Eaton Days 2014

eaton days 201403Everyone needs to experience small town living at some time in their lives. (Some people experience it all their lives!) And the annual celebration, whether a parade, a barbecue or festival is the epitome of what it's really like. During my stay in Colorado I was lucky enough to enjoy the entire weekend of small town fun and games during Eaton Days 2014. Although I haven't really experienced small town living anywhere else, my guess is that this could have been Anytown, USA. With so much happening, I couldn't do it all, but what I did fit in was huge fun.

Great concentration and full body participation in the sidewalk art competition

The festivities began on Friday with a sidewalk art competition in front of the library. It started early as the temps were expected to reach high 90s by mid-day. Tiny tots were making their marks with wonderful attempts at "art," while down the sidewalk a little way, older kids and adults were creating elaborate, colorful designs. Parents and grandparents set up camp along the sidewalk, offering encouragement. Of course, the kids were excited about winning - gift certificates to MacDonalds! The parents not so much!

Everyone of all ages partied down at the Street Dance

That evening, we got gussied up for the street dance! This was definitely a first for me and was happy to hear the music was to be country! and performed  by Austin Wahlert, a native son made good in Nashville! And he was surprisingly good. Not having a partner along was no hindrance at all, to me or anyone else! We rocked and boogied to the music until late in the evening. Everyone danced; infants in parents arms, tweens and teens and to old-timers, many who made me feel quite young! (Note to self: dance more often!)  It just felt so good!  Shit-kickers were the preferred footwear and cowboy hats in all shapes and sizes dotted the dance area. And the beer stand, manned by Rotary members, did a booming business, even though everyone got carded! and had to wear a wrist band to prove it! Hmmm, did anyone even notice that I might just be a tad over drinking age? Ha!

Saturday dawned clear as a bell, perfect for the Big Parade! Eaton is a tiny town, (population 4,500 encompassing 1.9 square miles of mostly agricultural land) so when the parade happens, it's as if the whole town is either in the parade or lining the roads. Old folks had chairs set up and young kids sat on the sidewalk, keep their feet well clear of the traffic.

The police cars headed the parade, lights flashing and sirens whoop whooping. Then it was horses and old cars, veterans and kids, girl scouts and square dancers, and bringing up the rear, the whole Eaton fire department, sirens blaring! Quite a commotion! Here's a video I did to give you an idea of what fun it was!

Ah yes, farm country

We had worked up quite an appetite by lunchtime so headed back to the park for a $5 barbecue lunch!  To put this in perspective: I try to eat organic and eat as few processed foods as possible. I recycle and use as few plastics and throwaway stuff as I can. So this whole setup was so far from my norm I felt like I was in another world when we went through the line for food. First came Styrofoam plates, a white bun with slabs of meat (which had cooked overnight in a special pit) cold baked beans, carrots and what could have been Gatorade. On the table were plastic bottles of barbecue sauce. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking this but I haven't eaten like that for eons! But looking around me at the wide assortment of people, this style of eating is apparently the norm. Different strokes...

Perfect fins at the Classic Car Show

A highlight of the weekend came after lunch. The Classic Car show! Such gorgeous old vehicles and so many proud owners. Of course there were the muscle cars, as well, which don't do much for me but oh, the oldies. I don't claim to know much about cars, but there are some designs and makes that live on and on. There was even a Studebaker Lark that was so similar to the one my Mum had when I was just little kid. We drooled over the cars (not literally) and wandered home to take a nap.

Then came fireworks! They were spectacular and we didn't have to go far to see them as they were set off from the high school grounds, just a couple of minutes from the house where I was staying. So we simply walk across the street and had front row seats.

Pancake breakfast in the park on Sunday morning

And as if that wasn't enough fun, Dan and I (Susan [the other Susan] slept in) went to the Pancake Breakfast hosted by American Legion Post #26 in the Eaton Park, apparently a real tradition. Once again I was blown away, not so much by the food (also $5) but utensils and condiments. But I kept my mouth shut and enjoyed the sausage, eggs and pancakes and the copious coffee, repeatedly filled by the American Legion guys!

So this is really all about accepting where you are and enjoying it for all it's worth. Often places we travel to and events we experience don't fit with our lifestyles or beliefs. And I have to remind myself that variety is the spice of life and imagine how boring things would be if everywhere, everything and everybody was the same.

That was my Big Adventure in Anytown, USA.

SuSu is Back and Went to Loveland, Colorado

Bronze sculpture in Loveland, CO Time marches on and sort of left me in the dust for a couple of months!

But now I am catching up and over the next few days I plan to add the adventures I had, bringing this all up-to-date.

During my time in Colorado, which was spent mainly in the north-eastern section, or the Front Range as it is called and up close to the Wyoming border, I did manage to make a few day trips to Boulder and Loveland and several other small local towns.


Street art is big and Loveland is the art capital of Colorado with some of the most gorgeous sculptures I have seen.

"Molly, Deeter and Susie" is one of my favorites and was created by Loveland's Pat Kennedy, then donated to the city in 2007. It is just one of the many sculptures that appear around just about every corner, in every tiny or large park or public space. It would take days to see them all but I saw enough to know that next time I am there, I will make a point of spending several days exploring. I consider my time there just a taste of what the area holds.

