Going My Way

Meet us on Alameda, where cultures collide. In a good way.

The rain is still falling slowly on the staff greeting entrants to Red Rocks Park; Steely Dan is playing tonight, so every car pulling into the park is questioned by a person in a poncho. Do you have tickets to the show? Do you know where you're going? In the park, the roads are a maze — even for those well-versed in driving through Red Rocks. Several roads are blocked off entirely. The lower and upper south lots are still open, complete with port-a-potties for revelers who show up a bit early to tailgate in the park, but Steely Dan doesn't go on until 7:30 p.m., so right now the lots are almost deserted save for a few hard-core fans parked right up front. A haze hangs over the hogback, but the view from the park is still spectacular. All along the Front Range, the mountains turn various shades of purple, darkening as the sun begins to drop lower and lower in the sky. A parade of vehicles, just visible from this vantage point, is beginning to make its way toward the amphitheatre and up the hills into the parking lot. Soon all the entrances will be clogged with concert-goers. — Amber Taufen

The Great Clown's Inn
3800 West Alameda Avenue
5:30 p.m.

Opened by former Shriner clown Don Easter nearly three decades ago, the Great Clown's Inn clown is a candy-striped landmark. But the red and white paint on the exterior offers just a hint of the decor on the inside. There's the makeshift clown shrine at the east end of the bar, with miniature clowns that look like they date back to the '70s, a bobblehead Juggalo, even a hobo clown statue with painted-on stubble and a clown in a parachute hanging above it. Over the other side of the bar is a stained-glass clown.

Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral promises ascension, while a mountain biker in Lakewood's William Frederick Hayden Park descends.
Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral promises ascension, while a mountain biker in Lakewood's William Frederick Hayden Park descends.
Veterinarian Kevin Fitzgerald talks to the animals.
Veterinarian Kevin Fitzgerald talks to the animals.

Details

This is the fifth in our occasional profiles of metro Denver roads. To read the first four a day in the lives of Sheridan, Federal, Colfax and Broadway go to westword.com. For more scenes and photos from Alameda, plus a slide show from the Parade of Homes, click here.

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Norman, the bartender, who's been working here in one way or another since the day the place opened, says customers bring in a lot of the clown paraphernalia. And although Norman occasionally jokes around with some of the regulars (most of whom appear to be over thirty), there isn't a whole lot of clowning around.

About fifteen or so folks are taking advantage of happy hour, where you get two-for-one beers on your first round. A few ladies on one side of the horseshoe-shaped bar are chatting and drinking glasses of Franzia. The phone rings and a strobe light flashes, which probably comes in very handy when the jukebox is cranked up. Turns out the call is for a woman who had walked in about ten minutes earlier.

"I didn't tell anyone I was here," she says as Norman passes the phone to her.

Before taking the call, the woman had asked for a Michelob. After Norman told her they didn't have Michelob, she'd settled on a Bud.

"I only live a few blocks away," she told him. "If I would've known you didn't serve Michelob, I would've brought my own."

If she'd have looked around, she might've seen all the Bud banners and flags and realized the place catered to heavy-duty Bud drinkers.

A bit later, Norman plays some Chuck Berry on the juke, including "My Ding-a-Ling," which gets a few people singing along. A guy and his wife start a game of pool. A woman wearing a Broncos jersey and another guy finish their mugs of beer. A guy named Juan starts chatting up the woman who was on the phone.

It's all a bit melancholy, though, since the bar, which has been passed down through three generations, will close its doors on July 20. Mary and Gordon Eckley bought it from Easter in the early '80s, then gave it to their son Perry. After Perry died three years ago, his son Sean inherited it. But over the past few months, Sean has been pressured to sell by relatives who own the rest of block and want to unload it.

A sign in the back of the bar says, "There's a $5 charge for whining." But there might some be some cause for that when this circus ends. Jon Solomon

100 East Alameda Avenue
6 p.m.

At the corner of Lincoln, a panhandler holds up his sign: "Visions of an Egg McMuffin." — Patricia Calhoun

Cherry Creek Trail
Alameda between Steele Street and Leets-dale Drive
7 p.m.

Alameda breaks just west of Colorado Boulevard — turning into Cherry Creek Drive North in one direction and Cherry Creek Drive South in the other — before picking up again on the other side of the creek near the Polo Club. But before it does, the thoroughfare lines up with the Cherry Creek Trail on one side and Pulaski Park on the other. In fact, Alameda plunges through an entire series of interconnected parks back here, including Pulaski Park and City of Karmiel Park.

Tonight, as storm clouds gather overhead, the trail is a serious place. No one is out for an evening stroll or bike ride. Like the cars whizzing by, every cyclist is on his way to somewhere, barely looking up from the pavement long enough to take in the green backdrop. Men still dressed in work clothes, with their iPods on and the straps of their man-purses worn diagonally across their chests. Women with backpacks and fanny packs. An occasional dedicated cyclist clad in neon spandex. Walkers and joggers stay carefully to the side because, even near the sign telling cyclists to "SLOW, Yield to Pedestrians," those on foot feel like they have to stay in the grass.

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