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Sanctuary in Lander, Wyoming

We have a week before we start the Park County Fair in Powell, Wyoming. Normally we might have just headed towards Powell and stayed in town until the fair. As it turns out, Hil has friends that live in Lander. Even more surprising, her mentor from Jackson is in town for the week working! The stars aligned and we can spend time with both friends.

We are impressed with Lander. We’re staying in the city park where you can camp for free for 3 days (at a time). The park is wonderful. They have an ornate playground area, baseball fields, a stream flowing through it, and they have concerts and plays in the park during the week.

Lander is basically a main street of commerce and residential on either side passing through town. The weather in late July is warm during the day and cool, sweater weather cool, late at night.

We met her mentor and associates at the Lander bar for a few drinks and dinner last night to catch up after spending the day playing with Rene and her kids who live here in town.

Lander seems to have it all. It’s a nice small town. There are great outdoor activities near by including hiking, rock climbing, water sports, mountain biking, and fishing. It has comparatively mild winters for Wyoming and the green grass grows all around around and the green grass grows all around.

There’s a fair amount of maintenance I need to attend to before the next show. The suburban is starting develop turbo related problems. When we passed through Steamboat Springs, Co the suburban overheated twice going up Rabbit Ears Pass. Unknown to me, when it overheated it caused one of the vacuum lines to ‘implode’ and make the turbo wastegate INOP. A poor design that a small 1/8″ vacuum line shuts down the whole turbo system! As a result, the diesel was blowing black smoke, unburnt diesel, and had low power.

I figured it out in Casper right before we headed off to Lander. In my typical, ‘Jerry Rigged” fashion, I cut the tail end where it was imploded and re-configured the line and it worked. Here in Lander, however, the power at low RPM is intermittent meaning the vacuum line may have more than one blockage.

I ordered a part that replaces the wastegate vacuum controller with a spring loaded controller, which eliminates the need for the vacuum pump, the sensor, the two vacuum lines and the wastegate controller.

The oil cooler line still needs replacing and an oil change at the same time.

Traveling like this, the Suburban accumulates so much junk that it’s time to strip everything out and start over.

I admit that this type of life is a lot easier with basic mechanical skills. We would’ve had to wait 4 days and spent several hundred dollars just on replacing the oil cooler line and goodness knows how much it would have cost to fix the leveling jacks on the motorhome (they work fine now, bad ground or loose wires appear to be the problem).

I don’t know if we’re born with a mechanical ability or if it’s a learned skill. Certainly some people are better at it than others. I believe everyone can learn to change a tire, change your oil, and more IF you understand conceptually how a car operates.

Admittedly, you give up all kinds of options if you are unable to ‘fix or repair daily’, but that’s a topic for another post.

I’m looking for a good used mountain bike here in Lander. There’s plenty to see and I need the exercise. After 9 days in Casper, working 10+ hours a day, eating poorly and sleeping about the same, I’m stiff and lethargic. It’s not a family friendly activity at this point. Charlie is still just a hair too small to ride in the kiddo trailer.

Hil is not exactly an extreme mountain biker either. She prefers the leisurely 3 speed beachcomber we brought from St. Simons. That’s ok, it’s the exercise that counts not the extreme sport factor.

Of course, we pretty much undue all the health benefits from riding the bikes when we stop for an ice cream along the way. :)

So far in our travels through Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming we have identified two places we like enough to consider settling down- Grand Lake, CO and Lander WY. Don’t rush to conclusions! We’re not done traveling yet. I think it will be awhile before we lay some roots and become solid upstanding citizens of a community (if that ever happens). It is nice to stop and visit friends, to see a familiar face.

In many ways, that’s the best part of traveling. To go somewhere where someone knows you.

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