Thursday, April 20, 2006

Story #1


Have you ever wondered what it would smell like if you walked into a room that had a dead person under the bed that had been there awhile, then it rained and flooded the building but nobody bothered to clean up or remove the carpet, then another person died under the bed, then someone cooked garlic and curry in the room and served it to a dog that puked it all up and then peed all over the entire room? If you have, go to the Cadillac Motel in Lovelock, Nevada. Ask for room 6.

The kids and I headed out of SF on Thursday afternoon and made pretty good time. We didn't even stop for meals...we just kept on going. The kids were troopers (the DVD player helped) and we didn't have to make 8,000 stops for the bathroom. I knew we wanted to get farther then Reno (where we usually stay the night at Circus Circus) but wasn't sure if we could make it all the way to Elko. We got just outside of Reno and the kids started to loose it. I decided we would stay at the next big town, Lovelock. I called ahead and found that almost every room in town was booked (huh? there is nothing there.....) but a place called the Cadillac Inn had a room for $35. That should have been my first clue.

We pulled into the motel parking lot and saw 8 small buildings that were surrounding a small plot of land (more about that later). In the lobby, a 1,000 year old man checked us in. No computer, just filled out a piece of paper that had my license plate number on it. Names aren't important in a small town like Lovelock (whose theme is incidentally "lock your love in Lovelock".....does that make sense to anyone?). We walked toward the little room across the parking lot. On the way the owner pointed to the plot of land in the middle and informed me that it was the town's Chinese cemetery. He also told me that they had just celebrated "Ching Ming" (I'm not making fun, I swear that is exactly what he said) or Chinese Memorial Day. He also invited me to visit the Frank M. Chang museum of Chinese History, open 24 hours a day, in Room 2. (this intrigued me on so many levels...were people staying in Room 2 and you just said "excuse me, I wanted to see the museum" or did he sacrifice 1/8 of his income to dedicate the room to Mr. Chang? Intrigued, I tell you). I asked him why there were so many Chinese people in the town; had they come when the railroad was built?" Remember, this town is TINY and in the middle of nowhere. They have exactly one McDonald's, one bar and one gas station. TINY. It was hard to imagine anyone living there, let alone any kind of minority ethnic group. He told me that no, they hadn't come with the railroad, they were just always there. Hmmm. I am pretty sure that they weren't "always" there, what with it being in the middle of nowhere and all, but I can't imagine what else would have brought them to this town. In fact, I can't imagine what brought ANYONE to this town. I will need to do some more research on that one.

He handed me the key and by the time I had opened the door to the car, he was gone, the lights were off in the lobby and the sign on the door said closed. I pulled the kids out of the car and opened the door. That is when the special smell I described above hit me. I dry heaved, just a little bit. Well, a lot. I looked at Lauren and she looked at me and we bravely went in. I figured that the room had been closed up for awhile, so I opened all the windows and the door, I lit a few matches and sprayed perfume. I figured it would air out in a few minutes while I unloaded the car. I sniffed around the room and didn't find any wet patch of carpet or a place that was stronger then others (like, for instance, under the bed where there could be a decomposing body). I was hoping it was just a room that hadn't been opened for a few months.

I dropped the kids on the bed and unloaded. After 10 minutes, the smell was not getting much better. The only thing that had changed was that the room was much colder and there was a top note of smoke and a bottom note of perfume. By this time it was 11:00 pm, I was beat and the kids were zombies. I figured I would just put them to bed and we would all go to sleep--you can't smell in your sleep, right? If I sprayed enough perfume and lit enough matches, eventually the smell of perfumy smoke would overpower it, right? We all jumped into bed and turned the lights off. It got WORSE...is that possible? If you were very, very still it was tolerable, but if you moved your head at all you got a little bit of a whiff and the dry heaving started again. (Let me take a minute to tell you that I have been accused of having bat senses by my husband. I am what is called a "super smeller". I smell EVERYTHING even when others can't. Pregnancy was a treat). I was kind of hoping that it was just me that was so bothered. The kids didn't seem to be too bugged by it. I just tried to go to sleep.

After about 15 minutes Lauren poked me in the arm and said "mom, if you just put your nose under your shirt and smell your breath it isn't as bad". That was when I decided that we needed to go. Then next town was over an hour away and I was tired. What to do? I decided that instead of ending up like the last 12 minute of every horror movie ever made (surely there was a dead body in there somewhere) I decided to split. I dumped everything in the car and headed over to the office. The guy eventually opened (believe me...I was NOT leaving until I had talked to him). He acted like I had told him there was a three headed monkey living under the bed. "Smell? what? I didn't smell anything? No one else has complained." End result--he wouldn't give me my money back. Honestly. Rather then fight and possibly kill someone over 35$ (wouldn't THAT be a good Dateline?) I just left. We peeled out of town and left Lovelock in our rear view mirror. I truly hope people do more then lock their love in Lovelock. I hope they lock their smelly, disgusting motels with their history museums and dead people under the bed. Lets leave all that stuff in Lovelock, shall we?

