Day 58 – August 2, 2001 – This morning, the decision was made that the three T’s that were still running would head out for Kalispell, Montana. Ben and Nancy would stay behind and arrange for a car and trailer to take the broken T over the same route. Our schedule had called for us to drive to Cardston, Alberta, but we cancelled that reservation with the thought that we needed to get back into the United States. We had been ordering replacement parts for a week to be sent to our motel in Kalispell and thought our best chance of getting a replacement crankshaft shipped to us would be in Montana rather than Canada. We had a duplicate crankshaft at our shop in Bryan (we bought two thinking we could sell one to somebody else later) and Jennifer Pardue (the young woman running the shop) could send it to us by overnight UPS.
Unfortunately, Kalispell is a 300 mile drive from Banff. Our normal day is 200 miles. The T’s got a later start than we had hoped for and Ben set to locating a truck. Three hours later, the only truck we had been able to locate was in Calgary (1-1/2 hrs away) and it was simply a furniture mover, not a car mover. We had even considered renting a car, driving to Kalispell and renting a trailer, and returning for the T but they didn’t have one there either. Either they don’t have many car trailers in this area or we were not the only people who had broken down. After driving the truck back to Banff, we had to figure out a way to get the car into it.
Once again, we were luckier than we deserve. The owner of our motel, Bumper’s Inn in Banff, is Leland Brown. He is the man who came down at 1:30 am and let us in last night. Today, he took us over to a warehouse he owns and rummaged around outside the building until we found some good thick planks. With his help and the help of a few other people who wandered up at the wrong time, we pushed the T up the ramp, over the wheel wells, and into the truck. It was pretty hard and dirty work and, as we were thanking everyone afterwards, we learned that one of our helpers was Dennis Shuler, the mayor of Banff. Some of the others are staff members for the City. Another man was from Knoxville (I owe him dinner if we ever get to Knoxville and the mayor gets to stay at my house if he ever comes to Texas). We have been incredibly fortunate to have been given the help we have and I can’t help but think it is the Model T that people are responding to. Either way, we have very good feelings about Banff and would highly recommend the Bumper’s Inn should you go there. They were really good to us.
It was 7:00 pm before we left the motel on our way to Kalispell. The drive out of Banff National Park runs through Kootenay National Park, a somewhat more mountainous trip than the rest of the park. The outside edge of the park is a town called Radium Hot Springs which is part in and part out of the park. It sets in the middle of a steep, narrow canyon with rock walls on either side, widening out for the hot springs, and then narrowing downward into an 11% grade out of the park. Like running through a chute on the water slide. The rest of the drive was through some pretty isolated country where our most common companions were 18-wheelers. At about 11:00 pm, we were able to reach the girls at the motel. They had arrived safely at 10:00 pm, about a 13-hour drive. We passed through the border at exactly midnight and were awfully glad to be back in the mainland United States. The Super 8 in Kalispell had our room waiting when we got there at 2:00 am and we collapsed into bed.
There was too much going on to take many pictures today.