Staying

Over the years I have spent my share of time on the road and the vast majority of the time I have been on the road it has been spent in the cheapest place possible to crash. Crashing means staying with friends or even friends of friends. When there is no place to crash for free I am forced to actually pay for a room. When paying for a room I am usually looking for cheap or free.  If I have to pay I would like to pay for half of the room, so I am always looking for a travel partner.

In 1998, I spent 207 days on the road in motels.  That was the year where I kept the best records and probably the most time I have ever spent on the road.  In 2007 I spent 40 nights at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas and they were all complimentary. I spent other nights on the road in 2007 including some in Reno and a few in Crescent City.  I even spent a few nights in a bed and breakfast with my wife. As I share my 2007 stories, I get many questions about staying at the Riviera.  Mostly, because the Riviera is rough and old; the hotel has certainly seen better days. I always respond that I have certainly stayed in worse. My friend Double G asked me to share about the worst spots I have ever stayed.

In no particular order, here are the places that really stand out in my mind. A motel in the outskirts of Los Angeles, a motel in Pasadena, an old motel in Tulelake and a motel in Reno. I have to give an honorable mention to motels in Burney and Bend for nearly costing me my life.

The first of the honorable mentions is a little motel in Burney California that boasts a AAA two diamond rating.  This place is on the main drag, state highway, right in the middle of town.  I travel over to Burney for work during the time I was working on the Pit River Casino.  I had put tire chains on and driven for about 60 or 70 miles through a snow storm to arrive in Burney.  I pulled into the hotel with about six inches of fresh snow on the ground and the temperature rapidly dropping through the teens as nightfall arrived.  I went into the motel office and tried to rent a room.  Unfortunately, the power was out in the entire town and they would not rent me a room.  Faced with freezing to death in my car, I was able to convince the manager that it was perfectly fine to rent me a room with no power or heat.  I climbed under the blankets and nearly froze, but I made it through the night.

The second honorable mention goes to a motel in Bend Oregon that I had reservations at and yet once again after driving through a miserable snow storm and arriving around midnight I found out the rooms were all rented.  In the middle of a fierce snow storm with temperatures around zero, my reservation was already rented and every motel in town was sold out.  The little girl behind the counter wanted to cry.  I have to admit that she tried everything possible to find a room for us.  I was willing to sleep in a closet or laundry room as it was bite ass cold outside.  Finally, the girl called her boyfriend and he took us to his house and let us sleep there.  Twice I nearly froze to death because I stay in the cheapest available accommodations.

The motel on the outskirts of Los Angeles was on a vacation with my wife and another couple. I am not sure who chose this brand name motel, but I assure you it was a budget friendly choice.  This motel was probably the worst maintained motel I have ever stayed in.  The place was not very old but it had never been taken care of.  Because we had two rooms, I had more than one sample to draw upon for bad experience. The smell was consistent in all of the rooms I stuck my head inside and it was putrid.  The ants seemed to be very hit or miss.  The mice seemed to be plentiful in rooms that had mice.  The rats seemed to be in rooms where there were no mice.  I am not sure why rats and mice are unable to co-exist.  The one rat that I was able to chase outside on the walkway made an escape to the confines of the garbage dumpster enclosure.  All bathrooms seemed to have plenty of mold.  The water damage at window sills led to peeling paint and mold.  The stains on everything really told me that nobody cared what this place looked like. We did manage to stay the night and everybody complained about all the bug bites. Small things like the television remote not working were the least of the issues. We went to the free breakfast buffet and there were ants crawling on the food.  The women went to the office and raised Hell. While they were gone and Rick and I had promised to stay away, Rick told me about getting up in the middle of the night and eating his left over pizza only to find out that it was covered with ants after eating almost an entire piece, ants and all.  The motel gave us the rooms free and paid for our pizza, but it is still one of the worst nights ever.

This story is already getting too long.  I promise to write part two and get it posted soon.

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