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The 'tank


“Satank is like Narnia; it’s hard to find, but once you’re there you never want to leave.” –JB

For those of you who don’t already know, Satank is a neighborhood to the west of Carbondale. It’s not actually in Carbondale, as in the town limits, but you can walk to Sopris Park in about fifteen minutes— and that’s with two dogs who like to stop and smell the opposite of roses. Satank was originally called Cooperton for founder Isaac Cooper, who has streets named for him both in Aspen and in Glenwood Springs. Satank sits just above the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and Rock Creek (the Crystal River) with many old trees lining the quiet roads. A lot of people have lived in Satank at least once in their valley rental history, and everyone I’ve heard from has enjoyed living here.

That’s not to say Satank doesn’t have its quirks; it does. As residents of unincorporated Garfield County, Satankers have, for the most part, adopted a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to rules and regulations. From tribes of free-range chickens to plastic ones artfully placed in the front yard, anything goes in Satank; we even have a free box corner. And for the most part, neighbors overlook each other’s strange habits because we acknowledge our own idiosyncrasies.

Over the years, Satankers have earned the reputation of being everything from ‘challenging’ to eccentric, to just plain cray-cray. But don’t let the lawn clutter and patch-worked outbuildings fool you— being a recluse goes hand in hand with having a high I.Q. Yep, I said it; only the good die young, and only the bright choose a little hinky over an HOA. Sure, our neighborhood may resemble Sanford and Son, but at least we can have a yard sale any time we want and leave the Christmas lights up after January 1st.

One of these days we’re going to start the Satank Country Club, and then look out! “We have a pool and a pond… Pond’d be good for you.” –Ty Webb (Caddyshack.) Truly, the future look and feel of Satank is anyone’s guess. With a range of individuality rarely seen in such a small area, Satank is enduring and unique. Even with all the changes Carbondale has undergone in the last few years, I’m not worried. As satankerous* as some of my neighbors are, I seriously doubt we’ll even see curb and gutter work in my lifetime.

The newest Satank trend is to live in a trailer while you build a house, and I must say, I’m rather envious (my retirement dream is to live in a trailer on the beach.) Back when we moved our house to Satank, we felt it fit in perfectly because it is a stick-built to look like a modular. My husband’s brother, Jack, was the first one to buy land from my uncle Charlie, (he bought the land from Bud Fender) and he built a straw bale house on the river. Next, we moved in an old wood house off my grandparents’ ranch; it took about fifteen minutes to drive down Hwy 133 with a Wide Load truck leading the way, and more than two hours to negotiate the twists and turns of Satank. So now, if the youngest Wilfley brother moves his family to Satank they’ll need a brick house, in keeping with the Three Little Pigs storyline. My in-laws are not as corny as I am, but they put up with my huffing and puffing jokes.

Maybe that’s the secret to Satank, a sense of humor. No one here takes life so seriously that they won’t kick off their shoes and put their feet in the ditch with a neighbor on a sunny afternoon. When Brad Hendricks (Satanker extraordinaire) passed away, there were little handmade signs in front of the houses that read: ‘park here’ and ‘parking for Brad H.’ It was heartwarming to see neighbors reaching out in consideration instead of calling a tow truck. True community is about appreciating each other’s differences, and paying it forward in kind. And in this respect, Satank’s diversity makes it, already, a very rich neighborhood.

*courtesy Tom Camp

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