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April Tour/Road Trip 2015 – Route 66 and Highway 70 USA

Kansas City, Missouri

I left a place I have been reluctant to call my home, regardless of how long and often I have lived there and the fact that my driver’s license is from The State of Kansas.  My reluctance is not based on any kind of hatred, rather a sense of home being a place and situation I probably haven’t exactly encountered yet.  I feel as though all of the ingredients are here and there, mostly- though they are all displaced, and my difficulty in life right now is gathering all of the elements that make me feel at home and planting my metaphorical flag somewhere.  I like Kansas City, and Lenexa on the Kansas side- though I also like driving through Columbia, Missouri to and from St. Louis, where I also lived for many years.  I grew to love the place, regardless of all of the hatred it can seem to cultivate in it’s culture.

Like so many times that I have packed my car up with musical equipment, changes of clothes, toiletries, and portable entertainment; I did so tenfold to be gone for a much longer tour than my usual week long getaway.  I was going to be gone from the Midwest for a month, bound for California via Route 66- and coming back via Highway 70.  It felt liberating and adventurous to be headed in an unusual direction- towards Oklahoma City from Lenexa, Kansas.  I was looking forward to seeing my friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-ex-turned-friend again; a young lady named Annie.  I hadn’t seen her in a while, and I wondered if and how she and I had changed.  I wondered if we would still get along as well as ever.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

I made it past the Oklahoma border, traveling in from Kansas on my way to California from Route 66.  I pulled off the road to sit at a diner-style table, conveniently near a power input for my Samsung Galaxy Avant, which had been my navigator , DJ, camera, and communicator. It is really an amazing device, except for the fact that the battery does not last for very long when you’re going on ten and fifteen hour drives across the continental USA.  Soon enough, however, the mobile supercomputer would be fully charged again, and so would I.

Among the patrons of the Love’s Travel Stop (which was complete with a built in Subway sandwich shop and Chester’s chicken stand) were a Vietnam veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division and his daughter.  Behind them were two polo shirt-wearing company men, taking a late and long lunch break. Behind them was a man in a NASCAR/Miller Lite hat browsing prospects on a dating website from his iPhone.  In and out of the Love’s were a perfectly variable assortment of American souls, mostly paying for gasoline and sodas.  The coffee drinkers all hit their sexually respective lavatories before immediately getting more coffee afterwards.  They all looked almost completely awake, and I imagine I must have looked to be in a similar state, only smiling for having left a certain kind of cloudy, stingily rainy day in Kansas earlier that morning for gorgeous weather in Oklahoma.  At least in Kansas, there was good coffee.  Wherever I was in Oklahoma, the coffee was best left to those who were not spoiled by espresso machines and the youngsters who take them so seriously and operate them with such pride and expertise. The burned Bunn-o-Matic coffee from seven hours ago belonged only to those desperate enough to drink it.  I would have rather had motel in-room coffee, weak and fresh.

By 1:51 PM my mobile was up to 46%.  The vietnam vet and his daughter departed much sooner than the company men for some place called “das,” an acronym and logo in all lower-case lettering to capture my attention by conflicting with my intellect, which worked as you can tell.  A father and his son sat down to two 6” sub sandwich meals from Subway, enjoying two kids of Lay’s Barbecue potato chips (standard and kettle-cooked).  A middle-aged couple occupied the booth abandoned by the Vietnam Vet and his daughter.  I got up when my phone was fully charged to use the bathroom and refill a soda that would not have been legal to have in New York City for it’s massive size.

As I approached Oklahoma City, I sent a text message to Annie, letting her know I would be at her house in a few minutes.  She told me that she shared the place with a minimum of six other people- all very nice and friendly folks who I should feel perfectly fine introducing myself to in spite of her absence, if I was comfortable enough to do so.  She expected to be home from work within a few minutes, and I took her at her word because I forgot about what a terrible liar Annie can be about such things.  The way I forget has partly to do with her not meaning to lie, and me conveniently forgetting negative attributes of people that I am fond of, only to be reminded of them when all of their worst traits recur.

