Sharing THE Five Worst Motel Experiences - EVER
THIS IS A RUN-DOWN MOTEL
MOTEL DESK CLERKS - -BAD AND GOOD
A couple of valuable things I have learned on HubPages in the nine-months I've been here are: A. Hubs do not have to be long to be interesting. Or fun to read. And B. Hubs are like fishing for prize Bass in a big-money tournament. Sometimes you have to wait until the right one comes along. And this is one that I waited on.
Actually there isn't that much of a set-up to this hub. I, like you and your family, have travelled our interstates and back roads on business or family vacations over the years and to be honest, we haven't had a one-hundred percent "perfect" track record of experiences with the various motel chains and the desk clerks who work for them. I never expected to have a totally-good time, every time my family and I hit the open road. I try to live my life with two eyes open. I am proud to be a realist.
From 1977, until 1990, my family (then) consisted of a wife who loved to travel and a daughter who was content to just be anywhere. Together we had our share of yearly family vacations that, in aggravation and unwanted stress terms, would rival that of the Griswald Family of the National Lampoon's "Vacation," films starring Chevy Chase. But we survived. Don't ask why. We just did.
NOTICE: the events, places, and names (then) of the motels mentioned in this hub are real. The desk clerks were real (I think). The towns were real. No names of any motel employee is used that might bring (some) of these rude and non-caring desk clerks' existing relatives any embarrassment.
My "Five Worse Motel Experiences --Ever," saga begins with number five and ends with number one being THE OVERALL, WORST, HORRIFIC, BLUE-RIBBON-LOSING, NIGHTMARE OF A MOTEL EXPERIENCE EVER ENDURED BY A HUMAN BEING.
#5. TUPELO, MISSISSIPPI - 1982. "The Holiday Inn," formerly in business on Gloster Street.
Motel signs can be deceiving. Remember that. One Saturday morning my wife, a trusting soul, said, "Hey, let's spend the night in Tupelo. I want to get out of the house." Would-be famous last words. We packed for an overnight stay. Rode to Tupelo, Mississippi, birthplace of Elvis Presley. The wife led us to Gloster Street where a beautiful-looking motel stood beckoning us to stop and stay the night. Fool like, we did. The room rate was steep, but then again, what wasn't steep in 1982? We carried our minimal amount of luggage to the room. It was now late evening. Near dark. Upon entering our room, the first thought I shared with the family was, "What is this, a nursing home?" The walls were barely covered in tiles from the 50's. The bathroom was mostly-antique fixtures. And the bathtub had a rubber stopper to keep your bathwater from oozing out. The room smelled of ammonia. I thought that was a good thing. Until I spotted human blood on the wall in our closet. I began to rant and rave. My wife, a trusting soul, said for us make the best of it. To be honest, we endured the worst of it. I would have left but a sign on the inside of the door said, "No refunds for rooms." Rooms? Why didn't they be honest and say,"mousetraps?"
#4. ATHENS, ALABAMA - 1984. "The Family Paradise," on main street.
Athens State College in Athens, Alabama, hosts The Mid-South Fiddlers and Bluegrass Convention the first weekend of every October. My wife loved this style of event. And the music. In "this disaster," she begged me to take her dad, mom and little brother with us to this all-American event. I gave in with little resistance. After a day or two of fiddles and banjos, it was time to head home, but it was early Saturday evening and again, my wife, asked if we all could stay overnight in Athens and head for home on Sunday. "Of course," I said in my finest David Niven voice. There it stood. Quaint. Peaceful. Restful. "Motel Hell." After paying (through the nose), we retired to our rooms, or rather "holding cells," for the night. No sooner than my wife, daughter and I had settled in, my daughter said, "Daddy, what is this thing?" holding up a discarded condom she had found near the bed. I didn't bother explaining the facts of life to an eight-year-old girl, so I said, "Hey, the, uhhh, 'Room Fairies,' left their magic vacuum cleaner," I will toss it in the trash. Upon more inspection, both rooms for my wife, daughter and her family must have been used for torture of animals. We found blood and dog hair in one bed. A broken knife underneath the bed. I had to tell the desk clerk. And I did. Tell this "person" over and over. The dazed look on his face should have tipped me off. "Solly, no speakie, Engwish," but funny, when he told us the cost, "One-hundred thirty-five dollars and sixty-cents, and here. Free road map as a courtesy," he said earlier. Mark another nightmare motel off of my list.
#3. CEDAR GROVE, GEORGIA - 1986. "The KOA Campground/Motel Oasis," just off Interstate 85.
