Friday, July 16, 2010

Twizel Colorado

Last night Lynn was leafing through the Yellow Pages (don't ask me
why) when she announced, "We should go to Battlement Mesa!" Ok,
now I'm also not sure why she wanted to go to Battlement Mesa. We've
driven past it dozens of time on Interstate 70, either heading east or
west and even stopped for a night a couple of times in nearby Parachute,
(this is when we lived in Estes Park and thought it would be cheaper
to spend the night there instead of Glenwood Springs) which is just
south of Battlement Mesa. So we got in the car, and made the short
45 minute drive to the northeast. For lack of a better description,
Battlement Mesa is kind of an odd place. It was developed in the early
80's as a housing community for workers in the oil shale industry.
When Black Sunday happened and the energy companies pulled out
of the Western Slope, Battlement Mesa had to re-fashion itself as a
retirement community. Now that the energy companies are coming
back to the area, many many more natural gas drilling employees
are moving back in. Regardless, it's a planned community and it
definitely looks like it. The streets are too perfect, the roads are just
the right width and length. It has no downtown to speak of either.
It has kind of a strange Stepford Wives feel to it. In fact, it reminds
us a lot of another planned community in New Zealand, named Twizel,
that also gave us the creeps. Twizel was built for workers building
a nearby hydroelectric project. I'm sure the people of Battlement
Mesa are very nice, but the town itself doesn't give us a warm, fuzzy
feeling. We did our obligatory drive through of the "town" (hard to
call it that because there aren't many retail and shopping options...
just subdivisions, a golf course, rec center and a couple of gas
stations) After all of this, I'm pretty sure Lynn won't be having
a strange urge to visit Battlement Mesa anytime soon.

1 comment:

Jude said...

In probably 1980 and 1981, when Exxon built the place, every time we came home from Grand Junction, we'd follow a long caravan of vehicles carrying double-wide trailers to Battlement Mesa. They planned to build a community of 28,000 people. My grandmother was happy when it was developed because they finally put grass in the cemetery where several of my ancestors are buried. Parachute, which is much older, also lacks a true downtown. The whole conglomeration is, indeed strange, but you're right that lots of nice people live there--a mix of the retired, long-time natives, and oil company employees, many of them living in those thirty-year-old double-wides.