2007 06 25 – Big Trip – Day 56 – A Carousel for Missoula

Jellystone Campground, Missoula, Montana. Odometer – 5550

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Ron holding on, A Carousel for Missoula, Montana

We got up not knowing what we will do today. We have to fix a bunch of stuff in the RV (leaky faucet, noisy water pump, cabinet door not closing) and the traveler’s assistance hotline from Cruise America (the RV company) did not notify us what to do. After holding on the line for 30 minutes, I got an answer that no RV shop in Bozeman will take us today. So we decided to continue to Missoula, a big city 200 miles to the northwest, where we have an appointment tomorrow morning at 10am. The drive was pretty, with nice green fields dotted with cows. We stopped for lunch along route 90 and while Paola prepared the food I took Shir and Orr for a closer look at the bovine wonders.

We continued to drive in the early afternoon and it got tough because of strong wind gusts that toyed around with the RV. We made it to Missoula, a large town of 50,000 people at 4pm. We drove directly downtown to Caras park, along Three Fork River. The attraction – a famous Carousel.

The “Carousel for Missoula” started as a dream one local had 15 years ago. It turned into a massive volunteer project that the entire community contributed to. This included businesses and individuals who sculpted the horses, rebuilt 10,000 pieces of a broken down carousel chassis, and overall contributed 100,000 hours of labor. The result is a very nice carousel, that is also one of the fastest in the US. Although 8.5 miles per hour sounds a bit slow, all of us had to hold on tight not to fall off the horses. Shir and Orr were a bit in shock, and Ron held on for dear life too. For a second round, Ron requested a horse that does not move up/down. Shir was happy to be on any horse as long as I was sitting behind her. Paola and Orr got off to take some pictures.

After catching our breath from the carousel, we went next door to the playground that the same volunteers built 5 years ago. A beautiful wooden playground that, again, was a community project. Ron Shir and Orr spent an hour exploring, climbing, sliding, and having a good time.

After that we sped over to the local Costco to stock up on essentials (diapers…) and goodies (steaks, wine, blueberries) and were sad to see that they don’t carry hummous. We then drove a few mile to the outskirts of town to this campground. Another hour in the playground for the kids while I prepared dinner. It gets dark really late (10pm) and the kids went to sleep late.

Tomorrow we hope to have the RV fixed early in the morning and continue to Glacier National Park.

Good night,

-Hemi

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