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sheep_herder

Welcome to KGHL Billings, MT

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Music🙂 You can thank me later, and be sure to tune in to Lonnie Bell Country Classics from 9:00am - 12 noon MST Sunday morning.  The show is hosted by Ed McEntire, one of the local weathermen in Billings. You might even hear me make a request.

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On 2/9/2019 at 9:24 PM, sheep_herder said:

Music🙂 You can thank me later, and be sure to tune in to Lonnie Bell Country Classics from 9:00am - 12 noon MST Sunday morning.  The show is hosted by Ed McEntire, one of the local weathermen in Billings. You might even hear me make a request.

My Billings, Montana story.

My father was dying of cancer and various failing organs in 1991 when he began to feel better in the summer. He and I decided to take a chance on one last, great vacation and drive from Maryland to Yellowstone and back, where we'd have two weeks for some long talks about things in general and how he wanted to wind up his life.

We spent most of the first week in South Dakota (Badlands Nat.Pk., Wall Drug, Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Pk, Mammoth Site, Crazy Horse Memorial, Bear Butte St. Park, Fort Meade Museum (7th Cavalry), etc. etc.) then Devil's Tower, Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail, Wagon Box Fight site, and a Sheridan Rodeo in Wyoming and the night in a Sheridan Super 8 Motel, then the Little Bighorn Battlefield (called "Custer Battlefield" park back then) and the Crow Reservation after which we had reservations for the night at a Motel 6 a couple hours away in Billings.

While leaving the Crow Reservation, we and a few other cars were misdirected by a road worker to the wrong stretch of road.  It was quickly straightened out, but I apparently gashed my tire beyond repair while there.  We were soon on I-90 and, as we drove toward Billings, I said to my father, "Is your door closed?" then asked, "Is my door closed?" We pulled over and discovered the noise was from the ripped tire, where some of the steel belting was exposed and twisted. The tire was shot. I was amazed the tire was able to hold any air.  We did not want to put the spare on because of all the stuff in the trunk.  We took the next exit to a small town at whose gas station we were told we couldn't get a new tire until Monday.  It was Saturday.  So we thanked the garage for letting us use their air pump and hoped we'd get to Billings, about 1/2 hour away, before it went flat.

Somehow we made it to Billings, found a gas station (free air in those days), filled the tire up again, decided to check into the motel, empty the trunk into our room, and change the tire.

When we got to the motel, there were two Motel 6's in Billings - directly across the street from each other.  I picked one at random, drove up to an office sign, went inside and got in line to check in.  While waiting, I picked up a local ad magazine (this plays an important role shortly) and looked through to see what sights, restaurants, etc. we could go to before driving to Yellowstone the next day.  When I got to the front of the line, I was told I had the wrong Motel 6 - I was booked at the one across the street.  I was amazed they weren't just one operation, but with a leaking tire I wasted no time checking in across the street -where they had no stack of ad magazines- and unloaded the trunk into our SECOND floor (of course!) room.  The man in the office told us how to get to a, I think, K-Mart and that it was open at 9 am and I could get a tire there.

So the plan was to change the tire, go eat, go to K-Mart or whatever it was in the morning, get breakfast while waiting for the new tire, return to Motel 6 and reload the trunk, and drive to Yellowstone a little later than originally planned.  So I began to remove the tire when I found that the idiot who had changed my oil and checked the brakes, etc. back in Maryland shortly before we drove West, had tightened the lug nuts so tight I couldn't get them off the wheel.

So we gave the tire a new shot of air at a gas station and drove to the K-Mart, somewhere after 6 pm.  The garage was closed until the next morning.  We wondered what to do until I remembered picking up the ad magazine in the wrong Motel 6. We went back to our motel room to get it. I looked through it and found a full-service gas station with 24 hour service on I-90 about 10 minutes away - about as much air as we had left in the tire.  I phoned and yeah, they could replace the tire.

So we got to the garage in time and even the mechanic had trouble loosening the lug nuts (I gave the place I got the oil change a nasty call after returning home).  He had to be careful to not damage a lug or the wheel, but he finally got all the lug nuts off.  We got a good new tire and the whole bill went on my charge card for something like $47 - an excellent price, especially since they had us where they wanted us!  I gave the mechanic a $10 tip and probably should have doubled it.

So we left the garage around 7:30 pm, happy we still had time to enjoy dinner at a restaurant (can't remember where) and could leave as we pleased the next morning. With my father's health condition, I was extremely pleased at how the 50:50 chance of going into the wrong office led to the ad magazine which then led to an easy resolution to the problem.

So the next morning we loaded up, had an excellent breakfast at a local non-chain restaurant, drove to Yellowstone and had a great 3 days there before returning home.  My father felt great and was very active throughout his final vacation. He passed away the next April.

Buffalo herd and wild burro in Custer State Park, Yellowstone sign:

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