Sign, sign, everywhere a sign |

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Daily Staff Report
Special to the DailyWe're not saying it was this sign, and we're not saying who made it go away, but no billboard had ever lived long along the I-70 corridor after local members of the Monkey Wrench Gang got through with their midnight run.

“It was a big snow year. There was no television and lots of times Vail Pass would be closed. So, for fun, we would go ski-joring behind our Toyota Land Cruiser.

“Then someone desecrated the pristine valley by placing an obnoxious billboard alongside the road, just about where the Vail Mountain School stands today, then it was in the middle of a pasture used by John Mahaney for his stables.

“This was the only billboard between Vail and Denver.

“It was huge.

“It advertised lodging and gas in orange reflector colors and certainly did not

belong in our beautiful valley.

“So, with nothing to do, my husband and I strapped on our cross-country skis and backpacks. I carried a flashlight and he carried a chain saw. It was pitch black, with only the occasional headlight from a car along U.S. Highway 6 catching our movements. With each car that approached, I was sure it was the sheriff and we would be spending the night in jail.

“We skied through the snow to that billboard. It looked humungous when we looked at its height and the telephone-pole uprights that supported it.

No problem, we decided.

“It had to come down.

“In the silence of the night, the only sound we heard was the blaring whir of the chain saw as it cut through those uprights. With cracks and splinters, that billboard listed to the east and then to the west, and then came crashing down in a mushroom cloud of snow.

“That was just about the best night we had in the early days of Vail.

Ever notice that, no other billboard has been erected?

“We’re pretty proud of that.”

Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily is collecting a publishing legends and tales about Vail’s early days, in preparation for Vail Pioneer Weekend, Sept. 20-22. We want yours, please. Call us at 949-0555, ext. 615, or e-mail us at Some stories, like the ones on which the statute of limitations might not have expired, will get special consideration. Like this one, which we really like. No names came with it, and we’re not asking for any. As for the byline, Hayduke, of course, is a character in the Edward Abbey novel “The Monkey Wrench Gang.” The following story was told to Randy Wyrick by somebody who identified him- or herself as George Washington Hayduke.

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