When you travel with your family on vacations, if you don't plan ahead, you have two strikes again you when you leave home. My wife, a trusting soul, is, or was, a free spirit in this time frame. She stated he hated schedules. Plans. And for us to, "just go. Ride like the wind and see the country." I obliged like a good husband. It was on a Saturday evening. We were all three exhausted. My wife was asleep in the passenger side of our car. My daughter was "into" her Walkman. Remember those? With no one to stop me, I fell prey to the KOA sign that loomed brightly in the darkness ahead. I was amazed at how cheap the "room" was. Actually, I had been hood-winked. It was a camping space. But we had no tent. Just a few sheets and a quilt in our car for our daughter to sleep under when we traveled. We were all tired. And now concerned. The owner of this place was retired from the United States Air Force. He loved to talk. And drink Schlitz beer. One after the other. He made himself at home, dressed in tee-shirt, jeans and slip-on house shoes, with Schlitz in hand, sitting on the picnic table near our "camp" and talked non-stop for hours about the morals in our country. His love of guns. And how we should be careful of thieves who could just, as he put it, "drive in" to this place. "Don't worry none," he said with speech slurred by many Schlitz, "I'll handle 'em. I got enough guns in that office to hold off an Indian raid party." Man, was I ever relieved. "Oh, another thing," he said when he finally left. "Had to run-off some people way over that way last week for having a nude wife and husband swap party," with that. We all fell asleep. Except me. I never thought that rising before dawn to pack the car to leave was this much fun.
#2. ATLANTA, GEORGIA - 1988. "The Uptown Essex House," formerly in business on Peach Tree Street.
"Rooms here!" " Vacancy." Are words that are more like answers to prayers to vacationing people with little or no funds. I should know. My boss in the newspaper business talked my family and I into going to Atlanta one weekend. Not with him. Gosh, what do you take me for? But with my wife and daughter. We left home in Hamilton, Alabama with $125.00 cash. A change of clothes. And thank God, a coffee pot and coffee that my wife had packed. Said she had a premonition. I respect that. The "Uptown Essex House" was huge. 25-stories tall. People coming and going like mice. Dressed-up salesmen. Dressed-down "business women," and three Alabama rubes. Us. The cost of the room left us with $24.00. To eat dinner and gas-up for going home on Sunday afternoon. Well, a massive thunderstorm hit us that night while in the room. The building swayed back and forth from the gale-like winds. Rain hit the windows like BB's from an air rifle. My daughter was "into" teen romantic shows on television. I was getting hungry. "Sorry," my wife said. "That money is for gas tomorrow." Between the no sleeping for the all-night storm front. Ants we found in the kitchen area of the room. A desk clerk who was rude in telling us that "no one allowed in the snack area after 8:45 p.m." as he spied me at somewhere near 8:30 with a bag of Suntime potato chips, two Baby Ruth candy bars and Twinkie. "Problem," I asked. The jerk just stood huffing like a puff adder. That's a snake found in rural Alabama. Harmless. Just noise. He finally rolled his blood-shot eyes and walked away. The jerk of a desk clerk, not the puff adder. The snacks were fine. The trip home was even better. And no more "Uptown Essex House," in our future.
#1. NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - 1989. "The Colonial Family Inn," now formerly in business on Briley Parkway near Opryland.
The "number one WORST MOTEL EXPERIENCE EVER," goes to this "dump," and I am being generous here, called "The Colonial Family Inn," which looked great on the billboard outside of Opryland heading south. My wife, daughter, her brother and his best buddy, had made a day of it at Opryland. Remember that place? We rode the rides. Ate the popcorn. Now it was time to head home. And this was in late early September. I remember for the water was like ice on the water slide log ride. We pulled up to this "motel," of sorts. A sure-fire tip that a rough time lay ahead was there were no cars but ours in the parking lot. A neon sign flashing, "Hot Coffee," illuminated the motel office. My wife's brother and I went to check-in and check out this place that honestly resembled where leper colonies were kept in Tahiti. An old, rude, gent, obviously the owner, saw us and said, "Help ye?" "We'd like a room, please," we said. "Well, now, uhh, (cough, cough), let me see if I have one. . .hmmm, (cough), yep. One on the lower floor. Will that 'un work?" We nodded yes. FACT: this place only had ONE floor. The ground floor. We paid the charges. "Mind if we check out your restaurant? That fresh coffee sounds great," I remember saying as a way to be friendly. "Hey, you gest wait a minute! You can't go in thar! That place's been shut down since 1961!" he growled--looking intimidating through his Coke bottle glasses. "Why is the sign working? And the tables set for customers?" I asked. "You, uh, (cough, cough) gest' have a good night," he mumbled. Okay. The room. This is what we bought. A room with one bed. Our daughter was to sleep with us. My wife's brother and his buddy were to sleep on the floor. That was the plan. Until . . .we did some checking. The mattress had in black letters, "Property of The Tennessee Penitentiary," the 50's model window-model air conditioner was duct-tapped into the window. The bathroom was a place used for shooting drugs for the bloody syringes in the floor. And outside our only window, the shabby-looking trees were full of men's and women's underwear. And the ground covered in whiskey bottles. I mean. This place was so bad, not even the local prostitutes were visible for a night of pleasure.
Not many years from this time, I surrendered my life to Christ. If Hell is anything like "The Colonial Family Inn," I do not want to go there.
Hit it Roy. "Happy trails to you--until we meet again."