I was all ready to leave Monday, but the weather forecast changed and I read it is supposed to be -39° in Polebridge tonight with -55 below wind chills. Ouch! So I started to think of alternatives and asking God for the wisdom to make a good decision.
I’ll make this short! With Jackie’s help we found out that some hotels have plug in outlets for vehicles and we found one in Great Falls. It was already 10:30 am, but I thought if I left immediately I could make the 5+ hr trip to Great Falls where it will only be -22 below tonight, and I could plug into their power (being on grid has advantages).
Before I could leave or make the reservation I had to get the Van started. Last night it was -22 below at home so this would be a good test for the Great Falls option. After hooking up a second magnetic block heater and connecting my battery charger for an hour I tried to start it. No go! But it turned over slowly. I waited a little longer and tried again, three more times. Finally, it barely started and I was off.
The van ran well. The road was a little sketchy through the lower end of Glacier Park, but I soon hit mostly dry pavement after I got past East Glacier.
In winter the roads heave and I bounced my way all to Great Falls. It’s quite exhausting. Nonetheless, I’m so glad my plans changed. I would never have gotten the van started tomorrow (I may not here either, but I have a shot). Also, I think God knew, and your prayers helped; I would not have made the Glendive objective in one shot, I’m exhausted.
Exhauted because I was cold while driving and all the bouncing on the road. It was between -5 and -15 outside the whole way and the van got as warm as 54° and as cold as 45°. I realized after I got here that I must have bumped the off/on switch for the diesel heater and it clicked off about an hour before I got to Great Falls and that’s when I froze. I thought the inside temperature was a result of falling outside temps. The van also has tiny air leaks that I must get fixed should I do somthing as crazy as this again. For now I just stopped and used duct tape! Always bring duct tape on adventures!
Well, that’s it for the first leg. I start all over again tomorrow, maybe. If the van does not start I’ll stay another day, I’m retired right! No deadlines! The next leg is the worst, both road and weather wise, gusty winds are forecasted and cold temps again. Goodnight from Great Falls.