Loose Ends: Welcome, travelers!

The rockslide in Glenwood Canyon produced an impromptu opportunity for all our Rio Blanco County boosters to get a new campaign up and running. Although the road may be repaired sooner than it was originally thought, the first and only “Detour Days” celebration will not have been held. Of course, it would have required the town’s and county’s joint efforts to waive some of their restrictions on such things as signage or zoning.
A parking lot at one of the business establishments could have had booths with local businesses restaurants offering some deals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Parking their cars and walking to the various restaurants for lunch, or redeeming coupons given with a free coffee has not been tested. Signs posted next to the highway on the way into Meeker could have served as sure-fire advertising. While some people would say the innovative signs would remind them of the Burma Shave ads of old, local folks would remember back to the days in 1929 when Rio Blanco Store owner Eugene Voetzel would advertise his wares with his memorable signature- The Jew.
It has been a little odd to see a long line of cars coming into Meeker these days. In the doldrums of winter, the community is dormant. Nothing is going on right now — no Range Call festivities, no Sheepdog Trials, no hunters. There may be a few ice fishermen, but not enough to justify the parade of cars passing through Market Street on their detour.
“We live on Highway 64, we had to stop and wait to get into that long line of cars,” said one local.
“It sure would be nice if we could figure out a way to get some of the folks to stop and see what Meeker has to offer,” said another.
I got my first glimpse of Meeker years ago when I passed through on Market Street on my way home from a cross-country ski trip to Steamboat. I noticed the scattered businesses, ramshackle residences, and lots of empty spaces filled with old machinery and cars. I didn’t have time to get off the highway to go over to Main Street.
“Who would live here?” I remember saying. There was no way that Market Street in those days could give any indication of the type of town through which we were passing. It wasn’t until we moved here a few months later that we became aware of the beauty of the community.
Not long after I asked that question, I discovered that my husband’s job offer had not been for the Glenwood Springs area as I’d thought. He came home from a successful first interview and tried to explain exactly where we were moving. “Do you remember that little town you asked about on our way home from the ski trip?” I soon learned who would choose to live in the White River Valley.
We did.

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