As I walked up the front yard, past the sculptures and empty cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, I met three of Annie’s roommates on the front porch.  I could not tell if the front window of the house was open, broken, or taken out- though it’s important to mention that there was a big hole in the house behind the bench me and Annie’s roomies were sitting on.  I sat on the porch with three of them; Blake, Garrett, and Sarah Beth, discussing the music scene in Oklahoma City while listening to a Ramblin’ Jack Elliot record, then another by the same guy, followed by an original “Velvet Underground and Nico” record, of which the disc was in great shape- despite the jacket being pretty well beat up and stripped of it’s banana peel.  Everything we spun on the old turntable sounded amazing through a vintage tube amp and big, heavy, old speakers.  The sound system made it seem like while we sat on the porch talking, the greatest living room concert ever was taking place right behind us.

There was still no sign of Annie as I heard Lou and company do “I’m Waiting For The Man.”  Annie appearing to Nico singing “Femme Fatale” would have been too good to be true, even though it seemed for a moment that it might happen.  That, for me, would have been far better than seeing Gwyneth Paltrow walking in slow motion to Nico singing Jackson Browne’s “These Days” in the Wes Anderson movie called “The Royal Tenenbaums.”  I enjoyed that moment of waiting so much, sitting in a beautifully weathered day turning into a gorgeous evening, bonding with new friends over old music, and waiting for Annie to appear, not having aged a day- though being more confidently her amazing self than I had ever seen.

Annie has always been Annie, though when she did appear, she made it clear throughout the evening that she has never been so boldly and blatantly in her own persona, which made her seem more beautiful to me than she ever did, even years ago when we were dating and much younger.  I thought as I sat in that moment waiting for Annie to show up, that I could wait there forever- and knowing Annie… I thought for a moment or two that I just might have to.  I sent her another text message, asking her whereabouts- and she replied instantly that she’d be home in about forty-five minutes.  As soon as I read that message, I remembered that she’s never accurately predicted her estimated time of arrival in the ten years or more I’ve known her.

Annie showed up almost two hours later than her “see you in 45 minutes” text message implied, though she was a sight for sore eyes when she did appear, even though she was still dressed in her work uniform- a blue polo and khakis she wore to her gardening gig, which were nowhere near as flattering as this pink-orange-red dress that she promptly changed into.  From that moment onward, she was barefoot too.  We sat on the front porch with Sarah Beth, who eventually pulled the “I promise I’m not leaving” bit the very moment she snuck away drunkenly into the night.  Once Annie re-joined us from the inside of the house wearing nothing besides that orange dress, Sarah Beth started slurring and praising Annie’s beauty with a gusto that only started to embarrass and annoy Annie.  As Sarah Beth got more wasted, she annoyed Annie with more bite and expertise.

Blake had left for a hip part of town known as “The Paseo” in Oklahoma City, after describing the intricacies of the city’s music scene to me.  I saw him sleeping in the couch adjacent to me when I woke up the morning after, and I left him there before we could talk more about music, which I wanted to- though I couldn’t stay in Oklahoma for as long as it was going to take him to wake up.  He slept with his head on the middle of the couch, and his legs dangling off of the left side of it- his Converse All-Stars still tied tightly onto his feet.  He only moved a little bit on occasion, and was mostly silent.

Back on the porch the night before, though- we were all about to head into the back yard.

“You have inspired me to light a bonfire,” Annie said to me.

I followed her through an old, dusty house- decorated with artwork and street curb furniture.  It was the kind of house that seemed like it had been occupied by various collectives of seven drunken art school dropouts since it’s building in the 1940s.  Houses like these pop up among friends of mine every so often- and we often call them “Trainspotting Houses” or “Terrorist Training Camps,” as they seem like they are places where people would be zonked out on heroin or learning how to attack people, apparently because of some deep envy of freedom which has bred hatred within them.  The house was complete with mostly functional toilets, old books and video games, stacks of records, and that perfect kind of cleanliness that is neither spotless or disgusting.  The house smelled musty, though not bad.

