Joe from New Jersey, one of our many subscribers who doesn't live here, comes here often and thinks about our area even more often, renewed his subscription this week.
He said to "tell Ouray hello."
I think he means in the general sense, the one that translates to, sure, there are beautiful parts of New Jersey, but then there's Ouray.
Speaking of vacations, Beecher and I finally moved the camper out of the driveway and not just to put it back in the barn. We towed it down the street, up over Dallas Divide and out of this county!
Now that's progress.
Our first stop was to pitch a stake at the KOA in Durango. Electric and water hook ups, bathrooms and someone else making us coffee in the morning. Not exactly roughing it.
But we had a reason, and that was to see our son Michael's band play at Moe’s on Main Avenue. His band is called FLAB, which stands for Funk Lab.
Not exactly the geriatric crowd at Moe’s on a Thursday night. In fact, it was such a young crowd that the only flab to found in the joint was on stage, and on us.
But he puts on a good show, jazzing up old favorites that even we parents can sing along with.
Bands always have some sort of controversy or strife, and this night was no different. It was open mic night with FLAB, and a drummer from the crowd kept signing up to sit in with the band. He played the drums well, and it probably would have sounded better had he been playing the same song as the rest of the band.
No one in the audience seemed to mind, however. When you're in your early 20s, your worries go about as deep as the bottom of your glass.
The next time we see the band it might be under a different name. Michael says the band is contemplating changing its name to Pulp Funktion. Not exactly the Quarry Men, Johnny and Moondogs, the Nerk Twins or the Silver Beetles before settling on The Beatles, but who knows?
Off we went to camp for a few days next to the Rio Grande. I kept calling it the Rio Grande River, which Beecher corrected me and said I was calling it the big river river. So the more I said it, the more she corrected me.
Ah, the things you do to pass the the time as the miles roll away.
Anyway, we got to Creede and were able to break the monotony of the English lesson by searching the interweb on our phones for the population of Creede, which is listed just north of 400.
Outside of Creede, though, is the real population center. A hundred or so houses all lined up along the Rio Grande, looking largely unpopulated, filled the valley floor. I speculated that these were mostly summer homes, VRBOs, etc., and wondered if their owners fought with Mineral County to have their streets paved every so often.
We think sometimes that our problems are unique.
Rolling along up CO 149, we passed over the river. The sign on the bridge read "Rio Grande River."
I was talking to a friend in Ridgway about Creede this week. I told her we thought the area was so beautiful that we were going to sell the paper, move to Creede and start a community garden. Isn't that generally the case with wherever you vacation? It's so different and beautiful that you want to live there (see Tamara's column on page 5 for a partial reality check).
My friend in Ridgway said that while she was living in South Fork, her husband-to-be proposed to her in Creede. It may have been at the OMI (Old Miners Inn) while a band was playing, and he might have said something really romantic such as, "Wanna get hitched tomorrow?"
And they did. But it wasn't the next day, and it wasn't at the OMI, where some poor soul once fell through a portion of the floor that was being fixed and died, she said.
Such are the tales of love and life and death and big river rivers in Creede, Colorado.
On the way back we drove over Slumgullion Pass, making the big Silver Thread scenic loop. The pass was decimated by beetle kill, and areas around the highway had been cleared and hauled off to the lumber mill in Montrose.
I searched the interweb for some information on the area and up popped a realtor's site. On it, the realtor was making lemonade out of lemons. He talked about how the vast aspen groves in the area now had room to spread, and the views and vistas opened by clearing dead trees revealed a panorama never seen before from the road.
Seedling planting is visible, and a new generation of trees will soon take root.
Such is life and death and views and vistas along Slumgullion Pass.
The Ouray Ice Park board and the City of Ouray have been working on a new agreement, or a way to seamlessly ease out of the current agreement, in which the OIPI operates the Ice Park in Ouray and produces the Ice Festival. Since OIPI informed the city last year that it did not want to renew the current contract, the stated plan was to have the city run the park for 2017-18 season and OIPI run the festival and reimburse the city for operating expenses.
The details of this transition have been being worked on by a committee composed of two city councilors and OIPI representatives.
For what was supposed to be an amicable, simple transition, OIPI threw the city a curve by handing them an agreement to consider which stated OIPI would run the park and put on the festival for the upcoming season, and the city could sit back and watch.
This flew like a lead balloon.
Clint Estes with OIPI told the crowd and council at Monday's meeting that OIPI offered this about-face to get the city's attention. He said the city hadn't met deadlines and OIPI wanted assurances before it continued with an agreement in place.
A bluff, perhaps, by OIPI? An ultimatum? Or a simple attention-getter?
Hard to say, since none of us is ever privy to the workings of the OIPI board. But suffice to say, the city has been planning for months on operating the Ice Park, and plans in place may only need implementation.
So don't be surprised if the city, and the community, offers thanks to OIPI for the invaluable contribution it has made to the city and county, for the countless hours its volunteers have given to the park and for putting Ouray's winter on the map with a world class ice park, but kindly says, “We'll take it from here."