Ranger in Billings

We scheduled an appointment for Ranger’s oil change in Billings, Montana. We decided to go to VW, in case there were other issues that needed to be addressed. We are in the middle of the country and cannot depend on unknown independent mechanics (as wonderful as they can be) in random places, and would like to get the work done as quickly as possible. 

We had been waiting for about an hour when Debbie, the service advisor, came over and said, “Guys, you need to come and take a look at your car.”


We went into the service bay, where Ranger was visibly dripping oil. Turns out the oil pan had cracked. The serpentine belt, which had been approved before we left, was worn, cracked, and needed to be repaired. It also turns out that 14 year-old VW vans have parts that can sometimes only be found in Sacramento or L.A. It became readily apparent we were not leaving Billings today, or possibly until early next week. This puts a little dent in our planning, as Ranger is our temporary home and we were really hoping to be mostly East before the July 4th travel weekend. 

We waited and mulled over our options. Meanwhile, Debbie was working her magic to have the parts overnighted and we were told the work should be done by tomorrow. We were provided with a loaner 2017 Passat (Tim calls it a rocketship) and we are staying in a comfortable hotel (With internet! And a shower! And real beds!). 

Also, what are the chances…

We pulled into the VW dealership and saw Ranger’s long-lost, green Eurovan cousin. We have seen many white Eurovans but never a green one. We were told that it has 500,000 miles on it. Makes Ranger seem like a baby. 

We are grateful that we didn’t have a major issue on a random highway with no cell service, grateful that Debbie went out of her way for three hours, grateful that we have a loaner car, grateful that we can stay in a very comfy hotel, and grateful that we can keep going tomorrow (hopefully!).

Keep your fingers crossed for us, and Ranger. 

To be continued…


2 thoughts on “Ranger in Billings

  1. Glad to hear that Ranger only has some old age issues like the rest of us. Have been following all your wonderful adventures. Sorry we haven’t been responding much but your renditions have made me smile on several occasions. We’ve been to the caverns you visited and it brought back great memories. You both have such wonderful spirits and sense of wonder and curiosity. Looking forward to seeing you both when you get back and hearing all about your trip.

    • Thank you so much, Linda! Your note buoyed us this morning! Hope you, Ron, Michael, Shannon, and the kids are well. Looking forward to seeing you when we get back in August!


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