We can’t thank the team at Interstate PowerSystems in Billings, MT enough for their efforts this past week during our engine re-install after the rebuild. They all put in long hours.
They tackled each obstacle head on.
All with one goal – to get us back on the road in time for my birthday yesterday.
When this whole adventure started back in mid-June never did any of the estimates even have a hint of this extending into early August. Heck, originally it looked like we might even be on the road in time to still host our lighthouse in Oregon for the month of July.
But as the days and weeks drew on, suddenly there was a real possibility of us being still stuck in Billings for my birthday.
And while we would have of course made the best of it if that was the case – this was a special birthday. My 40th.
Each day last week ended with us smelling freedom a bit closer to our grasp. It was a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows as problems were found and solved. When Friday ended with another problem, the reality was setting in – we might actually be in the shop well into the next week.
Our service manager, Scot, invited us over to his home to commiserate that evening (have we mentioned how awesome the folks at Interstate are??) – the first time we danced with pity during this whole ordeal. It helped to let it pass and face the next day with positivity again.
Our team all came back bright and early Saturday to tackle the situation head on with fresh eyes, and magically by mid afternoon we were on our first test drive! (We live video streamed our first parking lot test drive, in case you are really bored.)
We came back to the shop after climbing the Rim Rocks of Billings with our mechanic on board… and Zephyr’s new engine was officially proclaimed in service!
Exactly 6 weeks from the day we were hauled to Interstate.
Finally!!! We were free to roam!
But by choice, we stayed another night and joined up with new friends from the shop for a live performance by Blues legend Johnny Winter – it was a rocking way to celebrate the completion of the rebuild, and the start of my birthday!
We finished up a few tasks on Sunday morning on our own, departed Interstate PowerSystems and were officially on the road again!
We could not be more elated – freedom to roam again and a new view is the best birthday present!
Yesterday afternoon we arrived to a lovely creekside campsite to celebrate my special day and our regained freedom!
We’ll rest up here for few days before returning to Billings for further tweaking (and maybe more Blues!) – the engine is running a few degrees warmer than any of us would like, but performed wonderfully on our maiden voyage.
There will be many posts forthcoming detailing all of the work done during the overhaul, the other upgrades to the bus we made and who knows what else.
But for now.. we rest. Let life and sleep catch up with us. And enjoy views that aren’t of a diesel shop parking lot!
Thank you to everyone involved, and thanks to all of you for following along and helping keep our spirits up!