Since it was over 100 miles to the next town I stopped at the gas station and bought a six pack of Coke (I needed the sugar AND the caffeine to keep me awake), a dozen Krispy Kreme's and headed across the desert. The good news is that you can drive as fast as you want in the desert at night (I didn't even let those crosses on the side of the road marking where previous drivers had died bother me). The kids were covered in donut glaze and crumbs by the time we got to Winnemucca and crawled into the first motel (a Holiday Inn Express, very nice--good breakfast). The lady on the desk felt so bad for me she gave me the government rate without me even asking for it. I tell you, show up at a hotel in the middle of the night with sticky, crying children and looking like hell warmed over and it can really save you some money! :-)

We eventually got to sleep; but not before Jacob fell off the bed twice, the people in the next room watched Letterman so loud they could hear it in Lovelock and Lauren cracked her head on the dresser. I was looking forward to a long sleep and felt certain that the kids would sleep in. I gave up on that notion at exactly 5:47 am the next day. How do my children live on such little sleep? We ate the free breakfast and headed out the door again.........

Stay tuned for part 2 (AKA "Just because you leave at the crack of dawn does NOT mean that you will arrive at your destination early")

18 comments:

wendysue said...

Oh my goodness Bek, that was only day 1???? This is going to be good. I just know it.

And I KNOW Chinese people, believe me, they were ALWAYS there.

Maybe the next post could include "I'm really not a professional blogger, but I DID stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. . ."

Tablogger said...

Becca, I don't know what is funnier - your actual story or the fact that probably most of us have had a similar experience at a similarly sketchy motel. As a result of too many such experiences growing up, I no longer stay at any place of lodging that is not either a well-known national brand or a place that someone else has personally recommended to me.

Once, when my brother and I were probably 8 and 10, we took a road trip with my grandparents, who were both notoriously frugal. When we stopped at "Matt's El Rancho Motel" near the California-Oregon border, that should have been a dead giveaway that we were in for a treat (why does someone named Matt who lives in the pine trees near the California-Oregon border decide to give his motel a Mexican name?). Sure enough, this was the kind of place where the roaches would scatter as you turned on the lights, making the floor or the bedspread or wherever else they might have been congregating just prior to your opening the door appear to shimmer for a moment as your eyes were adjusting to the light. My brother and I nicknamed it "El Roacho" after that.

Then, to make matters worse, a few months later, our whole family was making the same road trip and JUST as we passed the exit for "Matt's El Rancho Motel", Mark and I both said together, "Phew! It's a good thing we don't have to stay there for the night. That place is disgusting!" Not two minutes later, our youngest brother lost his entire meal all over the back seat, making the Suburban completely uninhabitable for the next 12 hours or so. And wouldn't you know - once we pulled off the road, the only place with any vacancy was....Matt's El Rancho.

Bek said...

Chris...that is the best story EVER!!!!! Which brother? Glad you are doing better BTW..I have been following the progress on your blog....

The one thing that I didn't actually see was roaches. I am sure they were guarding the dead body.

more caffeine, please said...

My favorite part of that story was your little girl telling you to put your shirt over your mouth and smell your own breath. Hilarious!

Bek said...

That is the part that is SO SAD to me. Why did I subject my kids to that? Seriously

Lyle said...

Talk about the makings for a book, followed by a movie. This story is truly a gem.

I can only imagine that the owner of the motel de muerte has been pulling this scam for years now.

Your kids were very resiliant in less than pleasant circumstances.

I can't wait to read more of the story.

Tracy M said...

Man. Oh man oh man oh man! I don't even know what to say, except that you made me laugh! I've driven (and riden a motorcyle) through Nevada- is there anywhere on earth more desolate?? I'm totally impressed that you made it to Winnemucca. And you know it's a sorry state of affairs when Winnemucca is a happy place to be! Can't wait to hear the rest!~

Bek said...

Tracy,

If I can make YOU laught this week, it is worth it. I know it stinks to be pregnant, but at least you aren't pregnant in THAT room,eh?

Come on baby......

compulsive writer said...

That is the best Mexican Train story I have ever heard. I love your sweet daughter--instead of complaining she's looking for solutions. Smart girl.

Can't wait for installment #2.

Tablogger said...

