From strange beginnings...
Bill & Martha came to Rangely in August of 1956 to teach in the High School. They raised their family here and in 1988 they retired from teaching but not from being active in the community they love.
Photography has long been an interest of theirs and with retirement came the opportunity to travel a bit and to spend more time with that wonderful hobby. They enjoyed participating in a number of photo seminars, workshops and Elderhostel programs. All went well until Comet Hale-Bopp made its appearance in March of 1997 and they were fortunate enough to get some rather striking images. The hobby soon became an avocation and has taken on additional significance as Bill has concentrated on photographing many of the attractions in Dinosaur National Monument.
Free-lance nature photography is a major interest of both Bill & Martha; they do not do portraits, weddings or the like. In addition to Dinosaur National Monument, they love photographing features of the Colorado Plateau, including slot canyons, rock art, most any type of landscape, old buildings, lichens, rocks, trees, flowers, patterns of most any kind, fall colors, water and more.
Bill and Martha have both been very involved in numerous community service areas, including volunteering at the Colorado Welcome Center in Dinosaur since it opened in 1990. It was through this activity that they were introduced to a couple that would bring major changes to their lives.
Robert & Leona Hemmerich moved to Colorado from Vermont in 1979. They reared their two girls in the Denver metro area and moved to Dinosaur in the fall of 1995. At the time, Leona was still working in Denver, and Robert was working a lot in Vail. He has worked in many aspects of construction, and currently he installs and repairs hardwood floors in the Vail Valley. It is Robert’s handiwork you see when you walk on the beautiful hickory floors at BedRock Depot.
Leona has had a rather varied background vocationally. Since she’s never been able to decide on what she wants to do when she grows up (which will probably be never) Leona has sometimes told people her main purpose is to make other peoples’ lives more interesting. In 1998, the manager’s position opened up at the Colorado Welcome Center. Leona decided to do something different and applied for the job and got it. She fit in very well with the volunteers and in visiting the people coming in looking for things to do in Colorado. Those who worked with her there would agree that she made their lives more interesting.
Bill and Martha teased her a lot when they volunteered, and a friendship started to grow. Bill was impressed with her enthusiasm and one day suggested a hike he had wanted to do but didn’t have anyone to go with him. Leona eagerly volunteered. A date was set, but the night before Bill called and tried to back out because it was raining. Leona wasn’t one to be deterred by what might be and suggested they wait till morning to call it off. The next morning the sun shone brightly and the hike was on, and many more followed.
Over the next several years, Bill and Leona did many hikes, mostly in Dinosaur National Monument. They found themselves to be very compatible hiking partners both in the speed at which they like to walk and the interest they have in nature. Even when Leona wasn’t taking pictures herself, she didn’t (and still doesn’t) mind waiting for Bill to spend as much time as he wants shooting a particular scene. She has just enjoyed listening to the quiet that can be found when you get out away from it all.
Robert and Leona also have interests in many hobbies, including photography. Leona hadn’t done much with photography for years until Bill restored her interest in it, and the digital revolution in cameras made it more affordable. Robert still prefers the traditional 35mm film to the digital format. A number of years ago all four decided to try doing a trip together to see the country and take pictures. They enjoyed it enough, they have done a few more since.
The winter of 2003 found the four of them planning a trip to Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Robert was hoping they would be able to do an “Old West” photo like they had done in Durango a few years earlier. He had his heart set on being “Buffalo Bill” Cody and had grown a beautiful beard and long hair so he would look the part when attired in an appropriate costume. One evening a couple weeks before they left, Leona was on the phone with Bill and asked if he knew if there would be any places on our route where we could do an Old West photo. He didn’t know, but thought there might be. As the two of them visited more, Leona was hit by one of her moments of creative fantasy. The first thought she suggested was that since Dinosaur had its own Old West history with colorful characters such as Butch Cassidy and others, this would be a good place to do an “Old West” photo op, but then, as she talked, the wheels kept clicking and she came out with something quite outrageous. After all, this is Dinosaur, and just how did people dress in the days of dinosaurs? Bill, of course, told her they didn’t since they weren’t around, but Leona has never been one to let a lack of creative vision in others dampen hers. She persistently pursued her idea and informed him that that was his perspective. After all, hadn’t he ever watched the Flintstones? Besides, we knew that visitors to our area were often disappointed by the lack of souvenirs specific to Dinosaur, Colorado, both in name and theme that our area had to offer. What better and more unique souvenir could people get than to have a photograph taken where they could dress as if they lived back in the cave days, with Dinosaur, Colorado printed across the bottom? Even if other places offered some sort of cave man photo, they couldn’t put Dinosaur, Colorado on it. We could even superimpose dinosaurs for people to ride, have as pets, or fight. Why not set up a studio to take just such photos? This could be combined with a small gallery to display and sell the photos that each of the four already produced. By the time she was done with her “sales pitch,” Bill thought it might have some merit. Leona bounced the idea off her daughter who called that evening, and off Robert, both of whom agreed the idea was worth considering.