In the back yard was parked Sarah Beth’s old, gutted school bus, which she excitedly showed off- barren as it was internally.

“How cool is THIS!?” she asked as she pointed out the various areas of the bus, “I bet you didn’t expect to see a school bus in the back yard.  This is going to be my house!”

After Sarah Beth showed me each area of her bus-house, and what they some day would be (bedroom, kitchen, et cetera) we caught up to Annie, who was bailing water out of the fire pit in the back yard with two buckets.  I had a moment to myself, looking at the girl in the orange dress bailing water out of a hole she was knee-deep in with my own feet firmly planted within a gutted school bus, and I started feeling even more of what I now think of as “The Magic of Oklahoma.” When Garrett and I started to help Annie, Sarah Beth began to heckle Annie again- getting on her nerves in a way that really became bothersome for Annie.

“Annie, you’re so amazing!  Look at how you’ve got these MEN working for you!” and so on, and so fourth.  Before I would have believed it had I not been there, Annie had as fire blazing where a small pond existed only a moment before.  She and the other smokers rolled their own fat American Spirit tobacco cigarettes, relighting them repeatedly.  I forgot how late Annie will keep me up.  She had to work at 8:00 AM, and still- after a long time talking and maintaining the fire, we hugged goodnight a little after 3:00 AM.  I’d forgotten completely about the show I did at the Blue Door, how well-attended and successful it was, and all of that other stuff.  I felt like the real reason I was stopping in Oklahoma wasn’t even to break up the driving or to stay a night in some motel- it was purely to build a fire with Annie, who is every bit adorable as she is original.  I’m glad she and I are still friends, and I am even more glad that neither of us are exactly the same nor completely different from who we used to be.

Before we hugged goodnight, Annie told me we could get coffee at The Red Cup at 7:00 AM before she had to go to work at 8:00 AM.  I told her to wake me if I was still sleeping when she was getting ready to go.  I awoke at 7:15 AM and sent Annie a text message asking what the new plan was.  She told me she was going to sleep in and go to work late. Forty minutes later, I was still the only one awake, writing and waiting on my mobile to recharge to capacity before starting a nearly-nine hour drive to my old friend Tim’s house in New Mexico, near Santa Fe.

I left Annie’s house in Oklahoma City for Santa Fe, New Mexico where Tim lives.  By Friday night, I needed to be in San Diego for my brother Joe’s bachelor party weekend- which was to kick off with a Padres vs Giants baseball game.  I also heard from my best West Coast Representative that a meeting was being set up between him and John Denver’s former record producer to discuss us all working together in Nashville on several recording projects.

Annie and I stayed up late together, and she gave me her version of a speech I never get tired of, the one that boils down to someone I care about telling me that I’m welcome to visit any time and stay as long as I want or need to.  Even for as many of my friends that have given me their own version of that speech, I am always genuinely touched by the kind and open invitation.  I felt as though I could have stayed there with Annie in Oklahoma City for a much longer time, and would have liked to, though I realized when the sun came up that it would behoove me to get moving- so to get to New Mexico and then California on time.  Annie had told me that there was a troupe of wrestlers in town who were going to do a match all dressed as 1980s television characters.  She didn’t divulge too many details when I asked her about it later- just enough to make me upset that I could not stay any longer than I did.  I know that it is better that I did leave, though, because now when I think of Annie- I will think of her in a much more recent and timeless way, wearing that orange-pink dress, constantly relighting her self-rolled cigarettes, illuminated by the dancing flames of a bonfire, and wearing stockings and shoes made entirely of mud.
I hit the Red Cup, which proved to be one of Oklahoma City’s good coffee spots, and then west toward Tim. The landscapes of mountainous deserts and cacti looked increasingly beautiful as I got closer and closer to my destination.  It took all day and part of the night to get there.  The cigarette lighters in my car had quit working about two months before I made this trip, so just as often as I had to stop for food and gas- I had to stop to recharge my mobile super computer, which primarily served as a DJ and GPS along the way.

