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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Hondarider, Jul 17, 2013.
I must have missed something; who's Jeff Spicoli?
HAHAHAHAAHHA! Stumped by my own obscure reference! Jeff Spicoli is Sean Penn's pot head character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High...the handbook for my high school experience. I should really cut back on the opiate intake. My name's actually Ro$$...I was merely chanelling my inner-Spicoli when I hit the road in a drug induced haze.
When we last saw our two riders, they were headed west out of Des Moines in search of food and loding for the night...it was getting dark and they were riding into a thunderstorm.
So I remembered why the ride out of Des Moines was so troublesome. We had already rode a ton of miles, the lodging situation looked bleak, and there was lightning out on the horizon with some black skies that had swallowed the setting sun. GPS was coming up empty...it just kept insisting that we turn back...I was wondering if we would have to ride all the way to Nebraska in the storm. At that point I saw an exit and a few buildings up on the right side of the road. As we neared this little oasis, it looked a bit sketchy...like maybe Pizza Guy knew exactly what he was talking about. I opted to ride right past the exit; I imagine much to M!ke's abject disappointment. Just as we passed the exit, I saw a really big bolt of lightning out on the horizon and I immediately regretted my decision. A dive motel has got to be better than being caught out here on the highway in the dark, in a storm, tired, and hungry. Just as I was contemplating a quick jump across the median and a reverse in direction, an exit sign popped up. There were no services, but the map on the GPS indicated that I could circle around on some local roads and get back to the sketchy motel I saw. We made the turn and rode a mile or two back to the Bates Motel. We had just arrived in beautiful Adair, Iowa. As in "Ay-dare you to spend the night here".
M!ke seemed to have mixed emotions as he pulled off his helmet. Sure, he had ridden 725 miles today and there was a storm about to engulf us, but this place had a vibe like the movie Wrong Turn; like the cars in the parking lots had once belonged to victims instead of current patrons. It was my turn to pay so I hurried inside to secure a room before the storm hit.
The gentleman behind the desk was very polite and the rate was pretty cheap so I figured we'd be OK...I was in the Army after all...I have encountered some less than posh accomodations. The most curious part about my interaction with the proprietor was just how many times he assured me that this was a "safe location". Now, aside from my neon yellow suit, I am a 6' tall / 210 lb guy travelling by motorcycle with another guy who's not exactly a twink. I don't generally give off a nervous vibe, but this guy made it a point to assure me of my safety 3 times in a 5 minute transaction. That seemed odd.
He gave us a room on the backside of the motel where he assured me we'd be able to see the motorcycles from our room. I wasn't really concerned about standing guard over the bikes all night...this was a "safe place" after all, but the way he said it gave me pause. I was reconsidering my decision not to carry a sidearm on the trip...not really, but the whole situation made me laugh a bit.
So back out to the bikes...wind is really picking up...storm is moving in...we sadlle up and ride around back...park the bikes and go inside to survey the accomodations. The vibe in the hallway immediately confirmed Pizza Guy's credibility. The carpets are stained, half the lights are out, the vending machine is completely empty, and some of the doors look like they had been mauled by bears. I'd recommend Pizza Guy as a trip advisor if you're ever in the Des Moines area - he knows some things. So we go into the room and its a dump as you might expect, but I've slept in far worse and its only one night. Besides, there's a restaurant within walking distance...more on that later.
So M!ke decides to take care of some business in the bathroom and I head out to start unloading my bike. I grab a couple bags and as I'm headed for the door, this sketchy looking guy with no shirt and more tattoos than teeth comes rushing towards me. My arms are full so all I can do is stop and see what he wants. What he says now if a first for me...at least the first time I've heard it behind a sketchy motel in Adair, Iowa with a storm just minutes from hitting...
"Hey man, can I take some pictures of your bike?"
This was not what I was expecting, but I said "Sure man, knock yourself out" and cruised inside; confident that my motorcycle would be sold on Iowa Craigslist before morning. I went back to the room and started unpacking. Mike came out of the bathroom and headed outside to start unpacking his bike. A few minutes later he comes in and says there's some sketchy looking dude taking pictures of our motorcycles. WTF?!
