CDT: Day 4
Day 4… the day the whole plan changed. Before I get into that, you should know that day 4 ended at the Quality Inn in Dillon, MT. Here is how the day played out.
I woke up early and made my way towards Kalispell, MT where I planned on optimizing photos for the site and uploading them and the blog recapping the first three days of this trip. After making two laps around the building, I finally figured out that the Starbucks I was looking for was inside a Safeway. So I went in with my laptop and found that their internet was complete S… garbage. After compressing all of the images myself (lesson learned: I’ll just save it compressed from now on) and prayed that the connection was going to be good enough so my battery wasn’t going to die while I waited, IT WORKED!
I hit the road again and was really enjoying the views as well as my unintentionally cold Pumpkin Spice Latte. I made my way into the Flathead National Forest where I weaved in and out of the mountains and watched the amount of snow increase with altitude but the roads never got too bad, just a little slushy.
After Flathead was Lolo National Forest which was not far away but an entirely different experience. Lolo had more clearings with better views and even a lake that offered a good photo opportunity.
Everything was great until I hit the Helena National Forest. Entering the forest, I encountered a detour right off the bat. Grrrrrrr. As I searched to find my own way, because the detour signs went in a big circle, I made my way up and over the mountain range where I found the valleys to be fall-ish and a few minutes later found the ridge of the mountain to resemble the arctic. This was not a good sign for the future as I was looking to cross the Continental Divide a few times over the day and had not been able to on multiple attempts.
Funny thing about the Divide is that those crossings take place on the ridge (arctic) and I started to find myself taking a lot of time to make my way towards the Divide and have to turn around because of snow pack. This became pretty frustrating but I did manage to get to a point where I was crossing the actual CDT and took some pictures.
After making my way down from the CDT, I stalled the Jeep while taking this picture…
Yep, it wouldn’t crank after that… I have DUAL BATTERIES AND HAVE BEEN DRIVING ALL DAY AND MONITORING VOLTAGE WITH NO ISSUES. WHY WONT IT START????? At this point I had no idea what was going on but I got it jumped off and away I went again. I stopped to get gas and it cranked with no problem so I was pretty lost as to what was going on. Oh well, I think the JK computer has quirks so maybe that was it.
Up I went into the Deerlodge National Forest where things got REALLY interesting. I made it through the arctic to another CDT crossing and stopped to take some pictures.
On my way down, I had a few instances where the Sway Bar light would randomly flicker and give me a warning. Weird. Soon after that I started having FULL power surges where everything would turn off while I was going down the trail. At this point it was dark and I was headed downhill on icy slopes and all of a sudden, the engine, lights, power steering, and power brakes would all go out and it scared me more than a few times.
I got out in the arctic conditions and checked the only thing that made sense to be going wrong, fuses. Nope. But I did happen to notice that the positive connection on my main battery was loose and I tried to tighten it but it would not tighten. Before the end of this lengthy story, here is a picture I took while worrying about the Jeep shutting off as I slid down the mountain.
I decided that I need to get the Jeep fixed and while I was going to have to go to a city to get parts, I might as well head that way, get a hotel room, look at the plan for the rest of the trip, check weather, and regroup. That is where I am now and we’ll see what comes out of it. This trip was meant to fun and not a stressor so Its time that I prioritize what I’m really trying to do here.