Sunday, April 06, 2014

Bad postcard of the week: Guys like to stay in risky motels

Occasionally my work offers the opportunity to stay in some really nice hotels  – like last year’s overnight visit to the Essex House overlooking Central Park.

And, when I go places with my baseball buddies, we tend to stay in the cheapest places possible.

We are guys. We would rather spend our money on food at the ballpark. And we are not adverse to a limited amount of risk and adventure.

I thought about one of our riskiest stays when I saw this week’s bad postcard. We’re headed to Kansas and the 50 Motel, which boasts of cable TV and electric heat.

Actually, there’s more. The back reads: “50-Motel, West Highway 50-Emporia, Kansas, Phone DI 2-7587 – Joe and Jo Ann Lapping, Emporia’s finest motel units, featuring individually controlled flameless electric conditioning. T.V., phones, sound proof, American Express, free coffee. Conveniently located ½ mile east of Kansas Turnpike entrance on Highway 50.

I’m not sure what featuring individually controlled flameless electric conditioning is. But I’m glad they didn't boast about big, fluffy pillows. Or, about snazzy décor, unless you like cinder blocks and paneling.

Still, it’s nicer than a place we stayed in once.

We were headed from Cleveland to Detroit for one of our glorious executive games. The four of us opted to spend the night in Maumee, which is just outside of Toledo and the then-home of the Mud Hens.

Being guys on a baseball road trip and our stop unexpected, we opted for the cheapest place possible.

Now, my version of the cheapest place possible actually means the cheapest Hampton Inn or similar chain with a breakfast bar that includes a waffle maker. And splitting a room four ways makes that somewhat reasonable. Plus, you get waffles in the morning.

My companions disagreed. For one thing, we’d need two rooms. And another, they had lower standards.


We ended up in a chain famous for being inexpensive.

We walked into the office area and discovered the clerk sitting behind the kind of thick bulletproof glass you see in gas stations in dangerous neighborhoods. I've never seen something like that in a Red Roof Inn, much less the Essex House.

“Our car is safe here?” I asked my buddy. What I really meant was, “Are we safe here?”

I know I slept with one eye open, possibly both of them. Every voice or footstep in the corridor brought fear and a reminder that there would be no waffles – should we survive the night.

We did survive, of course. But I walked out into the corridor in the morning and there on the white wall appeared to be a splash of red liquid that wasn't there the day before.

Now, it could have been paint, or ink, or nail polish or something like that.  But I don’t think so. 

I was never so glad to check out.

So while the long-gone 50 Motel had flat pillows, I see no blood or chalk outlines or police tape. We stayed in worse.

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