Badrooms – er, Bedrooms

Most motel rooms, even the inexpensive ones, are good enough for one night. Once in a while, though, I pick one that I probably shouldn’t have. The most recent example occurred last week in Joliet, on my last night on Route 66. It had been a long day, and I was thinking that because 66 intersected with I-80 there should be some motels in that area. I was wrong. So I pulled off the road and fired up my Mapquest app to find someplace that wasn’t too far from me or 66 where I could spend the night.

The app showed me a couple of places not too far away, so I motored off to find the closer one and see if they had a room. It was a place called the Town House Motel:


It looked good from the outside, so I stopped in. The manager said he had a room, and did I want to look at it first? I said no, thanks, I only wanted it for one night. [I would have taken it even if I *had* looked at it, because I was tired and didn’t want to ride around looking for another place. However, it made me wonder…] I gave him my credit card and he tried to run it, but it was rejected. [What the heck? … I decided later that he must have tried to run it as a debit card – no wonder it was rejected!] So I paid cash for the room and got a key. It was five dollars cheaper that way, anyway.

This was my first impression:


In and of itself, not too bad, but the previous resident had been a smoker, so there was a residue inside. As I brought my stuff up, I took a look around and noted a few things; as I did my usual nighttime routine, I noticed others. Among them:

  1. The toilet wasn’t firmly connected to the drain – when I used it, it (and I) rocked back and forth.
  2. The toilet’s valve wasn’t working, so unless I turned off the wall valve, the tank would fill and then overflow all the time. So I turned off the valve every time I used the toilet, but then I kept forgetting to turn it back on for the next use.
  3. The kitchenette light didn’t work.
  4. The room air conditioner (sort of) worked, but it was vented through the range hood – so there was only a small outlet for the (sort of) cold air. The room was pretty hot when I checked in and it took most of the night to cool down.
  5. The wall outlets in the room were so old and/or worn out that my computer’s power cord couldn’t make contact. I had to use the battery that night.
  6. The kitchenette faucet was so hard to operate that I thought I might bend the (cheap) steel sink when I turned it on. It turned off with no problems, though.
  7. There was no doorknob or latch on the bathroom door.
  8. There was no deadbolt or chain for the outside door. The only lock was the spring-lock in the knob.

Here are a few more photos, just to entertain you.

Looking into the room from the outside door

Looking into the room from the outside door

Looking back at the outside door from the kitchenette area

Looking back at the outside door from the kitchenette area

Burns on the tub and no doorknob.

Burns on the tub and no doorknob.

And the neighborhood itself wasn’t all that great, either. About midnight, there was a rappity-rappity on my door. I figured someone was just knocking randomly on the door, so I ignored it. But it came back, so I got up and went over to find out what was going on. When I opened the door, no one was there, but I saw a group of people in the parking lot and overheard some of their conversation – it didn’t seem like something I really wanted to know more about, so I closed the door and went back to bed. Then the rappity-rappity came again, so I thought I’d better answer it.

When I opened the door, there was a big dude there. He acted belligerent until he realized that I wasn’t the person he was looking for. He looked into the room, and when he didn’t see whom he was looking for, he apologized for bothering me. (I guess the previous occupant had just left that day.)

On the good side of the ledger, there was a mini-fridge in which I cooled my Camelbaks for the next day’s ride. I like cold water much better than room temperature, for two reasons – it helps cool my back when it’s in my backpack, and it helps cool me when I drink it.

But I managed to survive the night, and the next morning all was sweetness and light. I packed and stacked the bike, took the room key back to the manager, and left to find a place to have breakfast.

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