Wednesday, September 9th, Troy received a call from the contractor he works for. There was a problem with an a/c unit in Gillette, Wyoming. Gillette is only an hour to hour and half away from Mt. Rushmore and I thought it would be great if we used the business trip to help our family to be able to visit Mt. Rushmore. Troy agreed, and while all the kids were in school on Thursday I packed all their clothes and all the food so we could leave that night. Everything went smoothly. We reached Gillette and after 3 hrs of work we headed to South Dakota to find a place to camp. It was beautiful. Troy's mom had told us she had been there twice and a cloud was covering Mt. Rushmore both times, so I was worried about driving all that way for nothing. I prayed hard that it wouldn't be a wasted trip. Saturday morning we woke to rain. I thought, great. We packed up and proceeded to the mountain and it continued to rain. As we reached the viewing site we were pretty depressed thinking that there was no way we would see Mt. Rushmore but lo and behold there it was in all it's glory. I laughed and told Troy that next time I should be a little more specific with my prayers. It continued to rain constantly. We toured around and Vance was the first one to get his Jr. Ranger badge and was very proud of that. We decided to head out and find another place to camp and decided to head towards home out of the rain to do so. While driving we saw the sign for Crazy Horse Mountain and decided to stop and check it out. They had a huge museum of Native American artifacts. It was really neat. Vance got hurt while there. He was hopping and his shoe hit a crack in the concrete and over he fell right on his face. He got scraped up a bit but nothing to horrible. We continued our journey out of South Dakota with the plan of stopping to camp at Glendo Resevoir in Wyoming.
About an hour before our destination we stop for gas and food. I took over driving so Troy could eat. Not more than 15 miles out of the town, I was trying to pass a car when the truck lost all power. Luckily the car let us get over to pull off the side of the road. As we looked at the two lane highway we worried. It was quite desolate. Not more than 5 minutes passed when a truck pulled over to help and he actually thought he knew what the problem was and proceeded to fix the truck. It worked! We were amazed and ever so grateful. We said a family prayer and proceeded to Glendo. Just a measly 1 mile from the Glendo turn off the truck did the same thing as before. It was dark and wouldn't you know it, raining again! Ugh! Troy tried to do the same thing as before and we got it started and only got 100 yds. when it did it again. We didn't know what to do. Truck after truck and car passed and no one would stop for us. After about an hour we called Troy's brother who's a mechanic to see if he had any ideas. He couldn't help and so he looked up towing services nearby and gave us the numbers. We started calling and they were all the wrong number or in a different town than listed on the internet. One towing company gave us new numbers to try and we also asked him for the highway patrol number just in case. We tried the numbers and again they weren't correct or no one would answer so we called highway patrol who gave us even more numbers. Again no answer until the very last number. At this point 2 hrs had passed. We finally had a tow truck on the way and it was capable of holding our whole family, barely. As well as to tow our camper with the truck. We waited another hour for him. While waiting I got numbers to local hotels where we could stay the night in the little town we were headed for. We were towed in the opposite direction as we were headed to the town of Douglas. We were blessed by the hotel we went to. They quoted me $90. per night but when we got there the gave us the walk in special of $65. and they kept that rate the whole time they were there. They gave the kids permission to swim in the pool with their shorts since we didn't bring any suits. We had coupons for breakfast which was free or nearly so. Troy thought the problem was the fuel filter and Sunday morning he went to the auto part store and proceeded to fix the truck. Not the problem though. Ugh! The repair shop wasn't open until Monday. We had to have the truck towed Monday to the repair shop. They scoped out the situation and came to the conclusion they found the problem but they didn't have the tool to fix it. They called around and found a mechanic that had worked to the GMC dealership before it shut down and he had the part and the knowledge to fix it. Then they discovered that they needed some seals which they had to have shipped UPS. So the truck sat again for another day. We spent 5 nights and days at the hotel. Very boring. The kids took turns on who got to sleep on the bed each night. Let me mention that the first night at 3:00 am Vance woke up and threw up on the bed. Poor Brianna. She ended up on the floor after all. We watched a lot of t.v. and swam. We walked to a school nearby and let the kids play on the playground. We also walked a mile to a pioneer museum and then walked back and had ice-cream at the McDonalds. Finally the truck was finished Thursday afternoon. We decided to push it hard and get home so we put a pull up on Vance and took off. How grateful we are to be home. How grateful we are for all the love and concern shown us by friends, family and the strangers who took us under wing during our stay in Douglas. They went above and beyond what was required and we so appreciate it. This is one fast, cheap vacation that ended up very long and very expensive but one we will never forget.