Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Landcruiser

In 1978 we found ourselves back in Wyoming and working again in the oil industry. From Big Piney, Wyoming, the rig moved to Casper and we followed it there. The 35' park model trailor we pulled to Casper and settled into the run down trailor park on the edge of town. Dirt surrounded this trailor and all of the trailors in that little park behind the motel. None of it remains there now but for us it was just another town in a long list in our travels.

1979 and we are still in Casper, Wyoming. The summer is in full swing and April is 11 yrs old. We load up the little orange Datsun and head for the Black Hills of South Dakota for a little vacation. On the way we stop at Devil's Tower and on in to the Black Hills. When we reached Rapid City the brakes failed on the little Datsun. We took it to a dealership in Rapid City and they supplied us with a Landcruiser they had on their lot. It was a 1978 FJ40 that had a little over 15,000 miles on it. A service man had bought it and then traded it when he was transferred out of the area.

Mt. Rushmore and Deadwood we ticked off on this trip in that FJ40. I shot a lot of pictures with my 35mm Pentax and those pictures I have in an old album on a shelf with albums that hold photos of the places we traveled around the USA.

We stopped back in Rapid City on the way home to pick up the Datsun and arranged to buy the Landcruiser. That Landcruiser has been with us since 1979.

The daughter knew how to leap out and lock in the hubs and was quick to do it when we drove the outer circle in town. Coming back from the Sunrise Mall after dark, we had to pass Dinosaur Hill. This hill was named for it's shape which resembled, what else, but a dinosaur. Climbing this hill was not only illegal but dangerous. Seeing lights of the 4 wheel drives circling the base of that hill after dark, we knew a climb was in progress.

April knew her role. Locked in hubs and away we went for our turn at climbing that hill. Tricky, it was and everyone waiting their turn at the base had to park well out of the way of the climbing vehicle. If the wheels were not kept straight, the least little cut in the steering would cause the vehicle to roll many revolutions before it reached the bottom. Covered in mud, we would sometimes make the hill or watch as others attempted it.

The price of this fun was digging the mud out from beneath that Landcruiser and cleaning it up the next day.

It was used to crawl across rocks in low gear 4 wheel drive at Alcova Lake. We could get to isolated places where others hesitated to try.

We built a lot of great memories off road. In the summer we would remove the fiberglass top and cruise around town in it.

A few years ago I put it in the shop and had it cherried out and repainted. More years gone by and it was parked more then driven.

The husband didn't want to put any more time or money into. I wanted to keep it.

I ran an ad on Craigslist and it was quickly sold. I tried one last time to talk the husband into keeping it before answering the calls from Deryl Boudreau who was interested in buying it.

The Landcruiser has a new home in Covington, Louisiana now. I thought I wanted to keep track of it's refurbishing. I don't know if that is a wise decision. It might be easier to cut all ties.

Saddened, April and I stood in my kitchen while the tears poured the day before it was hauled out of here. It's done. It's gone.

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