I said "No man, he's cool, I told him he could. He's got a Craigslist thing going on.
M!ke was beside himself. I was cracking myself up. By the time I got back to the bikes, Craig from Craigslist was done taking photos and had disappeared into the warren of the basement level of the Bates Motel. I got the sneaking suspiscion that many of the "guests" on this level of the motel were actually "residents"...like "long term, cooking dinner on an iron wedged between two sneakers" kinda residents.
(Don't laugh, I routinely prepared food in the Army on an iron wedged between a pair of boots and facing up. "Would you like your grilled cheese permanent press or linen?")
So M!ke and I had a system when it came time to unpack at night. It seemed to work out that one of us would always be at the bikes unpacking and one at the room dropping stuff off. This allowed us to leave our bikes with the panniers wide open and the room unlocked without too much worry about security. It worked well for the entire trip.
As M!ke was coming out to the bikes and I was going in with a load of stuff, I ran into a peculiar fellow in the hall. He was just standing there...looking at me...kinda stooped over. As I neared him, I gave him my customary "Hey, how's it goin'?" and he just kinda grunted and said something I couldn't understand. He had this smell about him...a really strong, smokey, chemical kinda smell that I've never smelled before...not cigarettes or weed...something completely foreign to me...maybe it was meth...I've never smelled meth. Anyhow, as I passed, he immediately started following me up the hall. I laughed to myself about the proprietor's redundant assertions of safety. As I approached my door, he was right on my heels. I stopped and he stopped. I turned to look at him and he was standing in front of the door right next to me. I pretended to fumble for my key card (even though I knew my door was unlocked) just to see what he was up to. He never made eye contact even though we were standing 3 feet apart and he went into his room. When the door swung open, the smell came rolling out to greet us. God knows what he had going on in there.
After that, M!ke showed up and I let him know that there was a meth lab next door, our bikes were already up on Craigslist, and we would likely be killed while we slept. In typical M!ke fashion, he said "That's cool, let's go get some dinner." The bikes were covered up and we headed across the parking lot to the Happy Chef...the rain was coming down now.
Home Sweet Home - we'll come back to this in a bit
I am just LOVING this ride report. The comparison to Bill Bryson is right on target.
DAY 2...still...can you believe it?
So we wander through the motel looking for the stairs up to the first floor. It's raining pretty good right now and we're looking to minimize our exposure by exiting the front of the building. We see doors with big holes from someone kicking them and then we see a door marked "spa". We both laugh and try to look inside...LOCKED...I'm pretty sure there's no spa in there. We exit out the front, having encountered exactly zero guests despite a full parking lot (I'm pretty sure they're all dead) and we run across the parking lot to the Happy Chef. The building looks like it was once a chain restaurant of some sort that had fallen into private hands. A little run down and a bit depressing. It's got to be 9:00 by now so all I care about is whether or not its open. The waitress/hostess/short order cook/janitor received us with the warmth and charm one expects from a girl working next door to a community of amateur chemists, pedophiles, drug addicts, and homicidal maniacs. She was professional enough, but there clearly would be no small talk or playful flirtation here. Only a few folks in the place...mostly locals...and we got down to the business of ordering some food. Bacon cheeseburger and fries seemed like a safe enough choice and I figured it wouldn't put anyone out at this late hour. Clearly the staff was counting the minutes 'til closing time.
So, while we're waiting for our food, drinking some Cokes and discussing the things we'd seen during the day, a cheery couple comes strolling in. I'm not sure how to categorize them...white...50s...upper-middle-class...maybe Southern...super polite...kinda bright and cheerful...probably driving a huge RV with marble floors and multiple slide outs...travelers to be sure. Suffice to say that they didn't blend in. They sat down at a table next to us and were talking up a storm about the state of the union or some such stuff. The waitress approaches them for their order on 3 seperate occassions, but they're not ready to order yet...I sense a little frustration from our cheerful server. She tries again and is faced with questions about specials and AAA discounts and God knows what else. Staff is watching the clock, locals are headed home, and I'm tearing through a decent enough burger when I hear the funniest thing I heard all day. The woman, who still has not committed to an order despite 15 minutes of pondering the menu and questioning the staff, asks to see the wine list!:huh What?!!??! We're out in the middle of nowhere...in a run down little prefab diner...with a staff that surely gives far more thought to suicide than can be considered healthy...dirty silverware...paper placemats...Christmas decoratiions still up in June...and you just asked to see the wine list at 9:30?
