Category Archives: Town

Billboards

When I was a young person, billboards were ubiquitous along the highways. As one went along the road, the way was jammed with billboards extolling the beauty of various tourist traps that were just a few more miles further ahead. When the president’s missus got legislation to abolish these eyesores, there was an outcry against the very idea. But since then this has proved to be a brilliant move. So now billboards exist mainly in town (apparently they are impossible to eradicate). And I admit that I do notice them while driving about.

This billboard is quite near the freeway, and I took this photo because of the content. Because there are numerous tourists here, one now needs to make a reservation to pay and drive up the mountain. (Of course it requires a certain bit of insanity to wish to pay to drive up a narrow mountain road, but that’s tourists for you). So now this requires planning too.

The original Smokey the bear would be 72 years old by now, and he originally looked rather more like a bear. This bear looks like he both works out, and drinks lots of beer.

CDOT has put up this enigmatic billboard. I am not sure if this refers to the speed of flying saucers (no greater than 186,000 miles/second) or the posted road signs. If one were to drive the actual speed limit one would be holding up traffic, so the moral is “no excuses?”.

This billboard addresses a major fear of mine, what to do if pursued by a Kaiju. As this looks like it is taking place in a tourist area, it’s probably impossible to speed, there would be tourists jamming up everything. But I’m glad that CDOT found the money and time to warn everyone about the possibility.

Spring

It’s really hard to say when it’s actually spring in this area. It might seem like summer in January when the temperature gets to 70 F. Here you can’t depend on knowing what season it is by the calendar, you have to look for other signs. First, the deer that have been laying about the yard since last Fall, suddenly disappear. I think that they have gone off to the secret deer maternity ward, or perhaps they are just looking for those wayward stags for a little help with the babies. If one lives at a lower altitude with plenty of rain, early flowers are a reliable sign that Spring is coming. Here the flowering things are just starting out, at least until the predicted snow later this week.

Lilacs have a short season, but they do grow here, and have a wonderful scent.

Flowering crab apples are a popular decorative tree, although I am sure that the deer would prefer actual apple trees ( no one asks their opinions on such).

And these trees come in a lovely pink as well.

These blossoms reminded me of roses, (they will not be blooming until it is Summer).

In Korean movies, if people are walking along under a shower of falling petals, it means they are falling in love. I was just walking with dogs, so I guess that’s not going to happen for this writer. Perhaps the deer should try walking under these trees with the stags (maybe then they would help with the babies!).

Easter Parade

It was once a custom of people to get especially dressed up for holidays such as Easter. Easter is both a religious holiday and a celebration of Spring after a long Winter. When I was a tiny tot, Easter involved getting a new dress to wear to church, a new hat (courtesy of my grandmother, who was hat mad), and white gloves. Then there would be a feast that took forever to be ready. Later the new clothes would be packed away if I hadn’t ruined them playing with my brothers (while we waited for the food).

But on this Easter weekend, I enjoyed a different sort of parading about in finery, as on this weekend there was a local pow wow. (Confession: my friend M had guilted me into going even though I was busy).

First up were the Aztec dancers, a dance troupe which was celebrating the indigenous styles of Mexico.

There was a strong, freezing wind blowing, so the dancing was moved to a nearby tent. Every pow wow starts off with a grand entry of all the dancers in attendance. First to enter are the veterans carrying flags, then people in order of importance. These were the head dancers and tribal representatives. (Miss Gallup can butcher a sheep in three minutes, so don’t mess with her.)

So there is a lot of expected outfits, buckskins and beads, etc. but there is also room for updating things. So the dress is in a traditional style, but she chose to go with a manga style print which looked fabulous.

Your expected sort of Easter hat (like my white grandmother loved) often was garnished with ribbons and feathers to make a statement. But I have to say that this dancer out-does any typical Easter outfit, and it was eye-catching to watch the ribbons rippling in the breeze.

Then for my feast I stood in line for some fry bread, then I scurried home, as I said, it was freezing cold out there and I had expected Spring.

March

So after a two year hiatus, the big event was on again. And I once again braved the murderous traffic to drive up north, and attend. It quite often snows on this weekend, but this time it was warm and sunny, so there were lots of people with the same idea.

