I was an 8-year old kid from Louisiana at the time experiencing the trip of a lifetime. I struggled to stay awake in the backseat of the truck as I had been traveling for about 12 hours from New Mexico to Wyoming. We were just getting ready to check in at a motel in Rawlins. I noticed we passed a Super 8 across the street, wondering why we did not just go there. However, Dad did not believe in indoor motels because he wanted to see his truck from the room. After all, he was from the suburbs of New Orleans, one of the most crime-ridden cities in America. Dad pulled into the parking lot of a small green motel. I glanced at the tall sign towering above us – “The Jade Lodge” it said. I was dubious of the quality of this motel, because it seemed rather old and junky.
“This looks interesting,” commented Dad, “I like motels with character.”
Mom left the truck to check in. When she arrived back in the truck about ten minutes later, she explained that the owners had locked her in the curry-reeking lobby, saying they wanted to keep her safe in the dangerous town. From what she explained, I ascertained that the owners of the Jade were not very friendly. Our family was exhausted, so we piled into our room. Mom and Dad were aghast to find the sheets grimy and unwashed, the towels dirty, and worst of all, the television had a giant hole in it.
Dismayed, we left the motel. Mom and Dad seemed nervous as though the proprietors would be angry that we had not paid for the room. I was frightened as we quickly piled into the truck. To this day, I recall nervously pacing on the big yellow French fries. Anyway, we left the Jade and stayed the night in an upstairs room of the Super 8.
My father is famous for his traveling styles. Long days and short nights are a staple of our vacations. We also frequent motel chains but for some reason, Dad enjoys trying out motels with “character” like the Jade. Of course, we have had much better experiences with independently owned motels, like when we stayed at the Mini Golden Inns in Hungry Horse, Montana. The sign for the establishment reads, “Squeaky clean”! It is true. The rooms at the Mini Golden Inns are spacious, pretty, and wonderful. It is my favorite motel and I have stayed in many. I have been traveling around the country since before I was born.
Once we were checking out a hotel for my grandparent’s upcoming visit. The man at the desk of the establishment told us, “It’s the best motel you’ve ever been in!”
Of course, Dad had to object and say that it probably was not as nice as the Mini Golden Inns. “Ohhhh, our motel is even better than that motel!” guaranteed the man. He was wrong.
Dad’s motel picking styles have brought excitement, disgust, and interest into our lives. Sometimes he hits the jackpot, and sometimes he hits the Jade.