Then we went back to Billings!!! Why?
Yellowstone wins, in our opinion the prize for the best National Park. We can’t say that we have been to every National Park. We can’t even say that we went to every National Park in the west. What we can say that we loved Yellowstone and will be going back….soon. In fact, we are going back next week. This weekend we went back to Billings.
Billings doesn’t hold lots of attraction for us. It is the biggest city in Montana, and is a comfortable size and seems to be well-stocked with nice folks. We like it as good as any city and better than many cities but like most every city it is short on the stunning beauty scale.
What Billings has for us is tires.
RV tires are expensive and we have known that we needed at least two tires this year. Montana and Oregon were prime candidates in that these two states have no sales tax. What kicked us into gear was the Minot North Dakota FMCA rally.
At this rally, Michelin had two very nice factory representatives whose primary job was to show Michelin support for RV tires and help RVers to increase sales. One of the ways they do that is tire inspections. RV tires, unlike similar size heavy truck tires, are much less likely to wear out, but instead, they are more likely to age and deteriorate due to environmental exposure and Michelin recommends replacement, regardless of wear, every ten years. And for the last five years of life, Michelin recommends annual inspections to ensure the age is not going to cause a safety issue. We were in the last year of our Michelin warranty and at eight years from manufactured date, well inside the window for inspections.
Our tires were also inspected and declared healthy in Oregon last year but this year’s inspection revealed some non-safety issues which prompted the inspectors to suggest that I call Michelin Customer Care and ask for Warranty Replacement. (pro-rated of course) With nothing to lose and everything to gain, I called and they told me to take them to a dealer. We did that two weeks ago and discussions between the dealer and Michelin Customer Care resulted in a 30% discount from Michelin on top of our already low FMCA club price and no sales tax, (thank you — Montana), on all six tires. So the tire budget item was cut by about $1000 and we are now sitting on six brand new tires. — That’s the reason we went back to Billings.
I would be so ungrateful if I failed to mention Patricia and Leah (my Michelin tire inspectors) who identified the issue and started the ball rolling for warranty. I had already sent emails to their bosses identifying what a great job they did at the rally — before Michelin decided I had a valid warranty claim.
Since Yellowstone Wins we are going back next week. We already spent ten days fishing, camping, and sightseeing in West Yellowstone and we can’t get enough. Next week is definitely going to be shoulder season. We had expected to depart Yellowstone by the middle of September due to the probability of September snow. Looks like next week we will probably get snow, in Yellowstone, as we make our final visit on our way to Idaho.
Here is a link to the google map for the area.
Link to our 2019 Route
Link to our route Minot North Dakota to Boise
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