Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Thoughts running on fumes…

For the last couple of weekends the family project has been staining the house. My wife and two boys have real jobs so I’ve done a lot of the application. Anyone who knows me understands that type of work is not my forte (I use duct tape for just about anything in the manual labor arena). But it is a great change of the use of the mind and if I do say so, the whole family pitched in and the house looks a lot better now than it did three weeks ago.
One thing I appreciate, spending hours on a ladder in the sun breathing in the fumes of “Superdeck Heart Redwood,” is the chance for the mind to wander and wonder. The first thing I wondered every morning as I started the project was: Why the heck didn’t I build a stucco house some 18 years ago? 
Figuring I’ve written pieces after inhaling things a lot worse than transparent stain, here are some other quick things I pondered out there….
—The Arts Fest is this weekend. The arts community is huge in the valley and that is a great development. What if we more fully intertwined the growing art of the area with the growing physical aspects? Why not place some subtle art projects on or near some of the mountain bike trails? This spring I saw some interesting art while riding Phil’s World. A cool backcountry sculpture made of an elk skull decorated with bike parts, for example, greeted us at one overlook. There is some of that here already if you count the old mine art on the Budd Trail, or you might spot an aspen eye on Snodgrass. But maybe enhance the trails a bit with something as simple as the wonderful Crested Butte turquoise rock art in places that people stop to breathe. I don’t know if anyone else appreciates it, but I find it a bonus when riding and it lightens my soul.
—Why is Tully’s in the coed recreational softball league? Man, they’re good. Why are all the local cops starting to look like Transformers? Man, they’re big. Why has this ski town turned into a summer resort? Man, it’s busy.
—So, given the effects of the fumes and the time involved for the house project, I have been pulling back on the mountain bike the last couple weekends. I have tried to get out for a quickie on the Upper or the Lower Loops after staining and that has made me fall in love again. I have to say the Lower Loop area has developed into a great trail system. Yeah, it can sometimes be a tad crowded but the additions of the Budd trails (thanks to the Budd family for those wonderful trail easements), the Lupine, the GB, the Woods Walk, the Gunsight Road, and the two Lower Loops make for what has to be some of the finest green and blue single track on the globe. The views are world-class, the riding is smooth and the access is as easy as possible. 
In that vein, the idea of making that area leading to the treasured single track as pedestrian- and bike-friendly as possible is a good one. Maybe the way to proceed is to figure out a larger parking area just past the town boundary on Peanut Lake Road. Then develop a new hiking trail on the hillside below the current track above Peanut Lake. Throw in some overlooks and interpretive signs about the wildlife and landscape. Work with the county to mark that road as, say, 5 mph and discourage everyone except the property owners, the elderly and the handicapped from using it. Still, provide a spot for those who need it at the end of the road but use carrots and sticks to get people on their bikes and feet. We can’t expect all traffic to suddenly disappear from there (and it shouldn’t) but we can do things that emphasize pedestrians over cars. It is just so nice out there.
—So I have said to many people that as busy as it has been this summer, I haven’t heard much about local workers losing their minds in the chaos. However, I did witness one of the town’s young business owners lose it this past weekend at one of the hottest restaurants on Elk Avenue in a weird and frankly unprofessional fashion. What was disturbing is that the stress was obvious but it was like he wanted to discourage potential customers from coming back. And this from a guy I admire as one of the up and comers in the town. It just showed me that many of the people on the front lines might be walking a bit on the razor’s edge. And what was I thinking, trying to go out to eat in July, anyway? 
So here’s a shout out to everyone in the trenches and a reminder that it will all slow down in less than a couple of weeks. This will be a big weekend so hang in there, breathe and keep the big picture in perspective. This is the money time and it will get easier soon. I’m guessing it will all be different in about 10 days.
—And just so you know…I want to see the Crested Butte South bus service succeed and become a regular gig as well. Giving a kick in the butt to the subdivision residents to actually use it as opposed to talking about using it might help make that happen. It does appear the numbers are growing. That’s a good thing. I don’t know what defines success in that realm but the Crested Butte South residents and the RTA can figure that out. I do know that it takes ridership commitment for it to make sense.
—That big special event in September? I figure the reason there hasn’t been the typical Crested Butte rumor mill churning about what to expect as a national company comes in to rent the town (at a good price) is that the actual event might outdo any rumor that can be created. I hope so. The details are being kept secret (I don’t really like that much) but if we get to take part in a giant party with blue streets, elephants, and weirdness that is over the top…I say go for it and see what happens. I have complained that sometimes the ski area of the past was more interested in condos than fun so they tore down the experience places to make way for real estate. Oops. 
As I said to one guy concerned with the impacts… “Hey, Bud, lighten up. The town isn’t selling its soul—but it is renting it…” This could be fun and a great lesson of what the town can (or can’t?) handle. But the elected town representatives have to come clean soon with real details for their real citizens…
Next, the family gets to start work on sealing the driveway…

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