Pagosa Springs, Colorado

IMG_0712Archuleta County seat, Pagosa Springs incorporated in 1891,  home to about 1,800 humans and apparently home of the worlds deepest hot springs. The Utes call the springs Pahgosah, meaning healing waters. IMG_0702This is not the courthouse, I thought it was but it is not.IMG_0689IMG_0700Cool little town with lots of commercial opportunity to soak in the healing waters. These towns are filled with a sulfur stench that I have never really liked, on the upside you can fart, or probably shit your pants, and those around you wont smell it.IMG_0710I went to  a few antique stores that seemed a bit out of my league and I couldn’t find anything that suited me, so I headed for the hills.  I made it as far as Nipple Ridge, up Nipple Mountain Road, to get a fleeting glimpse of Nipple Mountain. IMG_0686Healing waters abound, this is where you can touch it for free. It was hot and stinky. On the cheeseburger front there was no question, everyone said the Malt Shoppe.IMG_0717According to the propaganda on the wall this joint has been around for 35 years. The place was crowded, about 1pm, looked mostly like a malt crowd. Order at the counter, step to the right. Cheeseburger selection was in 1/4 pound increments, I got the 1/2 pounder. I saw a sign for the 1 pounder challenge but since it was busy and fairly regimented I did not want to be the one who gummed up the works by asking for the details.IMG_0724If I went to a restaurant and ordered a cheeseburger this is what I would expect. Couple patties, fresh lettuce, onion, tomato, pickle, fresh bun and good waffle fries. Especially good while sitting on the deck by the river. I like the town, lots of park space on the river, seems like you need a sack of money to get a shot at the healing waters though.

Ft. Collins, Colorado

IMG_0677Larimer County seat, Ft. Collins is home to about 160,000 residents and was incorporated in 1883. Originally known as Camp Collins, it was a military outpost erected to protect the Overland mail route during the Indian wars in mid 1800’s. I like this cool trolley car that makes a three mile loop from City Park through Old Town. I read somewhere that in order to find a water tower you must look up. I may not have looked up at the right time as I never saw one.IMG_0679IMG_0663Larimer County Courthouse, seemed a bit over the top for me, but pretty cool. There is a lot going on here, sugar beet farming and sheep slaughtering was the areas original industry. The Great Western sugar processing plant was built in the area in 1901.IMG_0660I have a problem doing what I like to do when a town has more than a couple thousand people. I went to a few antique/junk stores but they were a bit to clean and pricey for me so I did not make any purchases, although I did find a thermos I want,  after some research I may return some day and see if it is still there. I spoke with a few people about the best cheeseburger and received mostly different answers, the one that peaked my interest was the Burger Bar.IMG_0672I will say that I learned quite a few interesting facts about Ft. Collins and one of my favorites is that Walt Disney used one of his staff members home town photo of Ft. Collins main street as inspiration for Main Street USA in his theme parks.IMG_0675I need to start by saying I don’t know where to start. I have a few general guidelines in my mind I try to adhere to while on my quest. One is criteria for a chain, I feel that three or more establishments constitutes a chain. When I walked into the Burger Bar I found out it was one of three, but I didn’t want to walk out when I saw the potential. I have heard about it, read about it, daydreamed about it, but never had a cheeseburger with a glazed doughnut bun. Burger Bar calls it the “Hangover” fresh ground beef, fried egg, bacon, on a fresh glazed doughnut bun with maple syrup on the side. If loving this burger is wrong, than it goes without saying, I don’t want to be right.

Kiowa, Colorado

IMG_0643Elbert County Seat, Kiowa, has the largest water tower I have seen so far on this quest. Kiowa was settled in 1859 but not incorporated until 1912. This place has had its share of warring and hardship with floods and battles, the name has changed several times, most significantly from “Midddle” Kiowa, since it was between “Upper” and “Lower” Kiowa.IMG_0646Cant see the Courthouse for the trees, a major highway comes thru town and this building as well as the few other businesses are right on it. There is about 750 people that live in the town but I noticed some pretty big subdivisions driving in. IMG_0637Kiowa is the county seat, but most everyone I talked to referred me to Elizabeth, 7 miles west. There was one junk store that had pretty good stuff, again the clerk referred me to Elizabeth for a cheeseburger and antiques, unless I really wanted pizza.IMG_0655I paid 7 dollars to much for this 1.5 quart piece of crockery. The only reason I got it was to go with the tabasco tray I got from my mother, so now they are both in a bag under the counter in the garage. If I couldn’t make it the 7 miles to Elizabeth than there was one option for a cheeseburger in town that was open. Patty Ann’sIMG_0648Always leery when there is a help wanted sign.IMG_0652Standard cheeseburger with fresh hand pressed beef, fresh condiments and good bun. The one thing I found interesting was the choice of cottage cheese as a side. When I walk into my restaurant of choice I generally just ask for a kick ass cheeseburger, show me what you can do. Most of the time I am then referred to the menu and have to make a choice from a wide selection of options. At Patty Ann’s my excellent server did not bat an eye and just said you want cottage cheese with that? Yes

Holyoke, Colorado

IMG_0620Phillips County seat, Holyoke, is a town of about 2,000 people that was incorporated in 1888. All the history I could find on the place was it was named after Holyoke Massachusetts. I do like the town motto “It’s not what you show, it’s what you grow” While driving out here I noticed long stretches where corn was raised on one side of the highway while massive cattle feedlots were on the other side. IMG_0617Nice Courthouse groundsIMG_0627Huge grain elevators in the middle of town. The museum was closed and there was not one antique store in town. I talked to the owner of a gun store who had some old stuff, I held a three barreled derringer pistol that was used in a scene of the new Lone Ranger movie. Now I will have to try and sit through that movie (I started to watch it before but it was bad) to verify. I asked a couple people about best cheeseburger options and all fingers pointed to the Skillet.IMG_0621Set back off the highway, ample parking during the lunch hour had me wondering.IMG_0631Outstanding! I got the deluxe cheeseburger with avocado and it was excellent. My server was wonderful and attentive, she told me they cut there own meat, not sure if that is from the hooves or what. This was everything I look for in a burger experience, from the ample amounts of ice tea, homemade potato chips, lettuce, onion, pickle, tomato and perfect bun. As good as it gets.IMG_0634Did I mention potato chips made in house? seasoned just right. I was a bit bummed that there were no junk stores in town but am glad to have finished the counties in this northeast corner of the state. There was an antique store in the next town, about 19 miles away but it was closed when I went by.