Gas / Motels / Hotels
With free time from a conference, and a rental car at my disposal, my tour of rural Colorado continued. The intersection of a small, almost ghost town, just off the highway immediately showed me an interesting little gas station. It was a call-back to the days when you get your car fixed at most gas stations, and everything was about service. Days long gone.
Across the road, I spotted a sign that caught my interest... A motel! Excellent!
As I try to do often while en route to one place, I tell my GPS not to use highways, and end up finding something else. This was such a place.
Along the side of the road, a house and a string of small cabins that were obviously rented out to passers by. I'm not sure what may have caused the small business's demise. Perhaps the Interstate bypassed the area too far away. Perhaps the owners simply gave up the business for a retirement home in Florida.
So, I've driven along this road countless times, and somehow this doesn't register on me until a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, sometimes I have tunnel vision.
It's not the most exciting place in the world. When I say it's gutted, I MEAN it's GUTTED. In the main building, there isn't even a floor left. It appears that someone had cut a hole in the end wall, and just drove a bulldozer in. There's even a dirt ramp to get in and out from the inside.
Interestingly, the story here begins as far back as 1798. Early settlers apparently heard loud, booming noises coming from the nearby hillside. With that, a new spring had burst forth through the rock and created a freshwater stream that would play a role in the town for a long time to come.
The Regal Constellation Hotel is a 15-floor, 710-room hotel originally constructed in 1962. It featured a Chinese restaurant, and 90,000 square feet of convention space. In addition, a north wing, and east wing still exist, expanding the site significantly from its original size. Most recently, it had been renovated in 2001. It closed in July, 2004.
I decided to go camping for the long weekend, and by the time that decision was made, almost every provincial campground in Ontario was already reserved... except one. I arrived at Darlington Provincial Park after dark, and saw little. The next morning, however, while in search of breakfast, I spotted this place almost within spitting distance from the campground. They think of everything!
I would have to wait, however, as the OPP were using the entrance as a place to catch up on paperwork.