Becca,

In the first story, it was my brother Mark and I that came up with the more accurate moniker for the motel, and in the second, it was Carson (who was just a baby) who caused the mess in the back seat that required us to pull off the road...

I forwarded your story link to my mom, who I guess has not set up a Blogger account (I'll work on that), but in the mean time, she asked me to post this:

Rebecca, I am not sure you remember me, but I am "Tablogger's" mom -- - I have never successfully posted on a blog, but I just have to try - have just picked myself up from ROFL & feel impressed to tell 'the rest of the story' about what we refer to as "El Roacho" Motel from that memorable trip. It was a summer night, and the air did not cool after dark as it does in the Bay Area, so, since the room was not air conditioned, we had to leave the room's door open for ventilation - there was a screen door, but, unfortunately, the holes in it let in mosquitoes all night. Because we were trying to keep the little ones from fully waking up, we left the lights off and settled into the room in the dark, aided only by a 15-watt bulb turned on in the bathroom. The hotel was nice enough to provide a crib for the baby (Carson), but after I cleaned the mess off him and put him down, so we could unload the car, the crib frame gave way under the mattress and fell through to the floor, so my husband & I had to sleep in a double bed with him between us all night. Additionally, we had to pull the sheepskin carseat cover (the really thick nice kind! - we spared no expense in those days) off the baby's carseat and put it into the shower floor to clean the yuck off it - it was not until the next morning that we discovered the mold in the entire floor of the shower that was now added to the recycled chocolate-covered raisins on the sheepskin. Lastly, Chris fared best of all (although in modern times, we probably would have been arrested for what we did) -- since there was only one other double bed in the room (for Drew and Mark to sleep on), and since Chris was fully ten years old, we let him sleep on the mattress in the back of the Suburban with the windows rolled up to keep the mosquitoes off him. Of course, we had the door to our room open, and he was only ten feet away from us, so what was the big deal? As you can see, none of us has ever forgotten this experience, so expect to hear your story recounted in Lauren's blog one day.

La Yen said...

I am so unbelievably spoiled. I have stayed at one sketchy hotel and it was a palace compared to these. We finally went on our honeymoon 7, years after we were married, and planned out a trip to Disneyworld. We decided to save on hotels so we stayed in Kissimmee (motto: "We wish we were Reno") at a hotel that I had researched and looked nice--cont. breakfast, tram to the parks, nice.

1. It was next door to a freak museum. (Not on the website)
2. It had no pillows.
3. It had no alarm clock
4. The "tram" was the city bus.

We stayed there the first night because it was so late, and when W saw my face the next morning as I was trying to act brave (some of you have seen this face--it is not a very good simulation) he checked us out, went to the guest services on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom, and booked us into a Disney Property. I felt loved down to my toes.
Plus, Disney properties get access to Japanese tv, which is THE BEST.

Bek said...

Yeah for Waldo! He's a keeper.

Chris..thank your mom for that story. YOU WIN!!!! :-)

Julie said...

What a nightmare!!! You are a brave, brave woman. And, um...where's the pictures???

Queen Scarlett said...

I don't know where to start - you are brave on so many levels. Driving alone with 2 kiddies... at night... finding a hotel in a small town. I have this fear of small towns after X-files and the shrunken head episodes. I swear - there's something not quite right about people who live in those lonely little places.

The escape from deadman's crossing was ... phenomenal. Boy - great story... but I don't think I'd ever do that for the story... Bravo to you for making it out alive. Did you take a hot shower after all that? I totally need one after reading that misadventure. ;-) UGH. I can just feel the nastiness.

Bek said...

Queen,

I was too tired to take a shower that night...but when we got back in the car the next day we could still smell it a little...

As for traveling alone, I would have said the same thing a few months ago but my kids are in that perfect age right now. I would'nt have done it 6 months ago and won't do it 6 months from now. Jacob is old enough to be entertained by the DVD player, but young enough to not care what is on (allowing bossy boots Lauren to be in charge) and is still in diapers. Lauren is old enough to get things for him (sippy, toys) and can hold off for potty stops. It was a fluke, really.

I also hadn't been home for almost a year. :-)

Azúcar said...

I've stayed in those places and you are truly a great mom. My parents would have said, "Well, breathe through your mouth then."

LuckyRedHen said...

Carina - but then you'd be EATING the smell instead of smelling it.

When I stayed in Winnemucca I ate my first bovine tongue.

Needless to say I haven't had it since but, oh, the memories of Winnemucca.

Ana said...

People always talk about California falling off the continent into the ocean, but if God is just He will take Nevada instead and just smush California up against Utah. Then it would only take us a few hours to get there. Don't you think it's a good idea?

You are one brave mommy. I'm glad you made it through with your olfactory powers unscathed (though offended)!