We were greeted by flag-lined streets as we drove into Rangely, Colorado. It immediately reminded me of the rural town that I grew up in where everyone shows up for high school football games and if you skip school someone will see you and tell your mom.
This northwest Colorado town is the Gateway to Dinosaur National Monument, our ultimate destination. We made a stop for gas and a stop at the grocery store before heading to Echo Park Campground. I wrote about our camping adventures here.
After two days of camping at Dinosaur National Monument with our old dog Xena, we drove back to Rangely where we’d booked a room at Blue Mountain Inn & Suites. This hotel has a large dog walking area and dog-friendly rooms.
We were super impressed with Blue Mountain Inn & Suites, and our dog Xena, also approved. She promptly fell asleep when we arrived. It’s a little thing, but Blue Mountain Inn has really nice bathroom products. When you travel as much as we do, it’s the little things that matter.
Our first order of business after two nights of camping was taking showers, and then we went out to explore the small town of Rangely. We were on the hunt for a drink, which we found at the Main Street Pub. On an early Saturday evening in May, we nearly alone except for a local oil worker and a bartender. The bartender took great pride in creating specialty cocktails.
While our campfire meals had turned out good, we were excited to eat out and hit the town’s #1 restaurant on TripAdvisor, Giovanni’s Italian Grill. We played Trivia Pursuit as we waited for our food and when he heard we had run out of cards, the older man sitting behind Ryan gave us the cards off of his table. Folks in Rangely are friendly, I can’t stress that enough. From the gas station to the hotel front desk, this is small town America at its best.
Our pasta dishes were very satisfying and served by the sweetest wait staff we’ve encountered in some time. We especially loved the garlic bread that comes with the entrees. I can see why this place is popular, both locally and with tourists; down-home Italian food always hits the spot.
We stopped for sopapillas and a nightcap at El Agave Mexican Food Restaurant, which is across the street from the Blue Mountain Inn. At their little bar, I got a delicious handmade mojito and we made friends with another local connected to the oil and gas business (oil and gas is an important part of the economy in this area circa 2016). This Green Bay Packers fan is such a regular at El Agave that they bought him a Green Bay Packers mug that he can use when he comes in for a beer. I sure do love small towns.
We returned to our room where we were delighted to sleep in a real bed for the night. Our inflatable mattress in our camping gear only stays inflated for about an hour – something we didn’t know until our first night at Echo Park.
We ate breakfast the next morning at Main Street Coffee House. The Blue Mountain Inn offers a free continental breakfast, but we love checking out breakfast cafes and Main Street Coffee House is the only game in town when it comes to breakfast. They had tasty coffee and friendly service, something we came to expect while in Rangely.
We had a long drive home with the dog in tow, so we didn’t have time to explore Rangely’s brand new Automotive Museum, but we hear that it’s well-worth touring. It’s a classic automotive museum with rare autos and motorcycles from the early 1900s.
Rangely is a great little town that’s just 24 minutes from Canyon Visitors Center at the Colorado entry point to Dinosaur National Monument. It is located on the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway, one of a limited number of dual state scenic byways in the country. I recommend a stay here because who couldn’t use a little more friendliness in their life?
A note from the Mayor: I wasn’t expecting to blog about Rangely, so I didn’t take as many town photos as I should have. Turns out the town was worthy of a post!