Day #13: Cody, WY to Billings, MT

We left Cody, WY this morning with an engine light on in my brand new Honda Pilot. I wasn't worried at first because all Hondas (probably other vehicles too) come with Free Roadside Assistance where you can call 24/7 with ANY car issues, and recovery services will be immediately initiated. That sounds wonderful does't it? It sound too good to be true and that's because it is. It gives a false sense of security, and it sounds dreamy at the dealership when they are selling you the car, but the truth is that it is pretty worthless when you really need help. The true deal is that they would have immediately sent a tow truck out to pick up my car (that sounds like what we were sold on), and tow it to the nearest Honda service center. In our case, that was Billings, MT which was 130 miles from here. This is where the system failed us. They would tow the vehicle and one person could ride in the tow truck. The remaining three of us would be left there to get ourselves to Billings. So, in place where there was one restaurant, 2-3 lodges, no gas stations for I don't even know how may miles, and much LESS a car rental place, one adult and two kids were supposed to what -- walk or hitchhike 130 miles? I mentioned this was an issue, to the lady on the phone, and she said, "Oh, well, I can call a tow service that would allow two of your ride in the truck, possibly," as if that would help us any more. I was pretty upset and I told her that I realize she doesn't make those rules but I really wanted her to just acknowledge to me that she understood how that did not help us AT ALL. She never did.

So the owner's manual says if the light isn't flashing, that you can possibly drive the car 45-55 mph to the nearest shop. So we chanced driving it Billings. We passed some beautiful land, including a place that we wanted to stop and visit a friend, but we just pushed on. Somewhere between Laurel and Bridger is one of the most beautiful parts of Montana, to me. It's pretty agricultural, doesn't have those ridiculous cliff on the roads, and is just rolling, treed hills. I could live just south of Bridger.

When we got to Billings, we were both prepared to claw our way through the service department and fight to get our car fixed. I know that sounds harsh but after what we went through with the Honda place in Fairbanks (who didn't want to replace our cracked A/C condenser on a 4-month old Pilot), and the roadside assistance call this morning, we thought we were going to have to be pushy. After just a few minutes, we realized that God was looking out for us at this place! Underriner Honda in Billings, MT has THE BEST customer service of ANY car dealership I have EVER been involved with! It turns out that this was such a blessing for us to have been able to come here to this particular shop. They took our car in, drove us to Cracker Barrel for lunch, picked us up, gave us a loaner car, replaced every fuel injector (and something else I forgot), changed our oil, rotated our tires, and all for $150. They were the angels of our day!

While we waited for the car, we drove 14 miles north, to Pictograph Cave and learned alot about the area. That was the first time I ever got to see real pictographs. The cave reminded me of the one in "Brother Bear" (one of my favorite movies), and I could have stayed there for hours longer, just exploring. We were supposed to be in Glendive, MT tonight, so we could get to Medora, ND later, but we changed our hotel reservations and decided to stay here for two nights. Garrett's 9th Birthday is tomorrow and so we want to do something special (that does not involve driving all day). Will had an online class going, when they called and said our car was ready to pick up, so I went and swapped cars and then went to Walmart for some cheesecake (Garrett's favorite), modeling clay, a small lockbox with keys, candles ( a cool one that spins with 12 candles on it and plays the song, "Happy Birthday"), some food for our cooler, and got the kids a new outfit. I found some lipo flavanoids for my ears. I have heard many people found some relief for their Meneir's and I hope it will work for me.

After Will's class was over, we all got ready and went to the Montana Club for supper. It reminds me Outback. We found two choices for Garrett's birthday. One is an indoor water park and the other is Geyser Park, where we could play laser maze, putt-putt, arcade, and has a birthday room. We decided Geyser Park would be more fun, and also Garrett has been wanting to learn how to play golf. They are both closed so we will have to make last minute plans tomorrow and hope for the best.

In all today, we drove 130 miles and were in the car for 4 hours.