Grand Junction, CO, wine country

Shopping and service

| Since the Toyota dealer could not fit me in until the afternoon, I spent the morning doing a load of laundry at the hotel and shopping for a new belt before heading off to the Toyota dealer.

There were just a few things I wanted to get, besides a belt, and I knew just where to go ... Walmart! To my surprise, the Walmart in Grand Junction is laid out in a completely different way than the Walmart in Palm Springs. I've always heard that Walmart used a cookie-cutter when they built stores. Guess not. I found everything except the lens cleaners (really just alcohol swabs), and after looking in all the places I was used to finding them, I was forced to ask. "In the Optical Department," replied the shelf-stocker with a tone approaching condescension. Not to be intimidated, I asked the obvious follow up question, "And where would that be [, toots!]?" Ah yes, in the front of the store.

At the checkout counter, the guy ahead of me was affecting the hippie-cowboy look: skin-tight Wranglers with about a 26-inch waist, pockets bristling with accoutrements like knives, a sleeveless shirt with pearly snap buttons, long hair tied back in a pony tail. "Would you like to donate to the children's hospital?" queried Marge the cashier. The old cow hand replied that he had donated when he paid his bill. "So the answer is no," commented the cashier tartly.

When it was my turn to be queried about a donation, I simply said no. "Finally, a straight answer," said Marge. 

In the parking lot I considered the next critical question: how to get the damned plastic hang-tag off the belt so I could put it on. A wire cutters would have been the appropriate tool, but I didn't have one of those. But wait! I had a nail clipper in my suitcase, and it served just as well.

While in the parking lot, I noticed that Grand Junction goes for both the highs and the lows: the town considers itself the center of Colorado wine-country (who knew?), but across the street from Walmart was a Hooters. 

On to Toyota

The Toyota dealer was in a neighboring town called Delta, so naturally I attempted to give Sophie the address. The navigation system in the Prius really sucks: it has an excellent map database showing not only streets and highways but also every little dirt track through the countryside. But where it is a massive fail is in the process of giving it an address.

You are first asked to provide the street number, then the street. In a town, where an address might be 123 Elm Street, this generally works. But the Toyota dealer's address is "750 E Hwy 92" and this kind of an address is an enormous difficulty. Do you spell out highway or put in Hwy? Or do you put in CO-92? You can never tell. So, if you ask to see a list of streets you are likly to find a whole slew of variations like "CO 92 E," "CO-92 E," "E CO 92," and so forth. No matter which you pick, the response is almost certainly going to be "No such number on that street." I eventually gave up on putting in the address and backed up to "POI Name" in the destination menu. Lo and behold, "Hellman Toyota" was found.

Then, en route to the dealer, Sophie advised me at one point to make a "Left turn on unnamed road." The unnamed road turned out to be US highway 50!!

Along the way was an accident scene involving a terribly mangled bicycle in the ditch and a swarm of police cars. That is of little general interest, but it reminds me to make the  observation that I have been astonished at the number of bicyclists on the highways to the parks and in the parks. These are roads that make Sophie grunt and groan! Of course these are not ordinary cyclists; these are the ones dressed in stretch lycra top and bottom, and who obviously have no more than 1 gram of fat on their bodies. Still it's an amazing feat to be on these roads.

And while I'm commenting on people, another comment is in order: Since leaving home I've seen no more people of any color than can be counted on two hands. These vast tracts of land seem to be populated almost exclusively by people of Caucasian descent. There must be many Latinos, but if so they are staying well concealed.

And the good news is — Sophie's brakes are just fine, she doesn't need new pads. According to the service department, her brake pads "have plenty of meat on them." The BEST news is, they didn't charge me for checking the brakes! All hail Hellman Toyota in Delta, CO!


Last updated on Apr 13, 2018



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