Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Virginia to Montana Travel Log

If you love posts with descriptions of our travels and lots of pictures of beautiful scenery, this one is for you. We enjoyed our cross country jaunt even with the high wind and bad weather. There is something almost magical about crossing America the Beautiful!

I posted one of these pictures Friday, but we never grow tired of a view like this, especially when the road is dry and clear!

Is that beautiful or what?

I will have more beautiful pictures from Thursday's drive later in the post. Let us begin on Monday morning in Paducah. We had already driven 732 total miles Friday night after church, Saturday and Sunday morning. Monday we hoped to drive at least 500 additional miles.

There had been high winds in the forecast for our route on Monday, but the forecast had toned down and we were encouraged. We took I-24 to I-57 to I-64 at Mt. Vernon, Indiana. a few miles after we made the turn west on I-64 the wind gave us a rude awakening. The easy day we hoped for was literally gone with the wind.

We drove in 20-30MPH winds out of the WSW hitting the front corner of our bus all the way across the state of Missouri. We turned north at Kansas City on I-29 and hoped we would now get a break.

Nope, the high winds shifted around and hit us from the WNW and kept slamming us all afternoon. We found a nice parking spot at Sapp Brothers Truck Stop near Percival, Iowa after 561 miles and 8 hours and 50 minutes.

The first thing we did was get up on the roof and secure the air conditioner shrouds. We could hear the front one rattling more than normal and we knew the wind was working it over. It is always a struggle to keep the shrouds in place. We go through way too many of those things.

I usually get on the roof, but we do not carry a ladder on the bus. It is much easier for me to lift Kelly Jo up through the escape hatch than it is for her to lift me up. She secured it really good, but it was so damaged from sun and wind, we knew it was not long for this world.

Then we slipped inside Sapp's for a bite to eat.

This area flooded twice this year and the water is still very high. The Sapp Brothers truck stop and many other businesses that flooded are open, but many houses, barns, farms and businesses are still underwater.

This is a picture of the Sapp's when it was flooded. The blue stripe is about where we parked in the completely dry parking lot Monday night.

This is not a lake on either side of the interstate below.

I usually start the car and let it idle for a few minutes when we stop at night and before we roll in the morning to keep the battery charged. The key has to be turned on one notch while pulling. That unlocks the steering wheel. I have been able to pull it two days without starting in the past, but this brand new battery must be weaker.

I started the car on Sunday morning, but I did not start it Sunday night when we arrived in Paducah. When I tried to start it Monday morning, it would not start, not even by pulling it and popping the clutch. Monday night I asked the garage at Sapp Brothers about using a jump box on it and they said it was $45 for a jump. No thank you very kindly.

Tuesday the wind had not abated one ounce that we could tell. It was a fight north to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and all way across SD on I-90. Wow, it was windy.

We stopped for fuel in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday morning.

Within 1/2 mile of turning west in Sioux Falls, SD, we heard and saw the shroud from the front air conditioner blow off. Yep, not long for this world. These are the parts that remained.

 Wow! What a day. It was beautiful and clear though.

We pulled into Walmart at Rapid City and they brought a jump box out and jumped the Green Machine in about 10 seconds. There was no charge. Thank you, Walmart. I would have gladly paid, just not $45!

We were going to park at Walmart in Rapid City overnight, but there is a city ordinance there prohibiting overnight parking. That is not unusual in a high tourist area. We went back one exit to Flying J and we had the choice of the best spots and we took the very best one. We parked in an end spot, highly visible and under a light that lit us up like daytime. Perfect!

Tuesday's drive was 573 miles and 9 hours and 47 minutes.

Wednesday's drive was full of anticipation for us. We love the drive on I-90 across Wyoming and then north into Montana. It is absolutely beautiful and the forecast for the day was cold, but entirely clear and calm.

Within 20 miles of leaving Rapid City, we were in horrendous winds, rain and sleet. That lasted about an hour and then we had a short break in the weather before high wind, rain, snow and low visibility set in for nearly 200 miles. So much for the beautiful scenery we were passing and could not see.😁

I wish I had saved some pictures from the dashcam, but I was too tired to even look at the camera Wednesday night and Wednesday's content was recorded over on Thursday. Kelly Jo did get a few pictures, although you can not see the falling snow.

Yeah, that was a white knuckle day. We stopped for fuel at Love's in Hardin, Montana and then shut it down at the rest area near Park City. We have parked overnight here before and it is a nice place.

Wednesday's drive through the snowstorm and back into the sun was 407 miles 7 hours and 31 minutes. We stopped early in the day and we were ready to stop when we did.

Thursday morning I woke up singing, This is how it feels to be free!

Now for our favorite section of the whole drive to Sun Valley Church. The drive between Billings and Missoula is awesome every mile of the way. From the wide open Yellowstone River Valley to the mountain passes to the breathtaking views. It has something for everyone.

Pictures do not even come close to capturing the splendor of it. You will never understand why they call this Big Sky Country until you see it for yourself.

In the first four pictures, I was trying to show the snow capped mountains in the distance.

These came from the dashcam.

When you see this sign in the west "Chain Up Area" push the gas pedal, you are fixing to climb a big mountain.

These next four pictures may be deceiving. We are going up about a 6% grade between 40-50 MPH. This is the last big pass before Butte, MT.

The other side of the pass opens up to a gorgeous view of the valley and then into the city of Butte.

The last several miles into Missoula are beautiful winding interstate. It was overcast and the pictures show that. They do not show the beauty.

I wish you could be here with us to take it all in. We arrived at Sun Valley Church about 3:30 Thursday afternoon after 330 miles and 5 hours and 20 minutes.

Since we had a short day, we went 15 miles back to Missoula and had supper at HuHot. Very Good. It was a nice way to celebrate the ending of an epic journey.

That takes care of this edition of the travel log. We will crank up and leave again Friday night after church by God's grace. We have one more long jump to Arbuckle California and then it will be shorter drives until mid-December.

Thank you for dropping in today.



  1. Thanks for the great trips, thoroughly enjoyed them & seeing an Angel working on the roof also. Your next new RV, make sure the windshield wipers operate from the top of the windshield, works much better, pushes the sludge down with the wind & sort of stays clean where the wipers move, just a little bit of truckers "jack of the trade secrets" before CBs came out.
    Davy, keep at it just like You've been doing by GOD's GRACE always,
    Love-Y'ALL !~!, the Shifletts.

    Frankie Shiflett

    1. Thank you, Buddy. I need all the help I can get.

      Kelly Jo will love "Angel working on the roof" 😍



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