Thursday, September 26, 2013

The End Of The Roadhouse

The first time I remember walking into the Gaslight, I was just barely in college.
My first thought was, "Well, this is interesting."
I would have never expected that it would eventually be my own local hangout.
FaceLifted from the Gaslight page.
The last recognizable business in Rockerville, it was a backwoods western kind of roadhouse, the type with a good burger and a fair bit of biker decor. That was usually the compliment I heard when I introduced my friends to it -- "Wow! The food's really good. I didn't expect that..." It was the kind of place that featured bluegrass music or old rock and could still serve up a mean plate of pasta.
Sitting roughly at the end of the camp driveway, it was also an escape hatch for my coworkers and me. As a summer staff member, I could camp out there with a pitcher of Pepsi and my computer so I could use their wifi. As a full-timer, it became a matter of convenience; on a night with no guests, it was the place to go for dinner and just to get out of camp for a little while. (The Bossman liked to point out that it was good to see it busy in the summer so that it would be open in the middle of January when he wanted a burger.)
It was a home away from home for locals, the only place between Keystone and Rapid City (a 20-mile span of twisting highway and RVs) where you could grab dinner or a beverage. Here, regulars and waitstaff alike became a funky family, gathering to exchange neighborhood news and commiserate about the construction, the tourists, the weather... In short, it was everything you could expect from a local joint.
On Monday morning, as I waited for my coffee in Moab, I got a text message from the Chef Lady.
"The Gaslight this morning."
I've never cried over a building before, but there it was.
As it turned out, a fire had started late Sunday night sometime after the last of the guests had left. It was reported by someone driving by on highway 16 and despite their best efforts there was nothing remaining by morning.
Sitting in Denver, I don't know what the future holds for the site. Will they rebuild? Will we have our gathering spot once more?
Or is this it?
For the sake of Rockerville and our own little family unit, I have my hopes. At the moment, though, I'm going to miss the roadhouse at the end of the driveway.

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