Reno for a Night

I venture all the way back to my college days to search my brain for whatever memories remain from that alcohol clouded period of my life.  Keep in mind, my college days really covers a decade spanning from 1983 until about 1992.  I spent too much time having fun and focusing on everything except school.  I have no idea if I passed more classes than I failed.  I do know that I hung around long enough that most instructors were doing their level well best to see that I matriculated.

At some point during the summer of the later college years a large group of my friends decided to make a trip to Reno.  The Reno trip was epic for a number of reasons, the least of which was the motel we crashed in.

I am not sure who was responsible for our room reservations on this trip; I just know that it was not me or my roommate Eric.  I usually try to avoid names to protect my friends, but Eric is probably a good name for a college roommate.  The room was about a dollar per person per night.  Of course we had about 23 people in our group.  We may have neglected to mention the exact number in our group when we checked into the motel.

This particular motel was located a couple blocks off Virginia Street and not too far from the center of the action at Harrah’s and Eldorado.  I would hazard a guess that it was to the West of Virginia Street but fail to recall the exact directions. It was an old style motor lodge with rooms opening directly to the parking lot.  We intentionally got a room as far from the office as possible. I was one of the first people to go into the room, so I saw it in near pristine condition.

It was an old tired motel room with green carpet and orange globe like light fixtures. The room was small and it had an old stale cigarette smell as you entered.  The bathroom had a unique smell of urine that is indicative of age and poor cleaning.  The black mold or mildew in the cracks of the shower tile was easily removed with a wet wash cloth.  The stains on the shower floor proved to be much tougher.  The brown color in the toilet bowl was there to stay and years old.

The single king bed in the room sported a retro (i.e., outdated) bed spread that had a collection of cigarette holes in it.  The hair in the bed was not a good sign.  The pillows were terribly stained and smelled pretty rough even though they were in clean cases.  I was pretty sure somebody had wet the bed and soiled the pillows at one time or another. Who knows, maybe it was two separate people.

As the group went about staking out pieces of floor to layout sleeping bags on, it became apparent that the carpet over near the bathroom door was wet to the touch.  An earlier flood in the bathroom had spread out into the room and the carpet had not fully dried. While the mold had not yet taken hold it would not be long before mold, mushrooms or some such deleterious growth formed on or under that carpet.

It did not end there; the room would produce a few more surprises before the night was over.  A couple of empty beer bottles were found under the bed along with plenty of dust.  No real signs of food left behind by previous occupants.  I am not sure if that speaks to the efficiency of the maids or the mice.

Because we were young and taking advantage of the system we did not complain but rather made due with the room we were given.  We drank in the room and generally made a Spring Break type mess in the room.  We added a couple holes in the walls the size of fists and one or two the size of a shoe.  The best hole was one closely approximating the size of Derrick’s head. The last time I saw the room, there were several messages written in lipstick on the walls.

The room was bad when we arrived and absolutely trashed when we left. I often wondered what happened with that room and who if anyone ever answered for the damage. I was reminded a few months ago about it and all I could say was that it was 25 years ago and we should have known better.

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