SMALLTOWN USA

SMALLTOWN USA

SMALLTOWN USA

Life at 7000′ can be a challenge, climbing stairs is not for the faint hearted, so the move to Dolores
Colorado from the bustle of Phoenix took a little adjustment. The lunacy of Phoenix driving, which must
rate as some of the worst in the World, is a pleasure to be without along with the summer heat, which
although as they say is a “dry heat” gets a little too much as the temps are usually 100+ from mid April
until October. Local driving is a more relaxed and the only local lunacy is dumb Elks and Deer who
think they have the right of way but they will be as rare as RHS in the next few weeks as we move into
hunting season.

Now you see me, soon you won’t

So what exactly does happen in Dolores, population 800+, ……… a very good question? Well it would
appear not much, we have a grocery, a micro brewery, a hardware store, a rundown hotel, a motel,
3 RV parks, 2 gas stations, 2 vets, a library, a post office, a hairdresser, some restaurants, a new
upmarket fire station, burger bars and a few shops including a cycle shop for all the tourists and
mountain bikers, and of course the hub of the town the Hollywood Bar.

There is a local newspaper but the main source of all news is the Hollywood. We have a group of
“boy sheriffs and deputies” tearing around in their new Chevy’s looking for trouble while the rest of the
town goes about its normal business of fishing and drinking or doing precisely nothing and waiting for
the tourists.

In late summer our other local town of Mancos, population 1100, has its Pool season and then circa
October the Pool competition switches back to Dolores on Saturdays when the reverse Snowbirds
have left before the first snowfalls. During the summer the two towns have their “parades”  with Mancos
kicking off. Quaint perhaps, describes it best, with all manner of floats, horses, random Harley’s, school
children, old cars, lots of fire vehicles, and children grabbing candy from amid the horse **** in the road.
Mancos’s answer to the Hollywood is the equally well frequented Columbine, their center of all town
knowledge, and post parade, several horses and riders join the customers in the bar. Don’t forget that
Harley as that will be in there too! It did occur to me that maybe I should ride the Cub through there for
a couple of loops!

Cash for Clunkers ?

Rodeo Queens, guess the year ?

Something different from the Library Ladies

Even a horse needs a drink in the Columbine

Two weeks later the scene switches to Dolores for “Escalante Days” to remember the Spanish who
once colonized this area and account for the Spanish symbols amid the state flag. Father Escalante
and his merry band tromped through here many years ago giving all and sundry Spanish names,
Dolores being one and others of course are Mancos, Cortez, Montezuma, and many others before the
band traveled into Utah.

Escalante Days is the “Big Happening” in Dolores which kicks off with the same style parade with yet
more horses and cowboys followed by marching bands and the same collection of floats with their
occupants throwing sweets and candy for the kids to hunt for amid the “presents” previously dropped
by the horses! The parade wraps up with all the town’s new fire vehicles blowing horns and wailing
sirens.

The Parade begins……..

Not in use today!

The current fleet negotiating the horse “presents” and candy

This must be a new one ?

The center for viewing all this activity is of course the Hollywood, and from here you can wander outside
to watch all the other mainstream fun with the finish of the very well attended mountain bike race which
is taken very seriously in these parts. With the leaders coming home in the bike race down our own
Champs-Elysees  we move into the log cutting competition. The local lumber yard provides a perfect
12″ diameter log which arrives on it’s trailer out side the bar and prospective contestants warm up their
high performance, tuned and honed chainsaws. Name of the game is 3 cuts, one down, one up, and
the final downstroke to complete the contest.

The rules may not be entirely clear other than it must be a complete cut, but eventually after a couple
of rounds of this and with the crowd suitably covered in sawdust a winner emerges with 3 good cuts in
16 seconds.

The organizer shows how

Donny covers me in sawdust

With a choice of several well meaning local charities serving hot dogs, burgers and turkey legs a low
grade lunch is completed before the Arm Wrestling competition gets under way on the trailer that
previously had the log on board, while some 3 hours after the winners arrived the last of the mountain
bikers are still pedaling their way to the finish.

The “ladies”, and I used the term advisedly, competition gets under way and having watched it last year
I am expecting a no contest event when they let that “one” out of the cage!  However, a petite, but fit,
woman easily wins her opening heat and moves on while “gorilla” shows her Amazon skills with
another easy victory. The men’s section have their first rounds in all classes and we now move into the
final stages of the ladies event. Petite sails through her semi, while Gorilla gets thrashed in hers by
another equally broad shouldered dress wearing individual much to the amazement of all and sundry!
So here we are in the final, Petite v Broad Shouldered Dress, and as our contestants take the strain I
fear for Petite as Broad Shoulders made short work of last year’s Champ, Gorilla.

Last year’s Champ goes down in the third place tie break

Little wiry Petite doesn’t look to be concerned and when the Ref takes her hands away Petite delivers
a killer blow and puts down Broad Shoulders with one easy press! A new Champion is crowned, and
this time there will be no drug testing as she is clearly of the female gender!

As my headache refuses to go away, (it was the day after my birthday) we elect to miss out on the duck
race on the Dolores River where literally thousands of numbered plastic ducks are released and make
their way down the torrent to the bridge where many helpers collect them in nets. First prize is $1250,
and last place some time in the future will be $250.

Dances, bands, fighting and DUI’s round off the evening and then for Sunday more drinking, Harley’s
up the wazoo, and tales of daring do from Saturday night. By Monday morning the town has returned to
normality and now we all await the hunting season and those dreadful orange baseball caps. The
colors will change and the scene will be gorgeous for a few weeks and then as the Winter pool season
opens we will see the first falls of snow. Then as the roads get covered in the white stuff the plows will
be out blocking all the side roads, log splitting will be the order of the day, fires will rage, Christmas will
come and go and the tour buses will make their way the 55 miles to Telluride for some World Class
skiing.

Meanwhile, here in sleepy hollow the parties will continue, the smokers will huddle in the back room
of the Hollywood wondering when they will ever get the heater fixed? Three years ago they put in a new
heater, it of course ran out of LP but nobody would walk the 50 yards to get it filled. A new tank arrived..
……. some clown singed their eyebrows trying to light it……….. a shade tree mechanic tried to fix it with
some vice grips……… the brass fitting is now buggered!…………. 50 yards away is a plumber’s store……..
nobody has EVER fixed it…….. and there it sits………

TONY DOWN

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