During the course of their trip, they got a lot of neat ideas for the possibility of setting up a shop, but never found a place to do the “Old West” photo so Robert could pose as “Buffalo Bill.” (Leona did take his picture later that summer and he looked very much the part.) By the time they got home, everyone thought this was a really great idea, and a bit of coaxing even got Bill to agree to helping out with the undertaking. Martha and Robert indicated that they would give their support but they didn’t want to be active participants. Robert, being far-sighted and practical, suggested that to have any chance of making a go of it there needed to be something to bring in some cash on a steady basis and he thought a coffee bar and hand-dipped ice cream would be profitable.
Returning home, contact was made regarding availability of the old “Dina Freeze” (famous for both a green dinosaur holding a cone and an enormous hamburger called the “Bronto burger”). This building had most recently been the home of a gift shop called the “Ugly Coyote,” which had not operated for a few years. The building was for sale, it looked suitable — with some major remodeling — and the price seemed reasonable. The purchase was made, a summer of remodeling, much of it far more extensive than planned, followed and BedRock Depot was born.
The store was opened for a few weeks “just to get the feet wet” in early fall of 2003, then closed for the winter. Spring brought on more remodeling and a Grand Opening celebration on May 8, 2004. Business was generally good throughout the summer months and the concession was made to offer deli type sandwiches, which became quite popular. Robert thought Leona should make her own bread for sandwiches and wanted her to look into getting a batch freezer so she could make her own ice cream as well. Again, the store closed for the winter and spring brought more remodeling. Each winter Leona has expanded the wall painting that started in the bathroom.
By 2005 BedRock Depot had become not only a place for quality ice cream, espresso drinks and sandwiches, they had added a gift line in addition to their gallery. Bill and Leona continue to look for just the right merchandise to offer in their store to make your time at BedRock an enjoyable experience. Now, as you wait for your custom food order to be filled, you can browse through our gallery and gifts.
Quality has been the watchword for BedRock Depot from its very beginning. Considerable effort has gone into making the building and grounds as attractive as possible so as to attract and please the traveling public. Quality foods, beverages, ice cream, gifts and other items are made available from the perspective that repeat business requires just that. Equally important is quality service and BedRock Depot’s owners and employees are committed to providing friendly, efficient and courteous service to every customer.
Our story wouldn’t be complete without giving credit to our spouses who are the silent (and not always so) partners in this endeavor and without whom it would utterly fail. Martha does much of our grocery shopping, as well as laundry and other errands. Robert has done the lion’s share of the remodeling, except where licensed trades were needed, and continues to help at times in various ways, including working the counter where he loves serving ice cream and making shakes and lattes.
At this point in time, Leona’s original dream of having a cave man photo studio has yet to be fulfilled, but the idea has not been abandoned. There just always seems to be more work to do than we can find the time to get done. However, the dinosaur family that has been rattling around in her head for the past few years is very close to making a real appearance. You may have noticed “Tony” on our business cards. He’s the friendly T-Rex holding a latte and a T-Rex cone, and he’s one of Leona’s friends. Keep a watch for what may develop in that area.
BedRock Depot will always strive to provide quality in every aspect of doing business and wants to be known far and wide as “The place to stop in Dinosaur, Colorado.” In fact, the goal is to be the best place to stop between the ski areas of Colorado and those of neighboring Utah. That’s the story so far. How are we doing? Feel free to give us your feedback in person, in our guest book, or an email note at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your patronage and interest. Have a great day and come again.
BedRock Depot is the best place to stop between the ski areas of Colorado and those of neighboring Utah.