M!ke and I had a good laugh, tipped excessively, and cruised back to our new home away from home...half expecting that Craig had already lined up a buyer for our bikes and delivered them to their new owners.
Windscreen? Oh hey, I had to go back and look again.....that's how clean it is.
Back at Motel 666, all I wanted to do was crash for the night. I already knew that the room wouldn't stand up to any sort of scrutiny...it smelled of angst and desperation...the towels were thin and yellowed...the carpet had a wet spot...and the bedspread had been used during the production of a scat film. I stripped back the covers to take a look at the sheets before getting into bed...
hairs that do not belong to me...check
little black flecks that may or may not have been bed bugs...check
weird water stain that looks like Jesus...check
Mike was cracking up. He committed to stripping his entire bed and sleeping in his rain suit. He mistakenly pulled a sheet a little too far and caught sight of the mattress...HOLY CRAP! There were so many stains on the mattress...it was almost comical. I'm absolutely sure that at least one baby had been born on that mattress and at least 2 more people had died. I cranked up the AC and snuggled up with my filthy pillows. We laughed and laughed. Mike was absolutely sure he wouldn't sleep one minute of the night. I was out cold inside of 5 minutes.
Thunderstorms and high winds throughout the night...checked on the bikes once...no issues.
I woke bright and early...well rested and recharged...I layed there for a while...not even remotely cognizant of where I was...blankets and bedspread wrapped around me like swaddling clothes...that filthy bedspread wrapped around my face like I was starring in a fabric softener commercial...
After a few minutes, I remembered the horrors of the previous evening and jumped out of bed. Mike was still out cold so I commenced to getting ready. Oddly enough, he started to stir right around the time that I turned on the electric razor...LOL...he'll hate me today for sure.
A continental breakfast wasn't in the cards at this place so we agreed to get ready, hit the road, and look for a restaurant somewhere to the west. We geared up and headed out into the grey morning. Once outside, we saw something that wasn't there the night before...a mattress lying in the parking lot. Now considering the horrors the mattressws in our room had seen in their 30 years of service, I can't even begin to imagine what type of event would cause one to actually be thrown out of this establishment, but here it was. I assume there was a murder last night and the bottom of it is covered in blood and guts...it had been out in the rain for hours...it was probably clean enough to be reinstalled in a room now...maybe this is the cleaning process...we stood before it...pondering the possibilities...considering the frailty of life...dying to know the backstory. That's when I offered up today's first challenge...
That Mike...he's no coward.
Holy sh$t you have me laughing so hard my wife can't sleep.
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Why am I such a sucker for stories that involve a sketchy motel stop? Glued to this thread for the rest of the story. Kudos on your writing and sense of adventure. My wife would have totally pulled the hall pass after the meth motel story. You win!
In. Dude, you have me cracking up! You's hate traveling with me! I ride sometimes 6-700 miles one day and maybe 200 the next day depending on what I find or how I feel. Great writing!
Today's my first day of family vacation in Lake George, NY. No computer and a weak cell signal. I don't think I'll have much opportunity to post and I can't get the words out quick enough on the iPhone. I lose my flow of thoughts when working this tiny keyboard. I'll get back to it as soon as I can. I'll be busy posting stories about vacation on the "Adventure Nappers" forum.
This is great I'm waiting for more .
That's exactly how I always want to travel...just wandering the countryside and seeing whatever comes my way...changing direction at a moments notice based on the weather or an interesting road I've never seen before...stopping for roadside attractions for 5 minutes or 5 hours depending on what I see. I always start off that way...or, at least I start off imagining myself as the kind of person who can be that way. Hell, I changed the destination of this journey from Florida to Colorado just a few hours before leaving. I congratulated myself for my flexibility and easy going nature. In reality, however, I'm obsessive and once I've got a destination in my mind, I can't appreciate anything that doesn't get me closer to said destination. I would skip meals and ride to exhaustion if it were up to me. That was part of the draw in bringing Mike along. He's my polar opposite in this regard (and a few others), so I thought he might rub off on me little. His life seems much more relaxed than my own.
