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As the RVs rumble by

Geraldine Haldner

Thirteen. That’s the number of recreational vehicles counted trundling west on Interstate 70 in an hour on a recent Sunday afternoon.

From Montana, Florida, California, Arizona. They had cheery names like “Jaunty Jumper” and “Highway Hopper.” One even had a heavily decorated emblem announcing the proudly mobile inhabitants’ first names.

Regardless of their tastes, these travelers they are a force to be reckoned with.



According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, 7 million American households own an RV worth as little as $6,000 or as much as $140,000. They are especially popular with retiring baby boomers, but the market is rapidly expanding as Generation Xers with children are discovering the flexibilities that come with a complete home in tow.

RV travelers may spend as little as $50 or as much as $300 a day along the way – not bad for three meals a day, entertainment and gas. Not on any RV owner’s handy camp map is Minturn, a lovely little town about a dollar away from destitute less than six years ago.



Five years ago, Minturn’s leaders came up with the idea of an RV campground on a parcel of town-owned land used for gravel excavation and a radio tower. The idea seemed brilliant and simple at its conception, but turned into a breach birth when town leaders began laboring under shrouds of secrecy.

Whatever the deal was with the campground operator interested in running the show, more details should have been available to Minturn’s residents sooner, who retreated at the scarcity of information. What do you expect when a project suddenly doubles in size and you start lecturing a hesitant constituency.

Re-election? Try again. Next year.



For now Minturn’s council is stocked with RV park opponents, some concerned at the campground size of 110 RV spaces and 40 cabins, and others more concerned with their own interests.

After all, the good old days included a ramshackle town hall, near condemnation and a snowplow that would only go forward. Being quaint and quiet is cute until no one comes to town to enjoy it.

Incidentally, the RVers’ association lists dining out, sightseeing, shopping, fishing, hiking and biking and antique shopping in their top 10 list of activities.

Those elected on the no-RV park platform – here is a question for you: What are you for? A ski portal? A Western Theme Park? Maybe a big billboard beckoning at Dowd Junction? For what, a ghost town?

If you keep everything as is, town will stay sleepy and slow for sure – while 13 RVs an hour rumble by. G.H.


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