July 27-August 1
After a couple of nights of dry camping we learned 2 things about our trailer: our water pump needed some attention before we could go off-grid for a week in the Tetons, and our 6 year old batteries were leaking battery acid through the floor of our forward compartment onto Stumbo’s front feet. So we found a campground with full amenities where we could be refreshed before dry camping again. You know you’re living the life of luxury when the report comes back from whomever first scouts out the shower facility, “There are separate knobs for hot and cold, AND you can control the pressure! And it just stays on until you turn it off!” This is high living.
In Casper Brad got our water pump working again (Hail, the Conquering Hero!!) and replaced our batteries. He had a couple of work days and had the chance to chat with professors at Casper College about their OT program (a degree that he is considering for after our trip). I caught up on laundry, utilized their workout room more than once, and bought new hiking shoes that my pinky toes don’t peek out of. The girls enjoyed the playground and the rec room and made a few new friends. I also got my first AWFUL haircut (that Brad repaired…) and most nights we enjoyed our dinner on a large back patio at the campground made for community grilling and hanging out. It was a great chance for all of us to rejuvenate before we boondock in the Tetons next week.
Casper reminded me of Wenatchee in some ways. It’s a small town nestled in the middle of vast outdoor beauty, set against some beautiful mountains on one side. But Casper is an oil boom town, and thanks to “Obama trying to save nature or something,” in the words of my questionably-qualified hairdresser, the local economy has taken some huge hits in recent years. But in spite of this story that I heard from several different people, there seems to be a lot of new growth and development. So recovery must be underway and it seemed like a pretty great little city.
One day Brad and the girls explored the Trails Museum, where the city preserves the historical significance of being right on the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, California Trail, and Pony Express. I didn’t see them myself, but supposedly there are nearby areas where you can still see the ruts left in the prairie by the thousands of wagons that went through the trail system.
As we continued our drive west across Wyoming, watching out the window at the miles of wooden snow fences, the limitless sky, and the innumerable antelope grazing on the prairies, I couldn’t help but think; wasn’t there enough room out here for all of us?