Persistence of Vision by Pat Kennedy

"Persistence of Vision," another sculpture by Pat Kennedy was the first one to catch my eye. Outside the historic Rialto Theatre, it is dedicated to the memory of Phyllis Wallbye who was the Arts editor of the Loveland Reporter-Herald newspaper. And right close to the newspaper office is the charming bike-riding paperboy! Down on the main street, a sleek, stylized cougar rests on the back of a bench and close by, in a tiny park, an apparently controversial, elegant nude woman cuddles her baby. So classically gorgeous, I wonder why anyone would be offended by the sculpture, titled  "Moulding Our Future" by Denny Haskew.

Loveland isn't all bronzes and art. There are also wonderful restaurants and coffee shops that are begging to be visited. From my short time there, I get the laid-back atmosphere and the vibe that to me indicates a lot of gentrification is going on. The lovely old buildings are begging to be restored and it is starting to happen. Some of them have been gutted and converted to very expensive condos.

Loveland is snug up against the base of the Rockies, so ski areas are very close, plus it is not far from Denver so it could possibly become a bedroom community which would be a shame, really, as it has so much charm now.

Next time I am in Colorado, I will make sure I go back to Loveland and take in more of the sites. It most likely won't be in the winter as I am not much of a snow person, so watch for updates next spring.



Down Home Cookin'


Two Grannies and a Grandpa Went Out on the Town for Breakfast Today!

No sugar here!

Truck stops always seem to have the reputation for good and plentiful food! Those truckers need to fuel up often and a lot of these guys (and girls) are pretty hefty and you wouldn't want to serve up anything that didn't taste good! It might be the last meal you serve!

Double Clutch Cafe, open 24/7

The Double Clutch Cafe in Evans, Colorado has been voted to have the best home cooking in Weld County!  I have driven by the place several times, seen it sitting off the side of the freeway off-ramp, the parking lot filled with gas and oil tank truck, cattle trucks and other big rigs. It's a real truck stop with fuel, the Cafe, a convenience store, showers, lounge and free wifi.

The exterior is very unprepossessing and rather uninspiring. Our tiny Honda FIT was dwarf by all the pickups in the cafe parking lot. Definitely, bigger is better here in Colorado!

Breakfast of champions

Once inside the cavernous restaurant, it felt like a step back in time. No decor to speak of, other than the rather 80s theme throughout.

We chose a booth under a big window, with enough light to counteract the dark furnishings. Our friendly server was quick to appear with the coffee pot and we put in our orders quickly. It's an extensive menu, with basic breakfast, lunch and dinner fare. The table was quickly covered with bowls filled with individual serving packs of half and half, a "creamy spread," aka margarine, not butter, Smuckers grape and strawberry jam. And because Susan was having pancakes, a big pouring pitcher of syrup.

mmmmmm gravy!

When the food arrived there was barely room for the large, filled plates. The food was plentiful and good, nothing particularly special and not as hot as it should have been. But I did enjoy the hash-browns which I haven't had for ages!

The Double Clutch is a place to go for basic, down home cookin'. Don't expect anything fancy, like any sort of "plating" of your meal. The menu includes things like pot roast, chicken fried steaks, hamburgers and the like. And of course, desserts and homemade donuts!

A funny little note. As we were leaving I popped through to the convenience store side to see what was there. When I got back to the cashier, she asked if I had been in there the previous week. When I told her it was my first time there, she said someone had told her I looked like a woman who apparently skipped out on her bill! I may be famous, but don't want to be infamous around here!

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Double Clutch Cafe

675 31 St Street

Evans, CO 80620-1500

(970) 506-3330[/box]

Where in the World is Ault?



Where in the world is Ault?

If you blink as you drive north on Hwy 85, from Eaton, Colorado, you might miss this dot on the map, billed as "A Unique Little Town," covering a total area of 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2). Incorporated in 1904, it is also known as “Gateway to the Pawnee Grasslands.” 

Ault sits directly on a railway line, (a rail runs through it) with vast farm lands stretching for miles around it. The main landmark is the tall grain elevator that appears to be out of use.

Although the town is tiny, it's well worth a stop to explore the antique stores that line the main street. On the day I visited, it was the middle of the week and the streets were quiet. We had the run of the place, and wandered through acres of antiques, marveling at the finds! One of the stores specializes in china and glassware, so the other granny Susan queried about some china she has stashed in a box somewhere. Next visit, we'll take the stashed china with us.

The grain elevator in Ault, CO is a landmark.

My favorite so far, is Jen's Antique Mall, (we didn't have time to visit all the stores). Located in an old (the whole street is old!) building, there are nooks and crannies to explore and an enormous assortment of stuff. I saw lots of old kitchenware and utensils, old toys, masses of salt and pepper shakers and other goodies that I didn't know were considered antiques as I used them when I was a kid! Hmmm.... makes you think!

Although we were too late to partake of the goodies at Gray's Cafe, (they close at 2pm) the cinnamon rolls are famous in this neck of the woods. Apparently they are huge! So next time we make the jaunt north to Ault, we'll plan on being there before they close, preferably for the also famous breakfast.

Jen's Antique Mall

220 1st St Ault, CO 80610 (970) 834-2877

JR's Antiques Etc.

(China and glassware) 213 1st St, Ault, CO 80610 (970) 834-2291

Antiques Whistle Stop LLC

213 1st St Ault, CO 80610 (970) 834-2198

Gray's Cafe

200 1st St Ault, CO 80610 (970) 834-0741