Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Worst Western and Stuck Cars

(Note: New banner is up, if you’re reading this in August 2007. Force a refresh if you don’t see it.)

After Ben’s fun morning, we drove to Vega, Texas and checked into our motel — a Best Western so surprisingly dilapidated that we’ve affectionately come to know it as the “Worst Western.” Peeling paint was apparent as we pulled into the parking lot. When I walked into the lobby, a strong, unidentifiable odor almost pushed me right back out the door. I somehow kept from gagging while the lady confirmed our room and issued our card keys. A very unhappy baby wailed from behind a temporary room partition.

Our room smelled of French whore, but we quickly grew accustomed to it. It was nicely apportioned with a waist-high refrigerator, hair dryer, late model TV, free wireless Internet access, and coffeemaker.

First impressions are not always the most accurate. Deeming what we saw as acceptable for just passing through, however, we headed off to a sight we wanted to see before sleeping another night.

I’m kind of like Michael in that movie Michael — if I’m going to be near some freaky roadside attraction, then I want to go see it. World’s Largest Ball of Twine? I’m there.

A bunch of vintage Cadillacs stuck halfway in the ground? All over it.

Using the word “art” to describe Cadillac Ranch makes many scoff.

The 10 Cadillacs, moved in 1997 to accommodate Amarillo’s urban sprawl, are planted front-first into a dusty field adjacent to Interstate 40. They didn’t inspire me to write much here, but if you’re ever passing through Amarillo, it’s a decent way to spend about 10 or 15 minutes. The walk from the side of the road is nearly a quarter of a mile, so you might spend more time walking than checking out the cars. And, really, it won’t leave many wanting for more.

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Shannon picks up somebody’s leftover spray paint.

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Another panorama made possible by Autostitch.

Sunday morning, having slept off the Krylon-induced Cadillac stupor, I went to fetch Continental breakfast (carb lovers unite!) like I usually do when we stay in a place that provides it. The partition now gone, this was about the location of that crying baby from the night before. I loaded up the tray from our room with muffins, milk, and a honey bun of reward for me. I even doctored up a cup of decaf.

As I walked past the lobby, the lady at the counter said, “I’m sorry, sir, we don’t allow to take food back to the room.”

“Really?” I asked.

“When guests take food back to rooms it can get very messy, and I don’t want to deal with that.”

Remember, these rooms have a refrigerator and a coffee maker. This seems to encourage food in the rooms. I didn’t think of that at the time, of course, so I just walked back, set down the tray, and walked back to the room to get Ben. Shannon, still in the shower, said she couldn’t go.

Back in the breakfast room, an older couple sat a couple tables over from Ben and me. I knew they were British by the few words they grunted back and forth in deciding whether they would eat Raisin Bran or muffins, Sunny Delite or milk. Nope, not orange juice — just good ol’ Sunny D. This place had class.

Two large, furry dogs on leashes walked into the room and sniffed the back of Ben’s neck. He turned to look. A lady, presumably their owner, tried to control both animals with one hand while opening the muffin case with the other. She noticed Ben’s interest. “Oh, he can pet them if he wants,” she said.

“Not while he’s eating, but thanks,” I said.

Sure glad I didn’t take my food back to my room. My son would have missed the chance to pet a stranger’s dogs.

After she and her canine pals walked out to let them christen a grassy area, the British lady muttered, “Strange.”

The front desk woman stepped into the room. “Did she just bring her dogs in the lobby?”

“Yes, and in here,” I said.

“Sorry about that,” she said.

Yeah. Great. Thanks.

Next up (and with a welcome finality): The second biggest canyon in the United States.

7 Responses to Worst Western and Stuck Cars

  1. “Sunday morning, having slept off the Krylon-induced Cadillac stupor, I went to fetch Continental breakfast ”

    A Cadillac/Continental kinda freudian slip? *LOL*

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  2. We stopped to see the Cadillac Ranch during our cross country trip back in 1985. It looked much different; I don’t remember any graffiti on the cars.

    I’ll have to dig that photo out to be sure.

    I hate it when I don’t think of the comeback until after the fact. Oh, and troublemaker that I am, I would have continued walking with the tray if I was checking out that day.

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  3. Mark, you had me at “French wh0re”.

    (I had to spell that with a zero since my work filters don’t like that word and won’t let me post it. Fu@kers.)

    When you first mentioned the cadillacs I thought you were talking about Carhenge, the vehicular reconstruction of Stonehenge. I’ve seen it on the fancy TV. Even though it wasn’t that, I’m sure it was a pleasant quarter mile walk.

    Ah, Sunny D! The world’s bestest edible oil product! Served up with a side of shaggy dog in the hotel lobby, and you have yourself one memorable continental breakfast. Fun!

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  4. PS — is this month’s banner the vew from inside the Worst Western hotel room? That’s my guess.

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  5. Dave – Nice catch! I didn’t notice it, but I like it.

    The King – They periodically paint them white to give folks a clean slate. I can’t remember from my research when they started allowing (and then encouraging) the graffiti.

    Simon – I would like to see Carhenge. I can’t remember where it is.

    The banner is the view from my parents’ formal living room (that room is like a step back in time, especially now that it features that spinning wheel.) I shot it at Christmas last year or so.

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  6. I don’t know Mark, French Whore might be a bit hard to take at first…but once you get used to it, not only do you not mind it…you find yourself craving it, dreaming about it, contemplating boarding a plane to troll the dank backstreets of Paris in a quest for it. But, maybe that’s just me.

    I stayed at a Best Western on my way west once and it was pretty deplorable as well. I didn’t have to share my donut with the owner’s dog…but I drove away highly unimpressed. I’m getting the sense that maybe Best isnt’ all that good once it’s in the west. If so…odd they chose to permanantly link the two words in their title.

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  7. MG – I’ve never met a French whore. They could be perfectly lovely. I also didn’t think of this post being blocked because of that word. Sorry, Simon. Oops.

    There’s a definite pattern developing with the BW’s. Any I’ve stayed in east of Texas were fine.

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