RSSAll Entries in the "Featured Peeks" Category


(Ridgway) Even as a young girl Lucy Mills had a thing for trains. Growing up near Dallas Divide she witnessed the passing from narrow gauge to split rail to the more modern welded steel rail tracks. She saw freight trains, boxcars, hoppers and flatcars. What ever made her want to chase them is anyone’s guess.

All it took was a whistle or maybe just the rumble of a caboose and she was off. One morning, in a rush to catch a slow gondola car she ran out of the cabin with nothing on but her boots and longhandles. That got some attention.

“We aren’t sure what she’d do if she ever caught one of the trains,” quipped one engineer. “In the beginning I figured she was just a little short of sense but when I saw those eyes gleaming in the light of the engineer’s lamp I knew we were dealing with someone quite special.”

The generally reliable source says he actually observed Mills biting at the cross-ties and the rails themselves.

“She’s like a mad dog when the train comes through town,” he frowned. “Not only is she a danger to herself but she scares our passengers.”

That may not be completely true since many tinhorns and other visitors to our country have taken to wagering bets on Mills and her curious endeavors. Last week, near Portland, a Chinese prince lost an estimated $350 when Mills failed to catch a slow freight. Sadly Mills had to be hog-collared by a nearby hump conductor and three gandy dancers who were busy placing ballast on the roadbed.

One of the fastest women in Ouray County Mills does manage to stay in great shape through her questionable hobby.

“We’d rather see her chasing horses or running down elk but she’s hooked on the trains,” said her father known in town as Pa. “I think it’s the sound and the fact that the trains make such a production of their arrivals and departures. It drives her nuts.”

Several of the leading freight companies have even attempted to hire Mills so as to distract her from the chase but that didn’t work. Apparently she didn’t take to a series of desk jobs preferring to be outside along the tracks.

“At least she doesn’t attempt to ram locomotives like that guy over in Placerville,” said Toole. “Now there was a man obsessed with technology.”

– Casey Jones 

Just a liitle rusty around the edges?

State cracks down on counterfeit barbecue aromas

(Gunnison) With the summer coming to a close, the Colorado Health Department has set new restrictions on escaping food odors, especially when the gastronomic source is unconfirmed. Popular fragrances, like those emanating from slowly smoked meats, are expected to be the first to go under the microscope.

Is this simple protectionism from an overzealous government agency? The effort is aimed at a less than appreciative populace that overwhelmingly feels it can make its own olfactory decisions.

Many industry spokespersons say the state has no place in curbing non-threatening scents and that the diversity in their culinary art is celebrated through the familiar bouquet generated by the cooking over traditional hardwoods. They demand an end to the interference which they claim diminishes the entire eating experience.

Meanwhile the government insists it is reevaluating phony aromas that may mislead people as to what’s for dinner.

“We don’t want a lot of culinary disappointments clouding prospective menus,” said one official. “We want people to smell the right smell and react in a positive manner. If we allow the presence and acceptance of bogus aromas we could throw off the entire food chain.”

The source went on to say that her agency is highly concerned with maintaining a passive population at all times.

“Pavlovian expectation can be devastating to a social order that wallows in promises of better days to come” she explained.

Pulling out a handy anatomical chart, she reminded consumers that the sense of smell is one of the five human senses along with sight, sound, feeling and taste. That said it was apparent everyone was not buying in to this latest safeguard.

“Why doesn’t our benevolent gov’ment address the subject of pollution and the rotting ozone instead of instituting high-handed limits on secondary aromas? asked one consumer advocate. “We’re not talking life threatening rudiments like fossil fuel pollution or even cigarette smoke here.”

Other critics say that governments prefer to frighten its citizenry with mindless concerns while ignoring real issues that are beyond its reach. They cite decisions to drop bombs rather than repair bridges.

“Diversions like barbecue smells mask the inability to solve real social problems and maintain infrastructure,”said the consumer advocate. “Sadly. the voters get the leaders they deserve.”

Colorado and other states fear the federal wing of the growing mess will cut off matching funds if they do not comply with the new precincts.

-Uncle Pahgre

Cattle Truck Tours in Hot Water Again

(Ouray) A local company offering authentic cattle truck tours of the Uncompahgre Valley has been called onto the carpet again this year due to what civic leaders are calling bad taste.

     A throng of detractors from both the public and private sector say Melvin’s Cattle Tours Ltd. has breached the thin line between what is entertaining and what is deplorable.

     “This is the proto-type of bad tourism,” said a chamber source. “It’s not in keeping with the image that we are trying so very hard to project for the summer season.”

