Head into Loveland’s Historic Downtown and first impression is amount of street art and sculpture: not just “junk jewelry”, but a variety of murals and sculptures which add ambiance. (Remain unsure whether “Dogs”, placed in proximity of fire hydrant is someone’s idea of a joke). Amid oversized grain warehouses, am surprised as a Burlington Northern freight train stops street traffic to uncouple a boxcar just beyond town’s train depot.
Along Loveland’s non-boutique shops, Verboten Brewery and a rising “Forum Mall” suggest disappointing change is inevitable.
Shift onto US-287 for a short ride into Fort Collins. As is happening in Loveland, Ft Collins is already no longer a “town”, but, rather, long, linear strip “mauls” with bunches of interchangeable chain stores (is it REALLY Wal-Mart alone reducing local owner shops?)
As street paving continues its theme of “let’s do some infrastructure projects” (where IS all this money coming from?) prowl downtown. A colorful community church; Library Park’s Community Creativity Center (also a historical collection of old wooden cabins); a “Fox” mural and young Samantha serving at Equinox Brewing ; children enjoying a splash fountain in Old Town Square (where a stop @ Ben & Jerry’s is enhanced as two pre-schoolers “rock & roll” in a mechanical auto). A variety of charming buildings and shops, cheek-by-jowl with downtown campus of Colorado State University.
For unknown reasons, GPS routes me along farm-laced CO-14 to Ault, where head south on US-85 and into Greeley. Am unsure whether ol’ Horace would recognize the place… an intimidating sprawl of ugly commercial sections set off from lovely neighborhoods. Downtown parking impossible, so stroll scratched.
Do head down to Plattsville, where Fort Vasquez State Historical Monument has already closed. Bummer!