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On a Dark Salida Highway

June 30, 2019

“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair.
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air.”


Months ago, Elaine came to me and said, “I’ve been invited to the Salida Arts Festival again. We had such a good time last year; I’m going to accept the invitation!"  Before I could blink, Elaine was on the computer looking for a place to stay in Salida.


Elaine:  Did you like the place we stayed in last year?
Me:  We stayed in our camping trailer last year.
Elaine : Yes, but they have cabins.  I think that place was too far from the show.  I’m going to keep looking.
Me:  Ok, but don’t put us in a dump.
Elaine:  I think I found a great place.  It has great reviews, newly remodeled, continental breakfast and relatively inexpensive.


I have been staying in an extended stay hotel since late November.  I consider myself an expert in hotel stay.  I have collect so many hotel points; my points have points of their own. 


Upon arriving in Salida, Elaine and I decided to set up at the trade show before checking into her chosen hotel.  As we have done at every trade show we have ever attended, we left a few things at home.  


This usually results in a trip or two to Wally World.  As I drove to Wall World I passed several hotel/motels.  One hotel had a name that seemed familiar to me.  When I returned from Wally World, I asked Elaine, “What is the name of the hotel we are staying at?”  


Elaine:  It is the (No advertising here.) Hotel.
Me:  I passed it.  It looks pretty old.  Did you check it out?
Elaine:  It has great reviews!!


Elaine and I finished setting up the booth and exhausted we headed to the motel to check-in.


“Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light.
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night”


After further review, I could see this motel was nothing like my extended stay.  I noticed the motel had a recently redone parking lot.  The exterior had a new coat of paint.  I was pleasantly surprised.


The hotel night clerk, Elaine and I spoke the same language.  However, the night clerk spoke with an accent that neither Elaine nor I used.  The night clerk, who I'm guessing, was the owner of the hotel, identified his accent as Polish.  Things were going fine, until the night clerk started to explain how to unlock the door to the room.

 

In my forty (+) years of construction, I have never seen a lock like this.  Never!  The lock was kind of like a cross between an old style key lock and an ATM.  I'm guessing it was European.

 

Elaine actually listened to the instructions to open the door.  I have way to much ego to have done that.  Elaine tried unsuccessfully to unlock the door.  It was my turn.  After watching me struggle with the lock; the night clerk headed across the parking lot to "help" me.  Before he could get to me; Poof, I opened the door.  I don't need no stinkin' instructions!


With the front door open, a few things were glaringly obvious.  The room was recently painted.

 

I believe I could smell fresh paint.  The colors chosen would have been extremely popular in the 1930’s.  The painting was perfect.  Whoever had painted the room was extremely good at his/her trade.  (I notice things.  I blame a career in construction.)


The room and the bed were small.  The bed had three pillows that covered more than half of the bed.  (I notice things.)  Elaine said, “This room is immaculately clean!  Which side of the bed do you want, the nightstand or the wall?”


The bathroom was small and clean.  The bathroom had been freshly painted with 1930’s colors.  The bathroom tile, albeit, ugly, was complete and the grout had been maintained.  (I notice things)  The bathtub/shower was clean, right down to the rubber plug used to keep the water in the tub. (Remember those!)  The faucet handles were chrome, all three of them.  (Remember those,)  The shower was warm, with plenty of water pressure.  Sadly, the shower head was mounted so that an average size person could not wash the top half of their body. Toddlers would have loved it.  Adults over four and a half feet tall, not so much.


Doing the limbo in the shower doesn’t really interest me.  Thank God, the owners of the hotel have concern for people like me.  Strategically placed flowers were stuck to the bottom of the tub to keep me from slipping.


The hotel uses environmentally friendly shampoo and body wash.  I thank them for that. I love when businesses are environmentally friendly.  (Did I mention Your Daily Fiber sells "green' yarns, both in color and environmentally friendly yarn?  Oh sorry!  I lost focus again.  It would be nice if the shampoo and body wash actually made suds and cleaned stuff like skin and hair. I read the ingredients of the shampoo.  Olive Oil!  I had no idea I could clean my hair with salad dressing.  This information will come in handy on camping trips.

 
The room has a refrigerator across from the bathroom sink.  It was a small 2019 model of the one my grandma had when I was a kid.  Grandma’s was white; this one was turquoise.

 

Elaine tells me the place is charming.  I wish I could stop humming.


“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”


The best part of trade shows is the people you meet and the conversations you have. Especially the conversations you overhear. 


I spent 45 minutes with an 83 year-old car collector from Florida.  He was telling me he has been buying and selling cars since he retired from the air-conditioning business.  His wife interrupted him to tell me, he tells people like me he buys and sell cars; in her opinion; he just buys cars.  He just smiled at her and went on talking.


He went on to tell me he has a 1919 Hudson limousine that was once owned by Charlie Chaplin.  I’m guessing he was a serious collector.


I overheard a conversation with another vendor and a customer.  It was obvious they knew each other.  Before you judge me: I don’t normally listen to the conversations I'm not involved in.  Sometimes I don't listen to conversation I am involved in.  This vendor and customer saw each other and started screaming and jumping up and down.  Their conversation went like this:


Vendor:  OH, IT IS SO GREAT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!
Customer:  IT’S BEEN A COUPLE YEARS!
Vendor:  Have you seen Sarah?
Customer:  You know, I still am in touch with her, she’s struggling a little.
Vendor:  What’s up with her?
Customer:  She met a really great guy named Mike.  Mike is a puppeteer.  He doesn’t work that often so they have some financial struggles.
Vendor:  Oh, that’s too bad.


A puppeteer!  Financial Struggles!  I can’t wait to help him pay off his student loans.  Maybe if someone could get him a job performing for that new princesses’ baby. Possibly, someone could just hand him a shovel and stop feeding him.  Sorry, I need to keep my feelings to myself.


I enjoyed the person who told me he loves art.  He has art in every room in his house.  He didn’t appreciate when I told him, most people have art in their house.  Somehow he had the impression he was the only one with art in this home.  Guys are like that!


Elaine has been having a great time.  Me?  Read this and decide.  Seriously, the restaurants are great.  The company is great.  Elaine is selling.  It is always great to away from the construction world.  I had fantastic red beans and rice.  Elaine had fantastic lobster bisque.  (Not really native to Salida, Colorado.)


And now, somehow I must tie this story to a yarn store in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Elaine uses yarn from Your Daily Fiber.  We have talked to a bunch of people that are considering attending Wild West Knitting Retreat.  If you are going, it might be time to commit, while we have room.


Our crazy lives!


Monner
 

PS.  Should I have a typo or two, sorry.  I am standing in a hot tent! 

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