Signs of the times
Suggestions for Vince, the Sign Guy

Signs of the times
Addyson Santese - 04/27/2023

Anyone who knows me knows I love signs. I consider myself a bit of a sign aficionado. In fact, I have a whole highlights section on my Instagram dedicated to featuring the amazing bumper stickers and billboards I find across town. These include hits such as “My Other Ride Is Your Mom,” “Stop Making Fun of Libertarians” and “God Wants Full Custody, Not Just Weekends.”

I love these signs because they make me laugh, but also because you can learn a lot about a person from which stickers they deem worthy of slapping onto the back of their clapped-out Honda Civic. 

While bumper stickers can tell you a lot about the individuals in a town, I like to think that signs cultivate the flavor of the town as a whole. Consider some of Durango’s best signs. The Wapiti Lodge on 160: “Last Motel for 150 Yards.” Or what about the Siesta Motel with its neon cactus and comedic gold: “Free Rooms Just Kidding”? And yes, I absolutely break my neck every time I drive past the Alpine Animal Hospital so I can read the joke setup on one side and the punch line on the other.

These signs are the dad jokes of town. You know them. You love them. They’re never going to change and that provides a comforting sense of reliability. However, there’s one person around here who’s dedicated to keeping things fresh, and that’s Vince the Sign Guy. 

If you haven’t heard of Vince, that’s probably because he operates at Vallecito – “conveniently located miles and miles from everywhere!” as his Instagram says (@vincethesignguy). But let me tell you, you’re missing out. Up County Road 501, just a few minutes before you hit the lake, there’s a bend in the road, a blue billboard and a witty pun waiting for you. 

Vince the Sign Guy feels like a local legend, a myth. One day you’re driving past an open, empty field, and the next there’s a marquee sign, sprouted up like a giant spring flower. Soon enough, you find yourself ignoring the child-sized potholes just to lean over the steering wheel in anticipation of what new joke has been prepared for your amusement that day. 

Now I don’t personally know Vince the Sign Guy, but my husband and I have often discussed the effort that must go into creating new material every single day. Being funny is hard work. Being consistently funny is even harder. So, to lighten the load, my husband and I brainstormed some local-specific sign ideas for Vince when he needs a break. Here are the ones that made the cut:

• Who got rid of Carver’s breakfast?

• We don’t need another souvenir T-shirt shop, thanks.

• Being a raft guide isn’t a substitute for having a personality. 

• Albertsons is the best grocery store in town. No contest. 

• Four-wheel drive is superior to all-wheel drive. 

• Merging from Highway 3 to get to Walmart is stressful (please let me in).

• God bless RGPs.

• Baytucky is underrated.

• Frida’s will always be Tacos Nayarit in my heart. 

• There are music genres other than bluegrass. 

• RIP Dairy Queen and KFC. 

• The downtown meter maid is the only person who works anymore. 

• Maybe the Texans don’t like you either. 

• Cyclists should have to stop at stop signs. 

• CR 250 > HWY 550. 

• Do we still moon the train? 

• “I miss the Front Range” – said no transplant ever. 

• Is Target happening? Yes or no?

• Wildfire fighters deserve health insurance. 

• Hermosa Cafe and DCC should duke it out Thunderdome-style. 

• Let’s agree to never do Shakespeare Snowdown again. 

• Hot take: I miss the ugly rock sculpture on 160. 

• Make the Durango Mall into affordable housing. 

• Keep praying for rain – it’s finally working. 

• Is the Durango Herald using ChatGPT?

• MTBers are supposed to yield to hikers. 

• No one cares about your Sprinter van. 

• Durango should have a dog mayor. 

• The deer on 3rd Ave. look both ways before crossing. Do you?

• To the Peerless gas station that hasn’t become a Speedway – stay strong!

• The Buzz Bus is doing God’s work. 

• $6 is too much for a small latte. 

• What even is a skyhawk? 

• Nalgenes are the least efficient of all water bottle brands. 

• Chips should be a side option, not a requirement. 

• Bless up Texas tacos – the only meal in town under $10.

• Why are Double Tree and China Cafe the only river-side restaurants? 

• Will the Bridge to Nowhere ever go somewhere? 

To Vince the Sign Guy and everyone else around Durango who use their signs to put smiles on our faces – thank you! And if you haven’t driven out to Vallecito to check out this local gem, what are you waiting for? I know I’ll be going up there every day, crossing my fingers, hoping to see one of my jokes in billboard size. 

– Addyson Santese 

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