Industrial tourism

Eat me

I dined at the exclusive Vitamin Cottage in Dillon, selecting a delicious potato salad and San Pellegrino from the extensive menu of shit one can eat in one’s car.

Yesterday I visited, briefly, what the late, lamented Ed Quillen once called the Interstate 70 Industrial Tourism Sacrifice Zone. Nothing wrong with the place that Peak Oil can’t cure.

It had been several years since my last visit to the Zone, and peer as I might between the rare gaps in  traffic I could detect no signs of intelligent life.

There was existence, of a sort — the Breckenridge-Frisco-Silverthorne-Dillon clusterplex remained as relentlessly active as an anthill, busily raising a bumper crop of orange road-construction cones with one pincer and separating rubes from their rubles with the other.

I was in the Zone to meet a shooter from Steamboat Springs, whose current project required the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff I’ve been evaluating for Adventure Cyclist. Time was of the essence, and shop mechanics are crushed this time of year, so we didn’t care to wait for the lengthy disassembly-shipping-reassembly process, which can involve brown-suited gorillas using the box as a trampoline in between ZIP codes.

So I drove north from Bibleburg, and Doug drove south from Steamboat, and we met in the parking lot of a Silverthorne Wendy’s, as seemed appropriate, given the locale.

We were clearly members of the same tribe — Doug was driving a black Subaru with a bike on the roof, and I was driving a silver Subaru with a bike in the back — and neither of us was overjoyed to be in the Zone, though in its defense I will note that it was not on fire at the moment.

We discussed the Divide Rohloff, cycling and our own communities’ respective revenue-enhancement models — his, a vastly enhanced network of cycling trails (Welcome to Steamboat 2013!); mine, a downtown stadium for the Colorado Rockies’ farm club and a U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame (Welcome to Bibleburg 1913!).

Then we shook hands, jumped into our respective Subarus, and off we went.

Having taken the scenic route north, through Woodland Park, Hartsel, Fairplay and Breck’, I decided I owed it to science to take the interstates home. It being seven-ish I enjoyed mostly smooth sailing despite the $160 million Twin Tunnels expansion project until I approached the Air Force Academy, where I began a 40-minute crawl through three more road “improvement” projects to Chez Dog.

Those should do wonders for tourism. It certainly made me want to go somewhere. Take me out to the ball game. …

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12 Responses to “Industrial tourism”

  1. khal spencerk Says:

    Oh, that kind of shooter…..kinda had me worried for a minute.

  2. Larry T. Says:

    We used to drive past there a lot on the way to SoCal from Iowa in December… the idea was to load up the car with vino at Trader Joe’s in CA and haul it home once our holidays were over. Nowadays we fly, skipping that eyesore along with so many others along the highway. Sometimes you can’t tell where the hell you are as all the “Crap, Clutter and Beyond”, “Fourbucks” “Rockchucker Video” and Olive Garden’s (the McDonald’s of Italian food) just repeat, as if you’re on an endless loop.

  3. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    When you said “clusterplex” another word came to my mind.

    Ain’t growth grand? 20 years from now they will want to raise taxes so they can tear down the stadium which will be obsolete then. Whatever happened to getting government out of business? Guess it depends which way the money is flowing.

  4. Derek Lenahan Says:

    Ralph really hit the nail on the head with the stadium article. I think he was way to nice in a political way though. not mentioning the newish Mayor and all his real estate buddies really just see this as a way to make gobs of money now so they can fly the coop when the shit hits the fan.

  5. Derek Lenahan Says:

    “too nice”

  6. john Says:

    In the Zone — did you see Tyrone Slothrop there?

  7. John Says:

    San Diego pulled one of these “we need a new baseball park” routines just over ten years ago, and I was lucky enough to be there to witness a year or so of it. It’s case study in an interesting type of corruption, the type that says “we don’t care if you know we’re corrupt, the developers pay us more”. It went something like this (so you know what’s in the script where you are, PO’G):

    1. Hold any “public meetings” in the middle of a weekday afternoon when nobody with a job can attend. If too many attend anyway, reschedule meeting.

    2. Get voters to approve a ballot measure for $200M to build new baseball stadium. Talk about how tourism will pay for it (even though that makes zero sense). Voters approve ballot measure one month after local baseball team goes to world series (team hasn’t come within sniffing distance since).

    3. Sell $299M in bonds. When the city gets sued for selling too many bonds get a friendly judge to rule that “the voters knew there would cost overruns” (seriously, that’s a near direct quote).

    4. Finish building baseball park for a mere $450M. Soon afterward, reveal that city’s pension fund is now $1Billion arears.

    5. Sell naming rights for $35M. Give $35M to owner of baseball team, nothing goes to repay loans.

    6. Get baseball team owner to bankroll mayor’s gubernatorial and senatorial political ambitions.

    7. Relax and enjoy watching multi millionaires chase a little white ball.

    Waa-Laa!

    • Larry T. Says:

      Amazing – not because of this particular scheme but because this is pretty much the way it always works when these rich sport team owners decide the public needs to pony up for a new place for their team to play. At least the folks down in Brazil are making it known that spending all the dough on stadiums for various sports while letting education and social welfare programs go wanting is not acceptable. Can you imagine someone in the USA organizing a protest against one of these schemes? But of course WE have the democracy, as we are so often reminded!

      • John Says:

        Americans don’t protest. What we think of as a protest is laughable compared to other countries whose population doesn’t tolerate being walked over without creating a fuss (your Brazil example, for example). I’m not economist (not even close) but I suspect it’s one reason why the US dollar is, or has been, such a reliable currency: not much chance of the masses rising up and toppling the government around here.

        As for the public paying for stadiums so billionaires can get richer, I suspect what went on in San Diego was trivial compared to what went into the Cowboys getting their new, $1.3 Billion football palace. It ain’t just Nero playing as this Rome burns.

      • Larry T. Says:

        You are correct. I remember an exchange I had with a local sportswriter after he wrote a column urging the locals to “get out and support the team” of semi-pro baseballers – a team owned by some local fatcat playing in a stadium the city paid for while HE retained all the revenue and paid virtually no taxes. The sportswriter finally replied with something like “I guess YOU would be happier if it was still just a cornfield out there” which was correct – why should my tax monies go to support this fatcat’s hobby? But I’m sure there was little protest when the deal was put together.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Tucson has been going through that pain of baseball spring training leaving town for years. The university picked up some of the slack, and games between American and Mexican teams has filled some seats. But the taxpayer is paying again. This is one issue where I have a black and white view. No tax money should ever support professional sports, especially building venues, including Olympic facilities. It worked 40 years ago, but not now. The pro sport assumes little or no risk, and move almost at will for the next great “deal.”

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