I was going to miss the wrestling match of women dressed as 1980’s TV characters and the tornados expected in Oklahoma that night, which had been discussed among many things as we sat by the fire.  I knew I would miss Annie a lot, though I will often be reminded of how deeply sweet our friendship is, in spite of all the time and other tarnishing things we both seem so unaffected by.  Annie has gotten better with age by becoming more herself.  She is also prettier than she was in her early twenties, and how some women can do that- I have no idea.  Perhaps they just grow on me more with time.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

When I arrived at Tim’s place, we were as glad to see each other as always.  We stayed up pretty long, continuing a conversation we began in the fifth grade and eating vegan pizza.  He mentioned that he had been with his girlfriend, Natalie, for six years or so and that time has really flown by.  After countless hours commuting to Santa Fe, New Mexico from Oklahoma City- I was barely feeling awake to begin with. Something about seeing Tim though, someone I have known closely for such a long time, had a way of making me forget all of that white line fever from countless hours and miles on the road.
I was happy for Tim, because he was showing and telling me how well he has been doing.  Tim has been a writer for a long time, and he has been writing more than ever, enjoying good games, reading, going vegan, and dating a nice gal I finally met on this trip.  Many vegans and vegetarians make exceptions for creatures of the sea, it seems- and though the original plan was to stay a second night to have sushi with Natalie and Tim, I discovered one moment too soon that I would have to head as far to the west of Arizona as I could stand to go before calling it a night at some roadside dump of a motel- where I could sleep momentarily before driving hundreds and hundreds of miles more.  There was just barely enough time during the afternoon of the second day in Santa Fe to get the lay of the land- investigating concert venues, record stores, music shops, and other places for local music enthusiasts to congregate.
The scenery of Santa Fe was amazing too- though it had been very cold all day both days for daylight hours.  Still, I was happy to have avoided the torrential rain that hit Oklahoma City moments after I left. I also felt happy, if fleetingly, to be in touch with almost all of the Californians who could hardly wait to see me about as much as the Midwesterners were starting to miss me.  Alone and peaceful as I felt during the Santa Fe stay, it was also good to feel the love of so many people, whom I also love, following me for thousands of miles from and to what I will refer to as home, for simplicity sake.  Home used to be a house, then it became a car, and now it is my skin and everything underneath the surface.
Santa Fe would have suited me better if it had a decent coffee shop still in operation.  Google had not properly rid it’s pages of the coffee spots that no longer exist, and what started out as an excursion for coffee became a chasing of wild geese that resolved to the compromise of  consuming awful, carbonated energy drinks that any of my health nut friends would have rightfully lectured me about, especially had they seen the quantity of my intake.  Had I smoked or drank alcohol in front of many of these said friends, they would not be upset in the least- though if it should so happen that a soda or energy drink gets popped open, and they read me the riot act- like some kind of cautionary, scary bedtime story.  Often times, they ironically will have some conflicting habit that afflicts their judgement about my own well being- which I will enjoy in unsaid silence.

For six years or so, Tim had been telling me about fond tales of his girlfriend, Natalie. My first night there, it was just me and Tim.  Natalie joined us the second night, and we enjoyed a brief visit before I had to drive off into the night for a brief and hilarious stay at the El Capitain Motel, somewhere in Arizona.

