The day started early with the furnace not working. Although I was pretty groggy I quickly figured out that it was a fuse related problem. When I went to pull the fuse the furnace kicked on and the fuse fault light went out. Apparently it had just come a bit lose. Whew! Next up on the docket is me driving into the little town of Three Forks MT to the CarQuest shop to borrow their scan tool (which they keep behind the counter in a Crown Royal bag) to see why the check engine light was on in the Beast. A P2599. That means that the turbo vane sensor showed a more open position that the ECM thought it was at. I cleared the code and am praying that it was just a fluke due to some really long and heavy driving yesterday through the mountains at 75MPH with a huge headwind.
I am a sucker for caves so today we went to Lewis and Clark Caverns. It was only about a 20 minute drive from our camp site and a beautiful drive at that. We had a little wait before the tour so Dacen and Brielle worked on a Montana State Jr Range program and we ate a light snack to tide us over for the 2 hour tour. I noticed that the area had lots of what I grew up calling spear grass. My friends and I would have pretty epic battles throwing hand fulls of the tiny little spears at each other and so the boys especially found this to be a fun way to horse around.
Our tour guide Tom was super nice, funny and informative. One thing we learned is that Lewis and Clark never even knew the cave was there….they totally missed it. But because the cave is in Lewis and Clark State Park, the caverns also get that name. I really liked the cave itself and the whole family thought it was much better than Mammoth Cave in Kentucky (actually, our poor experience at Mammoth may have actually been with the tour we picked and/or the guide we had actually). It is a very well decorated cave and the lighting is very tastefully done (although they had some colored lights in one area, for the most part it was kept as white light). The price was very affordable too….$12 for adults (12 and up) and $5 for kids. Of course, there was the $6 state park day use fee we had to pay as well…but we got our money’s worth out of that as you’ll read in a bit.
We came back to the rig for lunch and then some time to play at the playground. The kids had turned the playground into an American Ninja Warriors obstacle course and were having a ball running through it. I did a little work while Steph ran and got a few groceries then we had a quick dinner so we could go to an evening program at the Missouri Headwaters State Park.
Our day use fee is good for 24 hours at any state park in Montana, so we were able to use our previously purchased pass….a twofer!! At this point three rivers come together (hence the name of the town and the campground we are staying at, Three Forks) and become the Missouri river. The Jefferson, Madison and the Gallatin rivers meet in the state park and we checked out the confluence since we had a little bit of time before the program began. After our little walk we set up chairs to listen to Franco Littlelight, a native Crow, who told some Crow legends and gave a bit of history of the Crow people. It was very interesting how the Crow’s creation story has many similarities to the Christian creation story. The “Old Man” blew into existence the land and rocks and seas, then plants and trees, and next the animals. But the “Old Man” was lonely and wanted someone he could talk to so he blew into existence man. Franco sang a song and played his flute and the smell of campfire encircled us. After the talk, the state park folks had the fixins for s’mores which the kids were pretty stoked about.
Another super fun day!!
At cave entrance
Caden in cave
In my element
Three kids in a cave
Top of the hill
Wad of spears
Overlooking the Gallatin
Bend in the Gallatin
Listening to stories