Tag Archives: Twin Lakes Colorado

Latest News – September 17

“Concerning That Fake Cop Car in Twin Lakes”

Fake Cop Car Close Up Leadville Today

In past summers, the officer could be seen in an “exposed” state of readiness. Recently the patrolman has seen a wardrobe upgarde, but who’s keeping an eye on that backseat!? Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell.

By Kathy Bedell ©  Leadville Today

Sometimes I hear a great story, but for one reason or another I can’t tell it for awhile. Well, I finally get to tell this interesting tale, recounted at a friend’s memorial service some years ago, now.

While I’m not sure what the proper amount of time is to let pass, before telling a “until one of us dies” story, but here’s one I believe has pass theat test of time: “Concerning that Fake Cop Car in Twin Lakes.”

You’ll hear lots of sentimental stories at a person’s memorial service.  Especially if the life being celebrated is one of Leadville’s redheaded bar owners, who left the corner of 7th and Harrison  in January 2014.  As you can imagine, there was plenty of liquor flowing along with the tears, which eventually leads someone to say something that makes you sit up and take notice:

“Well, I have a story that Dave and I promised we would never tell anyone . . . until one of us died,” said his Long-time-friend with the same name. “It’s concerning that Fake Cop Car in Twin Lakes.”

Fake Cop Car Best Close Up2 Leadville Today

The deputy is back on duty back on duty in Twin Lakes, so watch your speed!

The story opens on the front porch of the Twin Lakes Inn, also known as the Nordic Inn back in the late 1980s, when John Slater owned it, the first time.

Back then, to break up the long cold winters, the Inn would host an annual Hooker’s Ball, bringing all the Leadville rebel-rousers south to Twin Lakes for a weekend of boas and holsters. The weekends were legendary, and the pictures would make you blush!

One Sunday morning many years ago at the Hooker’s Ball, as the mountain village was shaking off a couple nights of debauchery, the two, young friends met up.

“So, I had come out to the front deck in the morning to have a smoke,” said Long-time-friend. “And there is Dave, swinging a set of keys around his finger with the biggest grin on his face. So I said, ‘Hey what’s up buddy. You got a set of keys there? Maybe to one of those rooms upstairs with the feather-beds? Did you get lucky last night?’”

“Nope,” said Dave, “It’s much better than that. These keys are to that Fake Cop Car across the way.”

Even the installation of flashing speed limit signs don't seem to be as effective as the Fake Cop Cat in Twin Lakes.

Even the flashing speed limit signs don’t seem to be as effective as the Fake Cop Car in Twin Lakes.

Now for those who may not be familiar with the Fake Cop Car in Twin Lakes, it’s been used for decades to slow down motorists speeding through the tiny village on their way to and from Independence Pass. Over the years, this law enforcement decoy has served its purpose for visitors, especially as county budgets tightened and patrols were streamlined. It was – and still is – helpful in reducing traffic speeds.

But for locals, it’s always been the butt of many practical jokes. The male mannequin inside the vehicle has been subjected to all kinds of unique names, and could be found in various stages of (un)dress throughout its endless summer shifts. 

So when Dave proudly professed to possessing the keys to this kitschy speed trap, Long-time-friend knew that his buddy had a plan. Now, keep in mind, this was back when the mine had closed, in the late 1980s, when many Leadville residents had left. For those who stayed behind, jobs were scarce.

So when a couple of up-and-coming Leadville entrepreneurs, who might just know some talented local “organic” farmers who had a knack for growing something that was in high demand among Aspen’s rich and famous, come across a new, more centrally located “storage” facility, they take advantage of the opportunity.

And thus began, Long-time-friend explained, the nearly seven-year stretch of the two friends named Dave, using that speed decoy as a safe keep for pot-running operations back and forth to Aspen during the summer season when Independence Pass was open. They would pop out the back seat and stash their weed in one of the most inconspicuous spots in the county, and wait for their next midnight run.

Now keep in mind, this was before Colorado legalized marijuana, before there was a dispensary on seemingly every corner, and before the hybrid bud dominated the weed scene with names like “atomic energy “ and “fruity pebbles.”

They were just a couple of pot dealers trying to make a living in a down and out old mining town. Their operations worked well, and no one ever suspected. Of course, when the summer season wrapped up, the decoy detective was stored for the winter, and the back seat operations were cleared as well.

But every spring, when Independence Pass opened up, Long-time-friend explained, that Fake Cop Car was put back out onto Highway 82 by local officials. And every year, Dave would buy that decoy deputy a new shirt. He’d pull him out of the car and give him a good talking to: ‘Hey buddy, you’d better be keeping a good eye on our stuff this season. Don’t let nobody steal nothing.” Then he’d rough up that “dummy” a bit, slap a new baseball cap on him, and shove him back into the front seat, casually leaning one arm across the steering wheel, waiting for the red-glow of brake lights from his next victim.


In The Ville Head ShotFor years, their back seat operations continued, but like I said it was the late 1980s, and times and patrols were a bit leaner back then, after the last mining bust. Today, that fake cop car is still hauled out every season, keeping watch over the village and getting toursist on the #AutumnAspenAutobahn to pump their brakes a bit when hauling through Twin Lakes.