“You’re more than welcome to stay tonight,” Tim offered- every bit as generously as Annie and other friends of mine scattered along the pathways of Earth.  I told Natalie with the utmost sincerity how nice it was to meet her at last, and Tim how great it always is to see him.  Then I told them, as I gathered my belongings, how I intended to travel as far as Arizona before checking into some dingy motel along the way.  I was more honest about that idea than I realized.  Into the night, I drove for hours, and hours- before finally reaching a dimly-lit sleep oasis called the El Capitain Motel.  It was almost 3:00 AM when I woke the attendant to pay almost as much for a room that night as I would pay to park for a day at the San Diego Marriott the following three days.
With a hand-written, mostly falsified, and partially competed sign-in card handed to the clerk with two green bills, he handed me a brass key to Room 22.  “Good night, sir-” he said before disappearing into the door behind the desk.  I opened the door to a room I could not bare to light with more than a small, cathode ray tube television.
Chappelle’s Show was on Comedy Central, the “Love Contract/Rick James” episode from the second season, featuring Rashida Jones and Ludacris, who is not featured on the official DVDs, but always on TV.  I fell asleep before Ludacris performed Stand Up, though it must have been playing in the first moments of what little sleep I would get at El Capitan Motel before a loud knocking hit the door that read 22. At first I was dismissive of it, and at the second instance of it- I was wide awake.
Standing in the doorway was a woman with trails of cocaine coming out of her right nostril, track marks from heroin use on both arms, a white dress that almost didn’t even exist, purple Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses to spite the darkness, and long, tall teeth.  She reminded me of what bad vodka and worse tobacco smell like.  She smelled like a bottle of Country Club Vodka had been dumped on her, until she spoke- at which point her breath kicked me square in the face.
“Can I come in or what the fuck?” she asked, in those exact words.
“You have the wrong room, lady…” I muttered distinctly.
She took off her Ray Bans and squinted at the door.
“Room two?” she misread.
“No,” I said, “this is twenty-two… Two is across the parking lot.”
“Shit, I just thought I was seeing double!!” she laughed and coughed at the same time, in a grotesque way that seemed decades beyond her years.
“Want me to come back here later?” she had the nerve to ask.
“No, please do not,” I said.

I watched her walk to room two, where a half naked man let her in and promptly shut the door.  I was never so awake in my life.  I got my bag and left for California, believing with all my heart that if I would have stayed- she would have knocked again at some point between six and eleven in the AM.  Falling asleep again would have been impossible anyway, and San Diego isn’t exactly a stone’s throw away from El Capitan Motel, so I thought I would reduce myself further in funds and farther down the road with a full cup of coffee and tank of gas from somewhere just up the way.  Maybe a big Red Bull, for lack of punch in the otherwise tasty and fresh black coffee.  Ronocco, a product of St. Louis roasting at that.  I required further awakening in the middle of the desert as the scenery through the national parks developed into an increasingly gorgeous countryside.
There was a McDonald’s along the way that I didn’t get anything from but a bathroom break and a momentary parking spot.  Had I spotted a place to plug in my mobile for a few percentage points back on my battery life, I might have stayed a while longer- though they were not giving away any power in the dining area of that particular restaurant, so it was yo home to the Marriott on the Marina in San Diego; a seemingly opposite state of affairs from the accommodations from the night before.

Redondo Beach, California

When I arrived in California, I was on my way to San Diego- a place I had never been previously.  Lovely as it was, there were several drawbacks to being there that made for less than optimum comfort.  I was meeting up with my brother and his friends (mostly college buddies whom, for the most part, live in Los Angeles) for that same brother’s bachelor party.  The bachelor party was taking place two weeks before the wedding, and I had made a lot of plans to connect and reconnect with people throughout California while I was staying in The Golden State.  For all of the plans and places along Route 66 (to California) and Highway 70 (back to the Midwest), the majority of my agenda was set to take place in California.

