Just Another Day Near Kalispell
It was about 11 p.m. when we left for the five-plus-hour (in good weather) drive to Kalispell, Montana, from our secret HQ in the northwest. Too bad we were in the middle of a blizzard. Guess this was gonna be a long night. The Montanans wanted to get amove on by 7 the next morning, and not having a clue how to get there through the 10-foot visibility we had on the roads, we coaxed our buddies to join up with us coming through Sandpoint, Idaho. East we drove, following an Izusu diesel tow truck hauling a 40-inch-tired buggy, periodically turning off our lights at 50+ mph to get an idea where they compared to us, since we certainly couldn't see the taillights, and the dim glow of their headlights in the snowfall was all we could make out. Thanks again to Dale and Al leading the way, 'cause without them, we probably wouldn't be here and able to write this story.
The next morning Scott McGuffie, who had originally given us the call to invite us for this frigid trip, was at the door of our 26-dollar-a-night luxury suite and ready to go. We used to like mornings. At least the snow had stopped and maybe it would get bright enough to take some decent photos.
We met the rest of the group in a Kmart parking lot (Kmarts strangely seem to be a common departure place no matter what state we're in), and after a couple icy-parking-lot donuts, we were on our way to arrive at what the Skyliners 4x4 Club refers to as the Horsepower Ranch. Not until we met two residents of the Horsepower Ranch did we understand why the rest of the guys were whispering to us, "OK, when either of 'em gets in and starts driving, just stand back."
We had a great time with all of our friends-crazy and sane-up in the Northwest and didn't want to come home. Glacier Toyota in Kalispell was nice enough to get together with the Skyliners and provide lunch for us when we got back from the trails, and by that time we had already fallen in love with the territory and had decided to hide out there and become that big white Montana mountain man that wears high-tops in the snow. But the office beckoned, stories were due, and they found our hiding spot. We hate these house-arrest tracking devices.