Thursday, June 29
The Saga of the Serpentine Belt continues!
Alec, the repair guy at GLM Automotive in Superior, Montana, pulls up to our campsite in Quartz Flat Campground at two o’clock, as we prearranged.
Alec tells me the belt has been replaced. He also tells me that after finishing that job, he turned on the engine and discovered a problem with the water pump.
This does not surprise me. I had prepared myself for the possibility of additional damage.
We roll up I-90 to his shop on Diamond Match Road.
Here’s the bill, verbatim:
- Transport vehicle to shop: $50
- Found serpentine belt broke. Removed air box/coolant bottle to replace serpentine belt. Cleaned pulleys and installed belt. Found water pump bearings bad after vehicle start-up. R/R belt, fan, shroud, hoses to replace water pump: $315 (4.5 hrs. @ $70 per hr.)
- Serpentine belt: $26
- Water pump kit: $162
- Coolant: $12
$200 for parts plus $365 for labor = $565 total repair cost
I pay the bill and thank Alec.
“Come on outside for a minute,” he says. “I want to show you something.”
Alec directs my attention to the tire on the back, right side. My heart sinks because I love my Toyo, ten-ply, all-terrain tires!
“Don’t worry, your tires are fine,” Alec reassures me. “There’s a bit of wear on this one. I suggest you have your tires rotated.”
“I have a question for you, Alec. I don’t like the way the PTV’s back end sags when I hitch up my trailer. I probably have too much weight on the hitch, but besides that . . .
. . . What can I do to lift up the back end?”
Alec retrieves a box from a shelf and shows me the part from inside. He explains how this thingy will have the PTV towing level again.
We set up an appointment for the Thursday after the Fourth of July holiday. The tires will be rotated and the PTV will receive some help holding up her behind.
In spite of the outlay of money, I’m a happy driver!
Whew! That’s done! It’s so good to be behind the wheel of the PTV again.
As we turn to board the interstate for home . . .
Uh-oh. I don’t like the feel of that!
There’s a vibration in the steering! It’s only noticeable when making a turn. Since we’re already on the interstate and Alec has probably closed the shop for the day (early closings due to air temperatures pushing toward 100 degrees in the afternoons), I keep going.
Friday, June 30
Reg, Rog and I go back to GLM. Alec comes out of the shop’s bay to greet me.
“There’s a shudder in the steering,” I announce.
Alec takes the PTV for a test drive. Upon returning he sprays cleaner on the belt.
“If you don’t mind, I’ll see what the problem is when you come back on Thursday. You can still drive with it doing that.”
“Okay, that’s fine with me, Alec. I’ll see ya’ on Thursday.”
Fourth of July weekend:
Independence Day is on a Tuesday this year which makes for a long weekend of celebrations.
The crew and I miss all that. “Miss” as in “We don’t see or hear it.” The campground is quiet, like any other weekend.
~ ~ ~
Trout Creek sparkles as it makes its way through Lolo National Forest.
Fine-cut crystal in motion. A refreshing sight on a hot day!
Alec had suggested we explore Trout Creek.
Taking Diamond Match Road from Superior, we pass Alec’s shop. After a few miles the pavement ends and we’re on Forest Road 250, a dirt, two-lane road that climbs alongside the descending Trout Creek.
FR 250 goes all the way to Hoodoo Pass (5,980 ft.) in the Bitterroot Mountains to take one over into Idaho.
One only has to drive about two miles on the dirt road to reach a small, day-use area and Trout Creek Campground, the latter having tent sites and a few sites suitable for short RVs, truck campers, vans, and the like.
Reggie and Roger perk up when they realize we’ve reached our destination!
These are the usual positions of the crew when we’re on an outing — Reg in his bed by me and Roger with his paws on the armrest, watching the scenery go by.
~ ~ ~
The campground is shaded predominantly by towering Ponderosa pines, ubiquitous to this area. (At the entrance, I scan the bulletin board for the usual fee for camping, but it isn’t posted.)
I park the PTV at the day use parking lot.
“Okay, my little gremlins. You can get out now.”
We walk the campground road.
The sites are well-spaced, linked by a road that doesn’t look like it’s in a campground.
~ ~ ~
Eating area separate from where one parks. Trout Creek is beyond the picnic table, down a steep bank. Music for your dining pleasure.
~ ~ ~
Note: These campsite photos were taken at a later date, after the holiday campers left.
~ ~ ~
The crew and I return to the day use area.
We follow a short trail through the woods.
The coolness of deep shade is appreciated. We can hear Trout Creek ahead of us.
~ ~ ~
“We’d better not go down there, guys. Too risky.”
Especially the way the excited Roger-Dodger pulls on the leash!
The creek cuts along the steep bank and the current is powerful.
~ ~ ~
We follow the trail to another opening at the creek.
“Eventually I’ll find us a place where we can go into the water. Apparently there isn’t safe access in this section of the creek.”
Obviously Rog and Reg are more interested in smells anyway!
~ ~ ~
“You probably would enjoy a drink of water right now.”
Glimmers of light descend through the boughs, lighting the leaves. The creek glistens.
After a drink at the PTV, we ride further up the forest road and find boondocks and places to wade.
Coming up . . . .
The Perfect Tow Vehicle has her butt lifted and the crew and I play in Trout Creek!
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