But as for me, whenever I see that Fake Cop Car make its annual appearance on Highway 82 in Twin Lakes, I can’t help but think about that old red-headed bar owner friend of mine from the corner of 7th and Harrison Avenue, downtown, In The ‘Ville. He always had a good tale to tell, even one “Concerning that Fake Cop Car at Twin Lakes.” Thanks for the story, Dave(s), it’s a good one!
Kathy Bedell owns The Great Pumpkin, A Media Company located in Leadville, Colorado which publishes LeadvilleToday.com and SaguacheToday.com.



Latest News – September 15

Autumn Aspen Autobahn: Twin Lakes Side

Praying Angel_Twin Lakes_Fall 2017

An annual Autumn pilgrimage, the Praying Angel has returned in her golden glory at Twin Lakes, for a limited engagement. Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell

This time of year, it’s known as the #AutumnAspenAutobahn, as Colorado Highway 82 going over Independence Pass becomes flooded with tourists – and locals alike, from both sides of the mountain – looking to take in that incredible autumn drive. For many, it will be the last cruise of the season, before the snow shuts down the pass until next spring. So if you have plans to take a cruise through Twin Lakes to enjoy the fall colors, here are some helpful Leadville Today travel tips about southern Lake County.

Boat Tour Sign_Twin Lakes_Fall 2017

Look for the “Boat Tours” sign to turn off to the Praying Angel.

One of autumn’s most beloved Twin Lakes features is The Praying Angel. This magnificent arbor display, kneels proudly throughout an aspen groove, across the way at Twin Lakes Reservoir. And this time of year, the golden leaves really make her shine. The best place to view this unique mountainscape is at the Praying Angel Fishing Access Spot. Turn off Highway 82 at the Red Rooster entrance, look for the “Boat Tours” sign. There’s plenty of parking, so that you can safely enjoy this special sight, away from the busy highway. 

While there, consider taking a cruise to get a closer look at the Praying Angel with a Twin Lakes Interlaken Boat Tour. These scenic, narrated tours of Twin Lakes include both the upper and lower glacially formed lakes, as well as the historic Interlaken resort, established in the late 1800’s as a getaway for wealthy mining tycoons. The views can’t be beat and you’ll learn plenty about the geology of the area, wildlife, history, and even some Twin Lakes folklore. They depart daily at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and other times, by reservation. Contact: 866-936-3654 or online.

Twin Lakes General Store_exterior

The Twin Lakes General Store is open daily with everything from food to supplies to gasoline.

Of course, every worthy #FallColors road trip requires some good snacks and drinks, so be sure to stop in at Twin Lakes General Store owned by Carl and Katie Bryan and their growing family. This one-stop-shop packs in just about anything you’d need from fishing tackle to fire wood to a variety of foods to satisfy any hunger. They are also a lifeline to backpackers who need to re-supply during their lengthy trail treks.

“My wife and I are enthusiastic about the hikers that have visited!” explains owner Carl Bryan. “We are striving to serve your needs as a BACKPACKING RESUPPLY. We have multiple food choices, instant foods, ice cream, technical gear, and more.” They also support the great exchange with their “give and take” hiker box at the front door. Oh, and if you need to re-fuel the vehicle, they can help fill your tank too! The Twin Lakes General Store is located at 6451 E Hwy 82 in the Village of Twin Lakes. Their hours are Sun – Thur: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Fri – Sat: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

#AutumnAspenAutobahn visitors can certainly round out their experience of nature’s beauty, by checking out the art beauty created by painters and crafty folks on display at the Shooting Star Gallery. A collection of Twin Lakes artists, this one-of-a-kind shop displays everything from handmade jewelry, wood carvings, and stained glass, to hand-knit hats, and so much more. A great place to stop on your trip across the mountains! You can find them on Highway 82 in the heart of the little village of Twin Lakes; look for the tables and umbrellas out front. They will remain open for the season through September.


If you’re looking for more of a meal to satisfy those hunger pangs, then planning ahead is the best option at this point in the season in the Village of Twin Lakes. The restaurant inside The Twin Lakes Inn continues to serve up tasty meals through September 24. The Dayton Dining Room takes its title from the original name – Dayton – given to Twin Lakes Village back in the 1800s. Their meals feature comfortable Colorado and American cuisine served just the way you love it!  Dinner service runs from 5 – 8:30 nightly. Weekend lunch service Friday – Sunday starts at Noon. Reservations are strongly recommended due to limited seating capacity. 

Please note that Punky’s Mobile Food Trailer has packed it in for the season, after an “incredible summer!” They’ll be back next spring and gainign quite a reputation for some of the best burgers around. 

So there’s some news from the Twin Lakes side of Independence Pass. See you on the #AutumnAspenAutobahn! And seriously, slow down!

Windmill_Twin Lakes_Fall 2017

Photo opportunties abound on the #AutumnAspenAutobahn, like the old windmill and barn setting off Highway 82 en route to Independence Pass. Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell