Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Camp Tales X: The Bates Motel

Bailing the Campsite and Headed for the Bates Motel

As you remember, we bailed on night two at Pearl Lake, CO, after 6 nights of ceaseless rain.

Leave it to me, to find the only Bates Motel in Steamboat.

I shit you not, we walk into the dimly-lit lobby with shag carpet to find an old German dude playing the accordian. We stand there for a moment, wet, shivering and dumbfounded, listening to him wrap up his beer polka medley.

"Do you have a room available?" we ask, noting that there was only one car parked out front next to a semi: good new or bad news, you decide.

"Yah," he responds reminding me of Chef on the Muppets.

Let me tell ya. When you're cold, soaked, stinky, thirsty and bone-ass tired after 6nights on the road of rain, any oasis in a storm looks inviting.

Even the Bates Motel.

Entering the room was like, "The 70's called. They want their Jiffy Pop and Tang back."

Brown, laminated tables in triangular shapes, modeled after the Apollo-craze of the late 60's when everything had to have that "space age" look were featured throughout the room along with pictures of the surf, which was a little odd coming from Colorado, home of the Mighty Rockies, a thousand miles from the nearest beach. But I thought "Meh, (shrug)" as I pulled the scary bedspread with several unidentifiable stains off my mattress.

Dooder, not caring about the arresting stains on her comforter, looking remarkably like blood, collapsed in a heap on top of her bed.

"I need a drink! Something to warm me up, not beer," I announced, looking in the mirror at my hair that hadn't been washed in 7 days.

Dooder only mumbled incoherantly, her face buried in a pillow.

After noticing a large, slightly appalling stain on the carpeting (blood from a hatchet murder?), I decided to leave my socks on for the duration to avoid impending plantars' warts and unnecessary trips to the podiatrist to have them removed. Following a quick check of the mattress for bed bugs (plastic liners on the mattress and box springs, check!), I sighed in relief.

"I REALLY need a stiff drink," I remarked again. Dooder only moaned a little but didn't budge. "Well, I'm off down the street for a shot of brandy, but I'll be right back," I said cheerfully pulling on my raincoat.

Steamboat Springs has to be the only town I've ever been to that doesn't have a dive bar, biker bar, or career tavern in town. I had to settle on a rather upscale bistro and deal with the look of disdain the host shot me after realizing my knee-length army cammo coat, a black Air Force cap, crocks and muddy workout shorts was probably considered alarming attire and slightly Columbine-Incident-looking, now that I think about it.

I headed for the bar anyway.

"Can I help you?" the bartender asked while two gay men suspiciously eyed me as if I wiped a booger on their list wine list.

"Brandy. Neat. Two-fingers in a snifter," I reply. My feet ache. My head aches. My hair smells like mildew.

"Christian Brothers?"

I smile and nod approvingly as this brandy is rot-gut, so it will be cheap. Maybe I can have two brandies, I think dreamily, imagining a good night's sleep afterwards at the Bates Motel.

He set BARELY ONE shot of watered down brandy in a tiny snifter in front of me and said, "Ten bucks," quite shamelessly.

"Ten bucks?" I sputter, thinking I didn't hear him correctly.

"Ten bucks." Shocked beyond belief, I threw it down the old windpipe.

I imagined having him flogged THEN set afire after being shackled and put in a stockade. Ten bucks! I feel indignant.

"That's hardly a two-finger shot. I want my money back."

"But you drank it already," the bartender laconically remarked.


The gay men shoot me a look like, "The mission's just up the street, loser." Yet I consider buying another one until I realize that would buy me THREE bottles of brandy in any moderately priced liquor store. Then I realize I only have 53 cents left.

Leaving a dime for a tip and I'm sure sarcastic fodder for the two gays' conversation after I left, I stormed out of there, ready for a hot shower at the Bates.

Didn't I leave some advice on an earlier Camp Tale where I warn cautiously to always bring a flask of brandy on camping trips?

It appears I didn't follow my own advice this trip, sigh. But all's well that ends well. Norman Bates didn't knock on our door, and to my knowledge, we didn't trail home any bedbugs. Ah, it's good to be back!

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