When one seriously decides to make a career out of music, one of the frequently suggested ideas (especially from the uninitiated to the childless and unwed musicians) is to pack it all up and move to Los Angeles, because that is supposed to be where the real music scene is taking place.  Once you step into one of the ZIP codes that qualifies as LA, however, it becomes noticeable that little or nothing changes about the situation of he or she who has arrived.  There are a lot of props, actors, and scenery that are all designed to suspend the disbelief of just about anybody- and for the most part, all of it is very effective on it’s targets.  As much as many movies appear to take place in outer space for instance, none of them actually do.  In a similar respect- something that appears to be a functioning to flourishing music business does exist in Los Angeles in an exclusive and special way- though it is important to remember at all times that absolutely none of it is real.  The realities of the music business are the same regardless of ZIP code, and the facades of the music business are the variable.

Musicians who are skilled, hard-working, and collaborative deserve to be employed properly and fairly- though a dismally small percentage of musicians in America can honestly claim that they can earn a sustainable income for their selves and families based on their amazing abilities.  More often than not, even extremely talented and popular musicians must rely upon some completely unrelated means to an end- some other trade to help them keep their ledger in the black and their bills routinely paid on time.  Some musicians work tirelessly to make the kind of money a part-time grocery store worker might earn- though they don’t care about that at all, truly, because they are involved constantly in labors of love.

Though everything I just mentioned, easy to understand as it all might seem, holds very true and resonates with anyone who fancies themselves a professional musician, it is almost impossible for a non-musician to truly understand.  Often, the best a non-musician can do to understand the life of a musician is to try and draw parallel life lines between their non-musical life and the life of a professional musician.  Indeed, it can be done to some extent.  Perhaps a self-employed carpenter who works out of his truck can relate to someone who started a record label completely on her iMac- though they can only vaguely understand one another without investing a lot of time and attention into the other person’s trade.  A carpenter doesn’t know exactly why he likes his favorite song, and the gal who started her own label doesn’t know exactly why there is a crack in the wall and a leak from the roof.

I make these examples to try and better illustrate people I know very well to people who do not know those people at all.  Someone might read what I wrote about my friend Annie, for instance, and mistakenly think that I am in love with her.  They may further believe because of what I just wrote in the last sentence that I don’t love Annie.  The truth is, what I feel about Annie and anybody else doesn’t really matter to anyone but me- and the best I can do to tell you readers about her or anyone else, is to tell you what actually happened and how I felt at the time.  None of that necessarily holds any bearing on the present time or the future, either.  An honest writer will tell you about the past either bluntly and explicitly- or through allegory and a thin veil of fiction, often used to “protect” the privacy, dignity, and anonymity of others.

San Diego, CA
The purpose of coming to San Diego on Friday was to spend three days in bachelor party hell with my brother and his closest friends.  Privileged as I am to know those guys and hang around them as one of the group, I can only keep it up for so long- and then they’re all going to get drunk anyway, and that is my cue to back out of the proceedings.  I had stayed the night before San Diego in the El Capitan motel in Arizona, and doing so cost less than it did to park for one day and night at the San Diego Marina Marriott Hotel.  One of my brother Joe’s friends, a guy named Shannon, works for the more prestigious of the aforementioned hotel chains, and was able to get an impossibly good rate on the rooms.  The rate was especially good for me, because I didn’t pay a dime.  I couldn’t have if I wanted to or had to- though luckily for me, unless all of the golfing, dining, baseball tickets, and luxury suites were provided to me at no cost- I couldn’t partake in the festivities.  I explained to my brother that I didn’t have a whole lot of money to burn on being there for him, though he did insist that I burn all of the money I did have to be there for him- and as if to soften the blow of spending all of my earnings to get to and stay in California, my brother often paid my way through the bachelor party weekend.  Once I was down to my last cash, nowhere near enough to get back to St. Louis even by thumb, bus, or rail- I was on my own.  The weekend was over, and it was time to head to Redondo Beach to stay with Tucker, Charlotte, and Max.