You're just the kind of fellow that could benefit from a trip with my group friends, the NUTS! It stands for "Not Usually This Stupid", but we're actually a nice group of mild-mannered misfits, from Iowa no less (home to such places as Adair), who travel west every summer on our dual-purpose 650's. Include your mailing address sometime and I'll send you this year's itinerary,
P.S. Sorry about "Jeff", I never saw Fast Times. If you should reference something from Seinfeld or Ishtar, however, I won't miss a beat.
"That's gold, Jerry! Gold!"
I don't think I can do much with Ishtar though. I wonder if anyone could.
I just happen to have a 650 dual sport that loves to travel. PM sent.
And please don't take my review of the Motel 666 in Adair as a critique of the state or the residents therein, I'm prone to taking liberties with the poetic license from time to time. (Not this time though...that place was SKETCHY)
BTW...what's up with all the windmills out in that area of the country? Those things are massive and plentiful.
This is gold! Day 2 had me laughing the whole time. Thanks for taking the time to write this up. Waiting for more
DAY3 broke grey and crappy, but the storm was moving east and we were headed west. We survived the night in Motel 666 and we were up and gone before the rest of the inhabitants. Apparently human sacrifice doesn't really let up until the wee hours of the morning and the mutants need their beauty sleep. I was beyond surprised to see our bikes sitting where we left them...I guess I jacked up my motorcycle insurance before I left home for nothing.
We decided not to prolong our stay in the beautiful Adair area, and immediately hit the highway; we'd look for breakfast in Council Bluffs. An hour or two later, we pulled into a Village Inn. The skies were still bleak, but Accuweather assured me that it was clear to the west and enthusiasm was high because we would be hitting Colorado today. Spirits were lifted further by an enormous breakfast and a pleasant waitress. We pulled out of Council Bluffs, still sporting our super suits, and motored toward Nebraska.
Somewhere near Omaha, we saw the sun. I was ecstatic. It started in small cracks and holes...promises of something better...and eventually we found ourselves happily motoring at 70 mph under a big beautiful prairie sky with big puffy white cumulus clouds. I was sure that Mike had never experienced this before so I silently congratulated myself for expanding his cumulative life experience. I'm really quite a fantastic guy for sharing this experience with him...someone should build a monument to celebrate me...I'm truly friend to every man...
Somewhere around now, amidst my silent celebration of all things me inside my helmet, the winds came.
I can't tell you exactly when and where it happened...somewhere around North Platte maybe...but the wind came like nothing I've experienced on a motorcycle before. The orange wind socks in the median should have been a clue, but I never picked up on it. All of a sudden, there was a right to left crosswind that pushed me right into the left lane and a passing truck. I fought my way back to the right, but I was riding with the bike leaned way over just to go in a straight line. Mike was cursing through the headset. From this point on, we were in a wrestling match with Mother Nature and she was kicking ass. Trucks and RVs were wagging all over the road, and were struggling to maintain highway speeds. On the occasion when I'd overcome a semi, I would get a brief reprieve from the wind as I passed on the left, but just as I cleared the cab of the truck, the wind would smack me so hard I nearly landed in the median. We stopped at the very next rest stop to ditch the super suits and regain our composure. I was working hard and sweating profusely just trying to stay upright.
Despite the seemingly beautiful weather, this was the hardest riding of the entire trip.
If you've been following along up until now, thank you for hanging in there. These first three days were truly boring by AdvRider standards and I apologize. Much like you, we were anxious for Colorado and anything that could be loosely construed as an adventure. Rest assured that we'll be making questionable decisions, eating batter-fried testicles, and having close calls with wild animals in no time. Thank you for your patience.
It's about time you put some miles on those bikes
You can tell the wind is blowing strong when the tumbleweeds blow across the interstate before touchdown! I have first hand experience.
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