     The unconfirmed comments went on to suggest that the operation, owned by Melvin Toole of Elk Meadows, creates an extremely  bad precedence, ridicules the cattle industry and demeans innocent tourists out for some good clean fun. A mounting contingent of critics say hauling tourists around the mountains inside a cattle truck is unsavory enough on its own, and when coupled with the poor driving and bad judgment, common to Toole’s derelict staff of reckless drivers, it becomes downright dangerous.

     Stopping short of banning what Toole calls “See The Mountains Like the Cows See Them”, the concerned citizens say they hope the proprietor will quit his bovine adventures voluntarily, adopting a more civilized method of making a living.

     “Maybe he could arrange jeep tours, offer sky diving or open an art gallery,” said one county commissar.

     Following a plethora of 2004 complaints relating to the condition of the cattle trucks and the bullying of passengers by drivers, the city has considered pulling Toole’s license. Last year hordes of angry visitors, feeling gouged by the $150 hourly fee, formed a constant parade through both the chamber and the mayor’s office.

     When contacted at what he calls his Natty Dread Love Shack, nothing more than a corrugated bindle shift sans pinchbeck office, Toole said he didn’t care if the authorities pulled his license since he never really wanted the thing in the first place.

     “I can just get me another one of those licenses up in Silverton for about ten bucks,” he blasted. “Now there’s a town that’s commerce friendly. This is America!” he raved on, “or at least it used to be. I will not be intimidated by this bureaucratic schlock, no sireeee. When the tourists hit I’ll be a-waitin’. Hell, I might even arrange to pick some of them up when they arrive at the airport.”

– Fred Zeppelin


(The following is a local review of the porta-johns in our natural forests aimed at making your temporary stay a fulfilling one. Each facility is rated on the basis of general cleanliness, aroma, seating capacity, flies, the presence of tissue and overall motif.)

Deer Lakes, Slumgullion Pass: Quite clean as of bow season with air freshener provided by Mother Nature. Plenty of toilet paper and even a small mirror. Seating could be a problem. Some spaced out flies. Nice wallpaper.

Billy Creek: Screens on the window, one roll of floral toilet paper left, along with a 1963 calender. No air freshener available, because someone pried the dispenser off the wall. Situated on a flat surface for a comfortable stay.

Yankee Boy Basin: Locked. Premium pay site just over the next rise.

Paradise Basin: A beneficial redoubt for campers. Once used by Otto Mears. Magazine rack full of U.S. Department of Interior pamphlets. Lots of flies, but a well-stocked array of colored toilet paper. Needs a good pumping out as is evidenced by the presence of complaints scribbled on the wall.

Gothic Campground: No door knob, and the spring needs attention. Very few flies, due to continued use. Excellent graffiti. Seats six. Newly painted in a cheerful brown. Although engineered for optimum flow, its horizontal layout makes doing one’s business a little less than enjoyable.

Daisy Mill Campsites: No porta-john is present but the existence of many suitable logs saves the day. Watch for ticks.

Bridal Veil: Great views from the throne. Running water. Carpet needs to be vacuumed, and the drapes are really faded. FAX machine. No pets. Pack rats have taken over the attic. Smells a lot like a Chinese restaurant.

Swampy Pass: Great place to catch a nap as the commode pulls out into a bed. Attached garage quite functional on colder nights. Limited use facility. Please regulate the use of lime. Fly swatter on left wall. Incredible acoustics.

Colorado Goes To Pot on Housing Shortages

(Reefer Mesa) Lawmakers here have unanimously approved a bill that would encourage the construction of small hemp houses. The first of the low-income/employee residences, built entirely of hemp grown in the state, is slated for inspection in time for ski season.

     The cottages, duplexes and apartments that will grace the mountains and valleys here give new credence to the concept of green. Abundant tax revenues, the result of burgeoning marijuana sales, will be applied to the program as needs become clear.

     Some say marijuana was more fun when it as illegal. Others remember the days when finding suitable housing here was academic. Today many Colorado residents are not smoking the stuff. We’re building houses with it.”

     Not only is the state spending tax revenue on housing but it is now the first state to approve the use of hemp as a building material.

     “The stuff is strong and malleable, lightweight, easy to acquire and eco-friendly, while costing almost nothing” said one state legislator who had initially opposed the arrangement. “We are not puffing around here. We are on the cutting edge. Other states will follow our success.”

     The Trump Administration, driven by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has threatened to bulldoze the new structures if they are not compliant with federal restrictions on the use of controlled substances.

     “We love to frame out a new house with hemp stalks and insulate the whole dog with shake,” said a carpenter turned grower and designer.             – Tommy Middlefinger