This was the 46th annual event, and it is quite a show with dancers and vendors coming from far away to participate. And it has lots of things to buy that one can’t get anywhere else, like bits of curly-haired goat skins, sage, beads and bling. Plus t-shirts with characters like Pikachu and Yoda in tribal dress and assorted pop culture mash-ups. If one wants to stand in a very long line there is traditional food to be had (okay, it’s just fry bread).

The event is held at a sports arena that is most famous locally for the annual stock show in January (a stock show is where one brings prize cattle and horses, it’s a beauty pageant for animals, and winning means money and a chance to reproduce). It’s located in the shrinking industrial part of town (yes, even this part of town is becoming gentrified).

Just like the livestock show, this event is also judged. There are points for participation, decorativeness of the dance outfits, and dance style. (Not sure which is the most important, but there is prize money involved as well as prestige).

The more bling, the better.

I saw this sticker on a car in the parking lot (and you know how I love stickers). I thought it was funny, and I think the crowd on hand agreed with the sentiment. And that’s why I like to go, despite the traffic, the crowds, etc.

Blow Me Down

In the old Popeye the Sailor cartoons, he was given to exclaim “Well blow me down” (is this some sort of mysterious sailor talk for the unexpected? Maybe?)

Although this is a generally great place to live, there are a few extreme events that happen every now and again that might give one pause. Sometimes the wind blows quite hard, following along the mountains (which run north to south), and there is nothing to buffer it (like a mountain going in the other direction). So further north in the state this wind took a small grassfire and turned it into a conflagration that burned down a thousand homes. But here the only victims were trees (thankfully).

This was the first one I came across. I had been to the gym and when I was coming home, this tree had fallen across most of the road. The city showed up and cut it back to the sidewalk, then homeowner paid to have the branches removed, but the trunk is still here, waiting.

This is at my neighbors’ house, and the tree broke when no one was home (what is that saying about a tree falling in the forest when no one is listening?).

This is one of the city’s trees, and as it is not blocking traffic, it has not been removed yet.

There is a lot of this sort of thing to be seen still around town, just the half removed stumps of what were rather large beautiful trees. You can see the bit of damage on the roof of one house, caused when the tree toppled over.

High winds, drought and the occasional massive snowstorm are not mentioned in the tourist brochures for some reason, but it’s still a great place to live (just don’t tell anyone else).

Why here?

One of the perils of being named as a great place to live in various magazines (are they even still a thing?) and in some sort of poll, is that people wish to move here. As a long-term resident I am somewhat dismayed by the attention (and the increase in housing prices, cars on the road, people, etc.). But of course I do understand it. So how did I come to be here? It wasn’t my first choice. We drove through town after a visit to Grandma, and I couldn’t believe how much the town had grown (way back then). I said in my out loud voice “Look at all the new housing, what a horrible place. I would never want to live there”. So within six months we had packed up and moved here for M’s job. So the job was the reason to come, and I really did not pay enough attention to the other selling point, there is great scenery here.

The mountain is the current selling point, and and it’s why the town has grown I think. (There was originally a gold rush on the mountain that caused white people to move here, plus there is a bit of water and that equals civilization).

The mountain is beautiful, mysterious and ever changing according to the light.

This city park is amazingly popular with tourists, there are even a few hiking about in this picture.

This is the view for people who can’t afford to live in a house. The largest homeless shelter is nearby, and lots of people camp out along the creek (although this is technically illegal). Even at it’s least desirable, it’s still a great place to live. Even the pigeons on the wire are looking to the mountain.

Fee Fi Faux

I do love to wander about taking random photos of whatever catches my eye. This area is famous for it’s natural beauty, but there is also the charm of it’s fakeness (not sure if this is a word).

For example, if one gets a permit and has technical rock climbing experience, one may climb the sheer cliff faces at Garden of the Gods. In lieu of that, anyone may try their hand at climbing this artificial rock slab. No permit is needed and there are no warning signs of impending doom. (Plus it’s both easier and quicker than technical climbing).

