Hot Buns and Johnson's Corner
- Have I told you how I really feel about Krispy Kremes?😆 ↩
After dinner and gelato in Boulder, we drove an hour's north to Loveland, the hometown of Colorado Camper Van (CCV), the company that manufacturers and installs / installed Beastie's poptop (they also make all kinds of must-have bling for your rig).
It was pretty late, but there was one critical stop we had to make along the way: Johnson's Corner, the truck stop truly famous for its cinnamon rolls. We weren't buying them for ourselves; we were getting them for the CCV crew so they had some hot buns (hehheh) to greet them early on a Monday morning. You know, like donuts at the office on Friday. I personally think treats on Monday, especially not-too-sweet, gluten-free goodies, preferably home-made, are better to kick off the week, versus totally gross, super sweet, disgusting Krispy Kreme donuts on a Friday. I hate Krispy Kremes. If you really want an awesome donut, go to Schats Bakery in Mammoth or Bishop, CA (we always go to the one in Mammoth).
Shrekkie told us to go to LaMars donuts in Denver. You would think a cop would know what is a good donut. Sorry Shrekkie, in our humble opinions, we think LaMars donuts suck (we still love ya, though). But I digress...
I have to tell you a crazy story about Johnson's Corner. Flashback to many years ago... I traveled to Fort Collins to be the Maid-of-Honor at my friend's wedding. I flew into Denver (arriving at night) and was greeted at the gate by a 30-something-year-old guy holding up a sign with my name on it. I felt so important! Not really.
I was actually quite hesitant, for even though I knew my friend was sending a driver to pick me up and transport me 70 miles north, I had my sh*t detector in high alert mode. I'll spell it out: a single woman is going to get into a complete stranger's / unknown male's car, at night, in an unknown city and go on an unknown route. Alone. Right... For all I knew, this guy could be an axe murderer.
I figured if this guy was going to pull anything, I wanted to be the first to know and see what was coming. So as we approached the “town car,” (it was actually some generic, dark-colored four-door sedan), I said to him, “hey, do you mind if I sit up front?” He gave me a very strange look like, “no one's ever asked me that before, and why?” I immediately followed up with, “cause you never know, you might be an axe murderer.” He was mortified, and I cracked up. I rode shotgun.
Turns out he was a nice, polite guy, born and raised in Longmont, Colorado, the biggest town (population at that time was under 100,000) south of Loveland. We “got talk'n,” and if you know me, you'll know that eventually I'll start talking about my favorite “F” word – FOOD. It's one of my favorite subjects, after skiing, of course... Somehow the conversation naturally made its way to cinnamon buns.
Driver (very enthusiastically): “Why, the best cinnamon buns anywhere are on the way to Fort Collins.”
Now ya got my attention. Dude, slam on the brakes!
Me: “Really! How far, and what's the name of the place?
Driver: “Just up the road. A truck stop called Johnson's Corner.”
Me: “Are you able to make a stop? If so, let's get some. I'm buying.”
Driver: “Ok, thank you.”
A few minutes later, we pulled up to a nondescript truck stop, one just like out of a scene from a movie. If you go to Johnson's Corner today, the place is huge and really built up. It wasn't like that back then.
The deal was I would get the buns from the food counter / restaurant; he would get the beverages from the gas station mini-mart in the adjacent room. I wanted milk, he wanted soda. Milk and cinnamon buns are a great match, just like me and 1der. Cinnamon buns and soda are not a great match, just like diabetes and having a toe amputated as a result are not a good match. Enough said.
I walk into the restaurant. Mind you, I was producer from Los Angeles. An “ornamental,” as I've been called. Wearing a tank top and a floor-length, beautiful, batiked sarong (skirt) from Indonesia. Translation: I was a freak in those parts. Now a few sentences ago, I mentioned the truck stop was just like one in a movie. Well remember this scene from “Animal House?” You have to watch the clip before reading further...
I go up to the counter, and by now all the patrons have stopped eating and they, and the waitresses, are all staring at me. “I would like two cinnamon buns to go, please,” I calmly asked. I was so tempted to say this in my over-the-top, FOB (“Fresh Off the Boat”) accent I've come to perfect because I've been told one too many times by some frikk'n ignoramus, “you sure speak English good!” 🤬
I met Mr. Driver back at the car. We chowed down the buns, and I have to say, they were pretty darn good then and still darned good now ((I guess, since I can't eat them anymore due to a gluten intolerance). I slowly eased into my next question...
Me: “So... are there any minorities around here?”
Driver: “Yes! (Pause) We have Eye...Talians.”
He was dead serious. I'm thinking "Eye-talians? Is he really saying that, and does he really classify Italians as 'minorities?' " After a long pause...
Me: “Well, actually I was thinking more along the lines, of, you know, Asians, African Americans and Hispanics.”
Driver: “Oh, you mean those kind of minorities. (pauses) Hmmmm, let me think... (pauses) Actually we do! I've eaten at a Mexican restaurant once before.”
Before I knew it, we were in Fort Collins, and I bid farewell to my driver and expressed my gratitude for getting me safely to my destination. I genuinely liked the guy. He was very sweet and gentle. He wasn't racist at all; he just didn't have much exposure to all the colors in the rainbow.
Longmont and Loveland have changed so much since that time, and I bet there are plenty more Eye-talians now than there were all those years ago.
These are not the truck stop buns. I didn't take any pictures of anything Johnson's Corner, so you're stuck with MY buns. Heehee! These are my hot-out-of-the-oven sourdough cinnamon rolls I always bake for 1der and our house guests.
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