Robert White, or Dakota Duke, as he calls himself, runs a gift shop full of t-shirts and knick-knacks in Cuchara, Colorado. The Cuchara Valley, which parallels I-25 between Walsenburg and Trinidad, is Colorado's "best kept secret," White said. He wants whomever the next governor will be to champion tourist-reliant communities, like his, that have been hurt by wildfires.

"The fire took the heart right out of the season," he said, referring to the Spring Fire. "We don't want to be overcrowded like Vail or Breckenridge. But yes, we do need more tourist traffic."

How's Colorado Doing? We Went On A Road Trip To Ask Everyone About It

It’s an important question, with different answers depending where you go from the mountains to the plains, the cities to small towns, the Western Slope to the Front Range.

Explore The Map

Nathaniel Minor/CPR News

CPR