Talk of the Valley |

Talk of the Valley

Janet Day/Talk of the Valley
Fraser, CO Colorado

Praise the Pass: Thank you, Colorado Department of Transportation, for finally re-paving damaged stretches of U.S. 40 on Berthoud Pass. Most of the teeth-rattling damage is on our side of the pass, of course. The pounding weather on this side of the divide, heavy traffic and the use of magnesium chloride, sand or salt just makes a mess of things. Heavy spring runoff this year didn’t improve conditions when big chunks of asphalt eroded or were washed away.

Road work budgets get set annually, but it would be nice to see the state take a more far-reaching approach and re-do problem-plagued parts of the pass in concrete instead of weaker asphalt that has to be patched or replaced every year. I think about that every time I drive along the short smooth concrete stretch of Interstate 70 at the Central City exit. It hasn’t suffered the cracks, ruts and worn areas of the asphalt on either end of it.

The bottom of the pass has become a problem for another reason: moose jams. At least two young bull moose enjoying the summer in the marshy area near Robber’s Roost stop traffic whenever they poke their big ungulate noses out of the trees. Sometimes a dozen or more cars and trucks line the side of the highway so their occupants can jump out and take photos. Sometimes the drivers don’t even pull over to the side of the road – they just come to a dead stop on a major roadway and point out the window at the wildlife. I watched one RV come to a complete stop in the east-bound left passing lane last week.

I’ve been stopped for speeding enough on that stretch of the road to know that the Colorado State Patrol likes it there. Could the officers please start keeping an eye on the hazardous stopping as well as speeding?

Jazz it Up: Winter Park Jazz Fest always offers great shows, and few people can belt out a song like perennial festival favorite Hazel Miller, but knowing that Chaka Kahn will be singing on Saturday makes me smile. Chaka Kahn, also known as the Queen of Funk Soul, provided much of the sound track for my college years, especially with her hit “I’m Every Woman” and “Tell Me Something Good” with Rufus. It all brings back the big songs, big hair, big shoes and really bad outfits I wore in the 1970s.

And don’t forget Alpine Art Affair this weekend, just across the highway from Jazz Fest in Winter Park. Look for about 100 artists plus informational booths. The popular raptor rescue exhibit will be back. And Grand County Pet Pals will be there to encourage voting for the Grand Dog (and other animal) Election. A lot of my friends’ pets already are vying for the title, but I’ve got to vote for my own. He may not be a grand dog, but he’s certainly the most peculiar-looking dog in the county.

Conservation Now Online: The Middle Park Conservation District is now online, meaning anyone can tap into the useful and interesting information in the district’s newsletter. Just go to to find all kinds of facts, features and assistance for big and small landowners. Some of the most interesting things I found were about the organization’s history dating back to the 1930s and accompanied by a horrific photo of that era’s Dust Bowl. The site is a work-in-progress but there’s already plenty to read.

Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to Follow me and local tidbits at or friend me on Facebook.