This could be a tree (after the developers have had at it), or perhaps it is a new way of stacking firewood. But no, it’s neither. This claims to be art, and is part of the arts in the street program (who knew?). And it’s for tourists and locals alike

These faux rock formations are being installed at a new play area. It recreates the feel of rock formations, without the pesky realism and danger of actual rocks. Oh imagine all the fun that children will have playing on these (or not).

It’s not just civic organizations that go for the unnatural look. These homeowners decided against a lawn (really not a terrible idea) and instead populated their yard with these rather attractive plants. It breaks up the monotony of a rock yard, and gives it a bit of style, so this is the only spot of faux nature that does something useful. It’s an improvement, unlike the art on the street tree (try again city).

A walk in the park

I know that I most often take pictures of places in the city. But the city is part of the larger county, and this is not all totally developed (yet). I knew this park existed, my favorite dog friends often go there to run, but I had never taken the time to visit. So today was the day for it.

The area where the town sits was originally a tree-less prairie, but along the ridge in the northern part of the county, there has always been a pine forest. And this bit was designated as a park (which explains why there are still trees and there aren’t fancy houses in view).

The skies had been smoke-filled the day before (with smoke imported from California), but the winds shifted and there were the blue skies and fluffy clouds of summer.

The park features walking trails, a dog park, and a little pond (no fishing allowed, but the fish will break the surface and stare at one). Also present were chipmunks, and they proved to be quite a hit with any of the young persons who were there.

And why was I at this park, on this day, at this place? Why some dear friends were getting married in the gazebo that juts out into the lake (that’s not them in the picture, just some random tourists). It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful place, with a beautiful ceremony to tie the knot. And then it was on to catered food, (one does get hungry strolling in the park), music and wedding cake, a perfect end to a perfect day.

New artist

So now you might be wondering, what was the recent gallery opening about? And why did I feel impelled to go?

This piece was the first one created by this artist for the local “art on the street” project , and it has always been my favorite (I actively hate some of the work of other artists). It has been here for a couple of years and I am amazed by the number of my friends who have never noticed this and don’t know what I’m talking about. Anyway, the statue was vandalized by some jerk last year, and this is actually the second version. The artist came to town to fix this, and decided that he liked the place so well, that he and his family moved here from Korea. So now I guess that makes him a local artist.

This is this years’ selection for “art on the streets”. And because one does not have to put any money in the parking meters on Sunday morning, I was out and about to take this new photo of these amazing steel Betas. It was rather breezy and they were moving in the wind, as is proper for fighting fish.
So besides making massive sculptures, he also does smaller pieces, like this tiny tree (it did not have a tiny price tag). This tiny gallery is the perfect sort of place to show small art. (Not sure if it is the perfect sort of place to sell art). But there we all were, seeing and being seen, drinking cheap wine and admiring the art.
I did love this piece, and after a glass of wine I had a few fangirl words with the artist (and I hope that he understands English, or maybe it’s better if he doesn’t).

I had found out about the gallery show from an article in the local newspaper, and this mentioned that the missus of the artist did fiber art. Well, so do I, so I wished to meet her. But we do very different sorts of things, and I guess I am not a fangirl, but I definitely approve of following one’s muse. I hope that she and the family like this town, and that they continue to be local artists, because we need great art for the streets (wait a minute, that brings tourists, so maybe not).

More signs

I do love the whimsy of signs, just a brief announcement of something, anything that gives one a snippet of information or direction. Now that proper gallery openings are allowed, I had popped in to see the show of a new resident (more later). By proper gallery opening, I mean there were nibbles, cheap wine and no masks, just what one expects. And signs.

This was the entrance to the gallery, referencing a rap song from the past, so I would guess the gallerists to be in their 40’s.

Rather useful information, and I am sure the persons inside got tired of repeating this to passersby.

This looks to have been posted by a trout, or perhaps a friend. I am unaware of any fish actually living in the creek. And like many signs, it appears to have been ignored.

This sign was the best of the lot, as well as being the most cryptic. Walking on the sidewalk is what one does, I suppose this indicates to walk one’s bicycle, the other two images were more mysterious, but I eventually decided that they referred to skateboards and rollerblades. I doubt if this is legible or obvious as one rolls along, but it’s an interesting graphic. Nice try, city.