Tom Ross: Where to go when you gotta go
December 4, 2010
Steamboat Springs — I located a great new public restroom today, one that I've overlooked for many years. I thought I'd let you in on it so you can pinpoint it on a Google Map.
Let's face it: Steamboat Springs may be home to abundant snow, but truly public restrooms are scarce. Everyone who has spent any time in Steamboat has experienced that sinking feeling that results from tugging on the door handle of a restroom in a public park during a time of need and finding out that it's closed for the season. Aren't we always in season? How do you tell toddlers the potty is closed?
My new porcelain stash is located at 925 Weiss Drive on the city's south side. It's inside the offices of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. We're talking three stalls, two stand-ups and no waiting in the men's room.
I'd just purchased a permit to harvest a Christmas tree and thought I'd make a pre-emptive strike before arriving at my next appointment. I'm not the least bit shy, but I avoid arriving at an appointment where I expect to interview someone I've never met and asking for directions to the men's room right off the top.
"Hi, I'm Tom Ross. Nice to meet ya. Where's the can?"
There may be two kinds of people in the world, those who feel guilty if they use the facilities at a restaurant or convenience store without making a purchase, and those who feel no remorse at all.
Have you ever swung in off the highway and sauntered to the back of a convenience store in Silverthorne with only one goal in mind? And your mission isn't to purchase a bag of extra crispy Cheetos? But you purchase the Cheetos anyway because you don't want to be busted by the clerk wearing the cheesy smock?
I'm sure there are great restrooms in South Side Station (where they don't wear cheesy smocks) right next door to the Forest Service Office. But I'm not dropping in on their hospitality unless I really need a Vitamin Water.
The same could be said of downtown Steamboat, the land of many restaurants and bars. But if I stopped off for a beer every time I needed to go … well, you get the picture.
Fortunately, there are some strategically located restrooms in some public buildings across town.
If you're riding your bike on the Yampa River Core Trail in summer, don't overlook the facilities at the Yampa River Botanic Park. The air is redolent with blossoms.
If there's a bathroom at the U.S. Post Office, I haven't spied it. Those poor folks.
The quickest pit stop at the old Routt County Courthouse is in the annex building, on the ground floor, right off the southwest corner of the rear parking lot. It's often open later than you would think. There's always a copy of the Steamboat Today on the floor.
A block west and across the street, I'm told there's a semi-private stealth restroom on the sunken level of Old Town Square near Steaming Bean Coffee Co., but not in Steaming Bean (two plugs in one sentence!).
I'm sure there's a restroom in the Steamboat Springs Police Department, but the place makes me uptight. I don't know if I could make it happen around people wearing badges.
Centennial Hall on 10th Street has spiffy facilities, and they're open late many Tuesday and Thursday evenings when government meetings are under way. And there's always someone bleeping and moaning in Centennial Hall.
And across the river at Howelsen Hill, the restrooms on the lower level of the ski lodge are open every day of the week. Go for the gold.
Fortunately, when we head into the mountains to cut our Christmas trees this morning, we won't have to look very hard for the facilities.