When I started driving up the Pacific Coast Highway to my friend Tucker’s house, in spite of that looming stress of “how am I going to get back,” I felt incredibly liberated and peaceful.  Seeing the sun set over the ocean was helpful, to say the least.  It was also helpful that it only took about two hours to get from San Diego to Redondo Beach, and I was used to ten and fifteen hour stretches of driving at that point.  Two hours felt like a trip around the block.  I once loved a girl who made a two hour commute seem like fifteen minutes, honestly- though I must not have loved her as much as the girl who made four hours seem like forty minutes.

Once I found myself pulling into a driveway I would consider as my own for about a week, the sense of relief greatly increased.  It did again tenfold once I was sitting in the back yard with my friend- who could not have been more welcoming or hospitable if you forcibly paid him to do so.  Charlotte, his wife whom I will never know nearly as well, was also charming and kind to me- regularly playing hostess, waitress, and long-lost-pal.  Charlotte is an actress in that way that anyone who seriously did it at any point always is.  Such is the case with modeling or music- if you ever did it, even if you “quit,” you’re still in the life.  Such is the Marines.

I had been driving a while, and to my surprise- I needed to rest about as badly as my phone needed to recharge.  I didn’t have much money left, though I did have enough cash to stay in one or two more dingy motel rooms- especially if I was conservative when it came to food and coffee.  I stopped in Las Vegas for coffee and to make some gig and radio connections, and all that work must have been what exhausted me prematurely.  As my phone charged at Grumpy John’s coffee shop in Nevada- I started chatting up the hipster locals about their favorite spots and bands to see in them.  As long as it took for my phone to recharge, the coffee shop turned over it’s clientele several times, and I was able to discover a startling similarity to the names of the venues and bands I would hear about, only to be smote by a rant that they all paraphrased dealing with how it’s all a bunch of slot machine-type gimmicks and Penn & Teller-type shows.  The recurring theme boiled down to “the odds are always against you in this town.”

I love motel rooms, such that I may be the only one. When the three-piece version of my band tours, it is as though I am on the extreme side of loving the place, the bass player is as indifferent as can be, and the drummer is insulted by the dinginess of the accommodations. As I write this, I am by myself in a motel room in Utah, staying at an America’s Best Value Inn after explaining to the guy behind the counter at the Super 8 across the street that his nightly rate was higher than the Super 8 in six different states, and also higher than any of the surrounding hotel and motel chains within an eyeshot from the Super 8 parking lot.

“Our rooms are really very nice, sir,” he told me.
“Would you show me one?” I asked him.
“Only if you pay first,” he said.
“This isn’t happening,” I said. “I’m going across the street so I can spend all that extra money on food and gasoline. I’m not looking for the Ritz Carlton.”

I exited the Super 8, which from the exterior and the lobby alone could not possibly have been the nicest Super 8 I ever stayed at, even if I had stayed there- it would not even have hit within the top five.  To be fair, it certainly wasn’t the worst five motels I’ve ever laid eyes on either- though it was blatantly and unapologetically overpriced, especially considering what it was; a motor lodge in Utah to be ransacked and trashed to hell, slept in briefly, used as an office space, and abandoned with no hope to return to specifically.  I saw to this same exact agenda in the America’s Best Value across the street- which was the nicest one of the chain I have ever stayed in.  It reminded me of an old hotel of merit, preserved immaculately from the early 1990s. The only hints of age were the faded, stomach-turning print of some boring landscape that was an awful work of art to begin with, further ruined by decades of sunlight over-exposure.  Everything else was in perfect shape, in spite of it’s obvious age.  It was as though the room was never stayed or smoked in, though cleaned regularly.  The maid would know, as always, that a musician had stayed there when she came in to clean up after me- long after I’d since abandoned Utah.

MORE TO COME – including photos and stories about:

A DJ Named Not So Shy John
Los Angele’s Own
My Brother’s Wedding
An Encounter Deadly Snake


Date →
Apr 6
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