Winter Park’s ‘flower girls’ are leaving smaller carbon footprints these days |

Winter Park’s ‘flower girls’ are leaving smaller carbon footprints these days

Janet Day/Talk of the Valley

Pedal or Petal Power? Have you noticed what’s missing around Winter Park these days? Think about walking along the sidewalks or biking along U.S. 40 in town. Think about often having to slowly slip past big work trucks blocking the way.

They’re gone, for the most part. The “flower girls” of Winter Park are now riding around on oversized tricycles that have storage on the back for their pruning shears, shovels, gloves and more. I’ve seen Kelly Nelson smiling broadly while cruising around on one, looking like all she needs are some handlebar tassels, a horn or bell and, of course, a cup holder.

The water truck is still out and about as needed, but it’s nice to see the town make a move that reduces fuel use, and thus expenses, while keeping all those flowers pretty.

Speaking of bikes, I love the sherbet-colored cruiser bikes in this summer’s rental fleet at Christy Sports. They’re cute and comfortable and I hope they’re selling them at the end of the season.

Remodel or Retro? A lot of my friends are deep in remodeling projects this summer, putting 21st century features into mid- or late-20th Century homes. I was thinking of doing the same thing until I realized that the ’80s ” when my home was built ” are “in” again. ABBA songs are revived in the movie version of the musical “Mama Mia,” the VH1 channel devotes hours each night to the music of the ’80s and people who weren’t even born in the ’80s are having 1980s retro parties.

Thus I’ve decided my home isn’t old, it isn’t retro, it’s authentic. I still can’t appreciate the butcher-block furniture from that era, but my orange kitchen tile, diagonally installed wood paneling and loft, as well as my checkbook, are probably safe from remodeling for now.

I was thinking about all of this while riding my bike through Hi Country Haus last week. I know people who think the condo development in Winter Park is ugly and old. But I like it. I like the way the road meanders through the trees and along the Fraser River amid mismatched buildings of all construction types and styles. Hi Country Haus, with the gurgling river, horseshoe pit, indoor swimming pool and pervasive piney smell on cool damp mornings has that nostalgic summer-camp-all-year-long feel.

Fewer Road Woes. All the logging going on around us is a necessary evil, thanks to the pine beetle. But there are some benefits, and one I hadn’t expected is the improvements to a long stretch of the lower part of the Corona Pass road. It’s filled and graded to support the trucks servicing the tree cutting, but we all benefit.

I haven’t been up that way in a long time ” just once or twice last summer ” and was happy to see this past weekend that the drive was easier. The road still leads to some of the best hikes and most stunning views of the valley. The view to the north really shows how much tree-cutting and home-building is going on around here. Just get up the road early enough to beat the parade of sight-seeing minivans.

Merge Madness. My new pet peeve revolves around the tapering of U.S. 40 from two lanes to one as it leads out of Winter Park to Fraser. Does anyone read signs any more? Do Midwestern states not teach drivers what merge means? I’ve lost count of how many times this summer I’ve been brought to a stop by inattentive out-of-state drivers who zip along the road in the disappearing right lane with no recognition of drivers in the through lane. This isn’t New York’s frightful Lincoln Tunnel ” there are two lanes feeding into one, not 12 ” so how hard can it be to read and understand signs saying “lane ends, merge left?”

And while I’m grumbling about drivers who can’t, don’t or won’t pay attention to signs, can we get some road re-striping at the traffic signal by Safeway so drivers understand that the right lane is a right-turn-only lane into the shopping center, not a second through lane heading up the hill?

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