refinery. One woman about 65 years old came into the showroom as well while her 2004 Hyundai Tuscon was being repaired. She was looking at the 2010 model in the showroom perhaps contemplating a new purchase. I let Bob handle this one despite my research in Motortrend. However I think I did assist Bob when she sat down finally by the magazines and I showed her the articles about Hyundai's and their exceptional reviews. I'm pretty sure I'll get a partial comission on that sale the next time I see Bob. Bob lives approximately 12 minutes away and has two kids. One lives in Butte and the other in Idaho Falls, ID. Actually those were his 2nd wife's kids. Bob had an appointment at the new Honda store on the west side of town at 10:00. I knew where this was because we had exited the highway twice at that location. I was getting very familiar with Billings at this point. I told Bob the next time I came through Billings we'd get together and have lunch. Maybe grill out some Elk or Deer venison. Yummm.
10:00AM, The car is complete. It seems to be starting snappy and I'm very pleased. My children have already packed up the room and we load up and go. The trip of the year resumes.
12:00PM, Did the car just stutter a bit? No that must just have been the road.
3:00PM, Ok the car is stuttering and misfiring. This is not cool. We are approaching Idaho Falls. Kt could you please start finding all the Volvo dealerships in Idaho Falls?
4:00PM, All the Volvo dealerships have been located. There is Boise, ID 150 miles the wrong direction. There is Salt Lake City 200 miles ahead. There is Las Vegas which is 500 miles ahead. We will try to get to Salt lake city before 7:00 and hopefully it will be open.
6:55PM, We reach Salt Lake city. Nice looking city by the way. There are more temples in SLC than Walgreens for sure. Car is losing power on hills more and more and is misfiring more. Dealership closed at 6:00pm. Okay car take us to Las Vegas. We're going to roll the dice and get lucky.
9:00PM We are approximately 200 miles from Las Vegas. The car is now barely getting over the hils at 25 miles per hour. It is straining in low gears to make it. The turbo is stressed and we are losing speed. We are approaching Cedar City, UT and it looks like we have to make a decision. We stop for gas in Parowan about 18 miles from Cedar City and notice a new symptom. We are belching white smoke like a western wild fire. Our fate is sealed. We drag the car to Cedar city and find a Super 8 Motel. Kt has located an Enterprise Rent-a-car where we will just have to find a shop to work on the car and we will rent a car to finish up the trip. Since we have to return this way anyways that gives this theoretical shop 4 days to locate parts and fix this oddity known as a Volvo. A vehicle as yet unkown to those in the west.
10:00PM, I notice the continental breakfast has the same waffle mix as the Sleep Inn in Billings. I am excited.
11:00PM, I scan the channels for any Back to the Future episodes. Finding none I retire for the evening. Kt has been relaxed and stress free this entire time. Ike was unusually chipper and smiley the whole ride. HAHAHAHAHA. Just kidding. I assure them that many of their friends will be very jealous that they were in Cedar City, UT and to just go to sleep and dream of waffles.