Stumbling on our planned trip

by Bob Rodriquez

Bob Rodriguez
Bob Rodriguez

We had an experience of a different sort last week. Word was that our son in SW Oregon would wed on Friday, Aug. 2, in the Mormon Temple in Central Point. We wanted to attend the reception immediately following the sealing ceremony.

Our first plan was to drive our motorhome so as to have a place to stay along the way and while in Oregon. It’s quite a drive from NW Wyoming to, well, almost anyplace. There seem to be no direct routes.

The motorhome plan was in effect until I snagged a large, strong, U-shaped metal device at a gas station in Powell. Ripped off half the back bumper and dislodged the end cap on the coach. Managed to tape it securely enough with hose repair tape and industrial strength duct tape to make the drive back home, approximately 30 miles.

Next plan: Drive our car to Oregon and stay in hotels. Fine with me. But whether the wedding would be conducted was unsettled because the potential bride and bridegroom both had been married previously and needed some LDS paperwork to proceed. We decided to begin driving toward Oregon (best indirect route we thought best) and went to Butte, Mont., approximately 300 miles, on Tuesday via I-90 (speed limit 75 mph). Checked into a hotel. Phoned son on Wednesday morning and were advised that the wedding and reception were postponed due to the lack of church approval. So we returned home, but not without a side adventure (more on that later).

Re: the wedding, son told us Thursday evening that the wedding was on, at a later time than first thought, but no reception. However, we were now at our cabin; no way to make the drive in time. So we are disappointed about that, but hope to see the couple a bit later this year after I get the rear of the motorhome repaired. Arghh.

The adventure, after our nice outing in Butte, was caused by me telling my wife that I’d take her to a good restaurant in Billings for a late lunch on the way back. My plan was to take her to the Rib & Chop House off I-90, Exit 443. But driving east toward Billings I did not see the billboard for the place, and I was sure, well, mostly sure, that it was off Zoo Drive at 443. To make a long story shorter, I drove well into Billings and stopped at a big gas station/convenience store to ask to use a directory so that I could phone the restaurant. They didn’t have a phone book!

So I drove across the street to another gas/store, and couldn’t find the restaurant listed. But the guy at the counter told me how to get there. Sort of. It was in the vicinity, I thought, off Exit 443. But we couldn’t find it. So I stopped at an insurance office, and the receptionist provided good directions. However, when we approached the place, the street to it was closed. So I drove this way and that way through adjacent parking lots and reached the Rib & Chop House. Not open; shut tight. Probably because the road was closed, ya think? Now, it’s hot — 90 degrees there in Billings — and it was late afternoon. We hadn’t eaten since around 9 a.m.

I told Jan, OK, I know where the Texas Roadhouse is (great steaks and such). It is only a few miles from the place I wanted to go to in the first place, off Exit 446 on King Avenue West. However, the Texas Roadhouse is a tad difficult to find because it’s sandwiched in-between some other businesses, and I drove around and around (more parking lots); finally found it. It was closed. Don’t serve until 5, and it was only like 3:40. OK, sez I, Iet’s drive across busy King Avenue West to the Outback. But we could see from across the street that it wasn’t open either. By this time our stomachs were growling, and we actually were chuckling at our “luck.” Decided to just go eat at a coffee shop we know, Perkins. It was open. We ate. Food was not wonderful, but OK. We wolfed it. By then I would have eaten at a McDonald’s or DQ!

Finally made it home that night, with memories of an interesting day. All six cats were present, for which we are grateful. We phoned our cat sitter and advised that we were back, as he thought that we’d be away until Monday. Then I went to the post office to rescind our order to stop our mail, and contacted Schwan’s for a delivery, as I had changed that, too, based on being away. Hum, the problems our kids provide.

Then after all that came almost the worst: We had to unpack!