Stuck Inside of Salt Lake with the Motel Blues Again

My westward migration brings me to Salt Lake City, the briny jewel of the western Rockies. It’s a nice city, honestly. There’s a lot to do and the people seem generally friendly. They had a Pride Festival today and I didn’t see anyone getting beaten or even any picketers, which was reassuring.

I rolled into town yesterday straight from Dinosaur National Monument in Jensen, UT, which is worthy of its own post, so I’ll spare you the details for now. I got to SLC in the late-ish afternoon and stopped at the first lodging I saw — a Motel 6 pretty close to downtown. It was right across the street from a hotel called Little America, which has the best breakfast buffet in the country*. I figured it couldn’t be half-bad — I had stayed in a Knights’ Inn in Oakley, KS sometime last week that wasn’t awful, so how could a motel in an actual city be any worse?

As soon as I stepped out of my car and headed to the office, I was asked for change and if my phone can be used to text someone’s friend. I’m not gonna bash on people going through tough times, I’m just trying to get a room at this point. The woman at the front desk booked me a room and told me to come back in a couple of hours when it was ready.

I busied myself with a personal quest for something that the east coast has the true misfortune of missing out on: In-N-Out Burger. Not-so-fun fact: The closest In-N-Out to New York is in Salt Lake City. The last time I had gone there, I didn’t even know about the secret menu. That was long ago, in Los Angeles. I was a stupider, more naive child in those days. I was not ready to hold the power of the secret menu. I righted my youthful wrongs by ordering a Double-double and fries, Animal Style. I could almost feel the week of hiking and camping coming undone with each bite.

Satisfied, I came back to the hotel. A couple of hours had passed. Everything was going wonderfully. I would head back to the room, charge my camera and upload my photos from the previous few days, maybe even get a head start on my online class. I’d finally take a shower after (LENGTH OF TIME REDACTED) of tramping around the wilderness. Things would be relaxing, right?

Well, generally, yeah, they were. Save for the fact that there was no toilet paper in the bathroom. Thankfully, I had brought a roll with me for camping, not that I needed it. Even in the middle of the Rockies and the canyons of Utah, the bathrooms were not lacking toilet paper. A minor setback in the night. I brought in my toilet paper, which was better anyway, washed away the days of dirt, and settled in for the night.

However, as the night progressed and I got more tired, I noticed that my bed didn’t have sheets. This, unlike the toilet paper, was a bit more of a problem. I went down to the office and asked for bedding. I don’t like raising an issue with anything, really, so I tried not to sound like an asshole about it. I think it worked. Unfortunately, the woman informed me that they didn’t have any blankets… Towels, though. Would I like some towels? No, I wouldn’t. I’ve got towels.

Thankfully, I had also brought some bedding with me for the apartment in Wyoming. I did sleep on a made bed. All in all, I’d say it was a 7/10 night, minor unpleasantries aside.

Today, however, was different. After spending a day at the Natural History Museum and Red Butte Gardens (also warranting their own posts), I came back to the motel to check in again. I had checked out in the morning, thinking I would head to Wyoming later in the afternoon, but had a change of heart. Same routine: got a reservation, was told to come back in a couple of hours, acted accordingly. I spent a few hours in Starbucks across the street doing work.

I came back to find that the reservation had been cancelled or removed or something. Whatever it was, it was solved in a minute and I got my room. Room 245. Nice change of scenery from 130. I headed up the stairs with all my luggage in hand and opened the door. I was pleased with the first view of the room through the crack in the door — the bed was made, and I could only assume that they remembered TP. But oh, was my personal haven about to be spoiled.

Swinging the door open, I heard voices come from the TV. A pizza box sat on the desk. I have no idea if it was empty or not. Someone’s hoodie was on the bed. A pull-up bar leaned against the wall. Naturally, at this point, one turns around and leaves. Not this guy. I called out to see if anyone was actually in the room. I heard no answer, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t someone strung out or swinging from the curtain rod in the darkened bathroom, where all I could see was a dirty towel on the floor. Thankfully, they do have extra towels at the front desk.

Now, as much as I don’t like sounding like an asshole, I could make an exception. I called the front desk and asked for either a new room or for someone to come clean this one.

Room 101 is pretty nice. It’s got a bed that’s made, and toilet paper. But the night is still young in Salt Lake City. Who knows? Someone may be checked into my room any minute now.

*Source: Katz, 2016.

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