That's Bob. Technically, that's actually Bob's backside. Bob's backside comes complete with a similarly-attired frontside that is ripping our refrigerator from Otto's open torso right in the parking lot of the IMAX theater in West Yellowstone, Montana.
Most people come to Yellowstone to see Old Faithful, maybe check out a bison or two. Not us. We come for the mobile R.V. mechanics. It all started the night before when Otto's Norcold Model 3163 Tri-source (12V DC, 110V AC, gas) refrigerator refused to ignite in the gas mode. This had never happened before. We were confused, frightened, and a little bit hurt...especially Kristanne, who has always had a better rapport with the refrigerator than I have. Why would it turn on her now? We decided to sleep on it, maybe give the refrigerator a chance to reconsider its venture onto the path of darkness.
Sadly, the refrigerator remained steadfast in its commitment to deviltry, pledging eternal fealty to the scions of spoilage and waste (who actually live in a trailer park just outside of Tacoma). What to do? We needed more than a repair job -- we needed an exorcism. Luckily for us, Bob was more than a Mobile R.V. Mechanic -- he was also a holy man. In a trice, he had the fridge out of its housing and flipped on its side so he could attend to his ministrations more meticulously. With a monkish grace, he knelt at the refrigerator's side and peered into its very soul to determine the source of its blackness. Rising slowly, he turned to us solemnly and pronounced, "Yer thermocoupler ain't working for shit. Plus you got dust buggers in yer chimney pipe." Kristanne promptly fainted and I fell to my knees in prayer. You gotta take salvation where you find it.
Five hours later (and $150 poorer), Bob had the whole thing worked out and we were mobile again, good as new. It's good to know that some things never change with VW Vans :-).
We had a problem though -- it was already 6:00 PM, and we needed to get the page up. There wasn't a Kinkos in sight, and we still didn't have a new battery for the Acoustic Koupler. By now, gentle reader, you pretty much know what we had to do next. We had to get Extreme.
We spotted a Holiday Inn down the street boasting an honest to goodness "conference center." "Conference center" means one thing to us -- easy dial-up network access. With our triumph at the Holiday Inn in Butte, MT., fresh in our minds, we strutted into the hotel lobby just a little bit smug and a little bit cocky. Seeing a phone with a data port, I headed straight for it. Never you mind that it's behind a rather official-looking desk in the middle of the hotel lobby. They won't care. Our experience so far has been that if you act natural, like you belong somewhere, no one will question you. This has worked in bank lobbies, Kinkos, office buildings -- it's a little bit eerie. Most employees seem to have a "don't ask, don't tell" mentality. We use that that to our advantage, further fraying those last little fibers that keep what's left of the social contract intact. It's a hobby, y'know?
So, the FTP session is under way, and Kristanne and I are making our little "Extreme" hand gestures to one another across the lobby (long story). Customers are walking past us without even raising an eyebrow. I'm feeling more than a little bit smug, as you can see there in the Extreme Shot of the Day. Oh, yes, I'm a clever little sot, aren't I?
Just as I'm finishing up the FTP portion of our internet session (getting the page on our web server), a new face makes itself manifest. A distinctly unsmiling face attached to an equally unsmiling body. A lack of humor is palpable. Immediately, I'm back in high school and my first thought is "bussssted."
"Excuse me, what are you doing?"
I always have better responses to questions like this one the next day. But right now, my witty rejoinder was, "Ummm, messing around on my computer."
"Did you ask anyone if you could do that?"
"Are you a guest of the hotel?
"So you just walked into the hotel, sat down at that desk, and without asking anyone's permission hooked up your computer to our phones?
"Ummm...yeah. That's what I did."
She seemed more dumbfounded than angry. Her next comment was, "I can't believe you would have the...the...the gall to do such a thing. I mean..."
Here's where Kristanne came up with our big excuse. "Well, if other places hadn't given us such a hard time, we would have asked you for permission."
"Yeah," I chimed in. "You wouldn't believe the troubles we've had."
We went with that excuse as I surreptitiously checked our email to make the most of whatever might be left of our internet connection. Things were looking a wee bit tenuous. Luckily, Kristanne and I must have seemed nice enough that the manager let us finish our business before we left, only giving us a bit more of a tongue-lashing before we headed off into the sunset with Otto's new refrigerator. We both felt a little bad, but not all that bad. I mean, after all, we did get the web page up, right?
Driving into our campsite for the night, we even got the Scenic Shot of the Day at Gibbon Falls. Enjoy it, and we'll see you next time.
Total Miles for 6\10 = 71
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