BLANDING — It seems easy to get bored in Blanding. The same-ole, same-ole every single day in this small San Juan County town.
Workers at the local gas station hear it all the time from visitors and residents.
"A lot of people just trying to find anything to do,” said one resident.
There's a lot to do outdoors, but not so much indoors.
“Either the park … um … just the park. Nowhere else,” said Tatyana Jones.
That is until about four years ago when the owners of the Canyon Country Fuel Center had an idea: to put a bowling alley in the middle of the store.
"There were kind of three of us involved with that in the very beginning,” said store manager Craig Stanley. "The convenience store, A&W, was okay, but it wasn't pulling its own weight. When we added the bowling alley, it changed everything and it started pulling its own weight."
Stanley said the people's reaction to seeing the bowling alley is the best part.
"That's the funniest part of all is watching the faces of people that walk in,” Stanley said.
There is even a sign warning visitors of what they're about to see, but this is one of those things where people have to see it to believe it.
"The reaction from people from metro areas and urban areas is pretty fun to watch," said store manager Rick Robuck.
It's also been pretty fun for the community.
"I actually plan my kids birthday party here," Jones said.
The bowling alley offers regulation-sized lanes and bowling leagues, giving residents something else to do besides hiking or watching a movie.
"It's something that's maybe not dramatic, but it does increase the quality of life here. It does give you a chance to do something with your kids or your school," Robuck said.
The next closest bowling alley is an hour and a half away in Moab or Cortez, though, with those, you can't fill up your car, your belly and your shopping cart in the same trip.
"The bowling company that installed our lanes, they said this is the only thing they've ever seen like this in the United States — and they install lanes all over the United States," Stanley said.
Yeah, it's a little quirky, but for Blanding, it works.
"(It) makes us feel like we are part of the community and contributing," Robuck said.
Contributing: Xoel Cardenas