By: Kirstie Pike
CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women
Being involved in the hunting and shooting industry requires attendance of many shows, events and store openings. Prois has been on the road much of the Spring, with our latest attendance being the 2010 NRA Convention in Charlotte, NC. During the course of our travels we have covered thousands of miles, eaten more Subway sandwiches and consumed copious amounts of Monster drinks and Starbucks. As well, there are many nights spent in hotel rooms and rental houses. Over the course of the last year, we have officially stayed in some of THE worst places in the lower 48. Following a brief stay in what we fondly call â€œthe murder hotelâ€ (to be described in detail below) it has become somewhat of a sport for us at Prois to torment Keli Van Cleave, Prois Pro-Staffer and frequent show help, with a cat and mouse game of â€œLetâ€™s See Where We Can Put Keliâ€.
The â€œMurder Hotelâ€ was simply a case of right person, wrong motel. Coffee County, Tennessee. It was simply a matter of road weariness and sleep deprivation. We pulled into what seemed like a decent place to stay for a few hours. I am not certain if my first red flag should have been the fact that I had to pay in cash or the fact that the room rate was $32. However, if neither of those incidents were cause for alarm, the fact that it was attached to a truck stop should have been. We entered the room which can only be described as squalid. Maybe it was the fact that we couldnâ€™t walk around without our shoes that should have made us question our stay. Maybe it was the fact that the beds were elevated on 2x4â€™s (maybe to elevate above vermin level?) that should have made us question our stay. Maybe it was the fact that the hot water handle in the shower was marked with a Budweiser cap that should have made us question our stay. However, it was definitely the fact that we had to run across the street to the 24 hour Walmart to purchase bedding that made us stop to think, â€œShould we really stay?â€. It didnâ€™t look any better in the morning light. After a morning questioning from local Starbucks staff, we learned why the Scottish Inn in Coffee County, TN was the least savory motel around. Apparently a murder occurred there the week before. Maybe that wasnâ€™t really a vomit stain on Keliâ€™s box spring after all.
The â€œTrucker Hotelâ€ was a brief encounter in Kansas. 14 hours of driving does indeed make one tired. Keli and I opted to stop to sleep in a small Kansas town. We pulled in at 1:00 am in the middle of a snowstorm. We were greeted by an odd looking young man who I would guess was involved in an underground group of Dungeons and Dragons as he appeared not to have seen daylight in years. Should I have been offended when he offered us the â€œTruckers Discountâ€? Probably, but hey, I am cheapâ€¦.so I went with it. At least there was complementary continental breakfast. Or was there? Apparently a recent car crash through the front windows dashed any hopes for orange juice and yogurt. Things definitely look different in the daylight.
The â€œMold Motelâ€ is located in greater metro Winnemucca, Nevada. Another long day at the shows followed by late night driving resulted in a need to stop. After stopping at a seedy little motel where we were greeted by a paunchy man in his underwear carrying a fussing toddler, we chose a small motel that was clearly above the rest as it based all advertisement on â€œclean roomsâ€. After the â€œMurder Motelâ€, we felt comforted by the fact that a motel might feel cleanliness is important. Clearly cleanliness is subjective. What I initially thought to be dust bunnies along the carpeted baseboards turned out to be a moldy substance. Same with the air conditioner. Sleep was limited as we were certain we were going to die of some rare mold inhalation pneumonia. We didnâ€™t. However, if either of us die of a mysterious pulmonary disease, please notify the Winnemucca health department.
Our recent trip to the NRA convention lead us to the amazing new digs. We arrived at the StayInn Residence Suites at 11:00 pm. We probably should have been deterred by the fact that this place looked eerily like a housing project. However, there were a couple of Cadillac Escalades and Hummers parked about so we felt that maybe the advertised renovated rooms were terrific. We entered our â€œsuiteâ€ to find that the â€œrenovated kitchenetteâ€ was simply a hotplate and a sink on a plywood stand. Oh, and not one cup or dish to be found. Handy. It turns out that one must also pay a $20 deposit to â€œborrowâ€ the iron at the desk. Oh yeah. The ultimate red flag SHOULD have been the fact that the cost of the motel for 5 days was cheaper than my rental car. However, that was not as much of an issue as the fact that the peep hole was stuffed with toilet paper and the screws to the locks were stripped. Yet, we stayed for one sleepless night. The good news is that we found the one and only available room in the region at a very respectable Holiday Inn. The bad news was the fact that two local police officers who work vice took great humor in the fact that the StayInn was one of their frequent â€˜bustsâ€™. I guess that explains the Escalades parked outside late at night. Welcome to the â€œVice Motelâ€, Keli.
In spite of it all, Keli Van Cleave remains a great friend and a die-hard member of the Prois Pro-Staff team. Thatâ€™s not to say she hasnâ€™t quit a few times. Oh, and might I add that Keli’s mom has stripped me of any lodging responsibility. Ever.