Goodbye to the thunder

Wayne (right) and Geordi Walston on the steps of the Rolling Thunder Cloud Cafe. (Photo courtesy Geordi Walston)

Sadly, the Rolling Thunder Cloud Café in Guffey has closed its doors for business and sold the building, according to co-owner/operators Wayne and Geordi Walston. It’s really because of the COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions, which they never recovered from, said Geordi.

“Good Food, Good Friends, Good Times,” was their motto. The couple opened the café almost seven years ago, in July, 2013. The café was named after Wayne’s favorite quarter horse, “Rolling Thunder Cloud.” He was an amazing horse that Wayne taught many kids to ride while he worked with youth riding groups in California, according to Geordi.

“We considered downsizing the menu, but with over 72-some entree’s, many of them named after good customer’s who ordered these entree’s religiously, the idea of downsizing could not take shape,” said Geordi.

The café served up breakfast, lunch, coffee drinks and sweet treats, including Wayne’s famous pies.

Originally, in 1998, the café building housed an art gallery, then was Our Place, Rita’s Place and finally Rolling Thunder Cloud, which started featuring local artist’s works and then became a café.

Over time, RTCC evolved with many Guffey traditions: customers hung their own mugs for coffee with refills good all day, offering a full espresso bar including frappes and fresh fruit smoothies, fresh home style meals with an organic emphasis and local artists’ works always for sale, stated Geordi.

Having started playing the piano at four years old, Geordi brought music to the café and they hosted their first of many themed musical gourmet dinner shows in September, 2014. This was a tradition Rita had started.

The couple’s many gourmet dinner/music shows featured a dinner theme like Italian night and a variety of music themes including Christmas andholiday shows, many Broadway shows and Valentine’s Day shows featuring vocalists, pianists, guitarists and always with a little comedy thrown in for fun to entertain the customers.

The dinner and music shows were very popular and always sold out.

In 2013, the couple started hosting the People’s Choice Car Show in August with music, food and cars. There were three categories: truck, car and motorcycle. People attending the show voted for their one favorite vehicle in each category. First, second, and third places were awarded in each category.

With so many motorcycle enthusiasts in the area, the couple hosted monthly motorcycle rides into the beautiful Colorado mountains, said Geordi, and made a homemade sack lunch for those who wanted to enjoy a picnic lunch on the roadside with a beautiful mountain view.

The couple also hosted outside events like Stanley Steamers, an auto club, on their day tour from Golden, Colo.; and the Mini Cooper Car Club from Colorado Springs.

The Walstons still consider Colorado a part of their lives, although winters are much preferred in a warmer climate, Geordi said. Geordi still will maintain her private music studio in Fairplay and Skype is great for when the COVID-19 levels are up, she said, but in-person lessons are great too.

“Wayne is looking forward to continuing monthly motorcycle rides with all the great motorcycle friendships made over the years,” Geordi said.

The café has been sold to a couple from Grand Junction, Mike and Kate. The couple plan on living in the residence side of the building, having a tasting room where the café was and building a distillery out back, with plans for opening sometime in the fall. There will be more on that later.

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