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Western Slope Wonders

Essay by Gen. Kashmir Horseshoe

Local humor – August 1995 – Colorado Central Magazine

Are you planning a visit to the Western Slope this summer? If so, here is a preferred selection of attractions even you won’t want to miss!

The Sagebrush Holocaust Museum: This eerie monument seeks to honor the millions of native sagebrush plants that are destroyed by bulldozers and asphalt each year. It was located somewhere in the Gunnison Valley as of last night.

Historic Motel Row: Located in Gunnison, this historical district has been recently restored and preserved for future generations. Many of the structures are available on a nightly or weekly basis and summer rates are cheaper than Aspen or Vail. Take a stroll through the exotic past as some of these cultural treasures were built as early as 1955. Park at Parlin and head due west along Tomichi Creek until you see the flashing lights. Self-contained RV enthusiasts are welcome, too.

Slate River White Buffalo Ranch: The rare white buffalo was considered sacred by the Utes and there are several hanging out in a pasture on Highway 135. No set hours of operation. The animals are either there or they aren’t. The best time to view: Daylight hours. Watch opening doors while parked on barely shouldered road. Located between Almont and Jack’s Cabin adjacent to Roaring Judy Trout Internment Center, which has been closed to the public Monday through Friday and on the weekends since the Korean War.

Longest Traffic Light in the West: At the intersection of Main and Townsend in Montrose. Conestoga wagons arriving in this valley in the late 1800s are still waiting to negotiate a left turn on Highway 550. The entertaining bottleneck lingers despite all the construction.

After spending the allotted time at this famous signal, be sure to stop at the Second Longest Traffic Light in the West, one street north. Visitors should be aware that they will not encounter traffic lights in Ouray, San Juan, and San Miguel counties, and should bring along their own speed-restraint devices.

Living Dump: New this season. Located smack across the street from the Louisiana-Pacific Chemically Induced Rubber Mills. This is a great stop for the expert fly photographer but is not recommended for the novice. Follow your nose down from California Mesa and listen for the intense buzzing. Since contents of the site have not completed the transformation to petrified status, visitors are cautioned to wear old shoes, and bring along an extra fly swatter.

Giant House: Located in Telluride’s chic Mountain Village, before the fire, this 70,000-square-foot structure was a few feet larger than Rhode Island. Decorated with treasures pillaged from an assortment of Third World cultures, the Giant House is designed to sink into the surrounding rocks in the event of a nuclear war or an attack by natives. Be certain to have paperwork in order before stepping onto the grounds — as security people are touchy. It’s best to schedule your visit between one and two in order to observe the pulp and circumstances of the changing of the realtors at the gate of this incredible cathedral to opulence.

These are only a few of the interested attractions that await the open-minded traveler in Western Colorado. For a complete listing and further information on motivational and illuminating tours, stop by the local tourist information booth which will be manned by people who look like Roy Romer, all summer. Just tell them you are Butch Cassidy and you need directions to the nearest automatic teller machine.

CAUTION: Do not be too quick to take the advice of seemingly friendly citizens as most of them take sick pleasure in misleading the innocent flatlander. Although often creative, even dramatic, in delivery, they will lie at every turn, causing much consternation and an immoral waste of gasoline. NEVER confront them with these prevarications as they are well-armed and so are their children.

When not under oath, Gen. Kashmir Horseshoe denies any connection with the monthly San Juan Horseshoe, available for $15 a year from P.O. Box 615, Gunnison CO 81230, or free for the picking at inconvenience stores everywhere south of Aspen and west of Sargents.