I drove up and down the old highway with my spare tire on… searching for something better… A familiar story… There isn’t anything new in that part of the old town. All the buildings were old and whispered of a time from fading memories and stronger people. It had a romantic look and feel of the perfect setting for a novel, but this was no story… This was real life and I needed a place to sleep for the night and used that motivation to find a newer motel with newer beds and more privacy.
That stretch of old Route 66 wasn’t offering me what my spoiled self had come to expect. It wasn’t selling comfort, it was offering basic provision. It’s easy to be nostalgic being removed from it. I settled on the newest looking motel after having driven past it three times.
It was one of the few in the old town that was two stories… A sign of not exactly new, but it looked newer than the other Route 66 motels built around the time of World War II. “Can I help you with anything?” The young lady at the front desk asked me.
There I was; tired, admittedly grumpy to be spending the night somewhere essentially against my will, in a motel after dark, and she asks me basically what I’m looking for… “I’m looking for Prince Albert – Have you seen him?” is the sarcastic statement and question I wanted to ask her. Instead, I gave her an empty look and mumbled, “I need a room.”
“Oh?” She answered as if completely shocked, “Just one? Or more guests tonight?”
“Okay… let’s see… I have two queen beds!”
“I’d like to be on the second floor…”
“I’m sorry, we only have king beds on the second floor.”
“I’ll take a king bed, please…”
I finished the awkward transaction that was lacking any background noise and walked back out to my truck to drive up and around the motel to my temporary one night home. As I pulled up and around the sinking feeling in my stomach told me I’d been duped. The two-story office must have been a remodel.
The motel was the same basic feel, design, and architecture of the Bates Motel… I spotted my room, #247, and parked in the space directly in front of it. They definitely made it easy to get your luggage in those days… I glanced around the premises, making sure there weren’t any Norman Bates type of psychos hanging around and made my way to the historic room.
The smell of perfume or fabric softener on top of cigarette smoke in the non-smoking room came pretty close to triggering a gag reflex. The obvious cigarette burns in the orange bedspread made the nostalgia that much more authentic. The carpet had threads hanging out all over the place, especially where it met the cheap and small ceramic tile in the postage stam- I mean bathroom.
My guess from the look of things was that the last date of a remodel was sometime just after the Vietnam War. As I slid the ancient window open to air out the room, never mind it was winter, the tracks looked like it had bug debris from back when Route 66 was the only way west.
After dinner at the closest and only restaurant not closed down within miles, I checked my email and broke out my yellow legal pad and pen. Yeah, they were stranded with me…A blessing in disguise…Although they don’t whine and moan like their master… In truth, they tend to get used by my Master to remind me of the blessings I’m receiving… even when I don’t feel like I am…
I was wondering if the front desk girl was punishing me by stashing the late and loud arrivals right next door to me… They finally settled in about half past eleven…. and so did I…