“Why don’t you go with me?” he asked.
“I would rather stay home, there won’t be anything for me to do,” I replied.
“It will be a chance to get away from home. You can stay around the hotel, eat at the restaurant, swim or use the hot tub.” I thought he was feeling guilty about going without me.
I was weakening, “Can I take my computer? Can the dog go too?“
“Sure, she can go and keep you company. You can take her for walks.”
And so, the vacation from hell began. Mo loves to play cards and this was a big bridge tournament at a conference center in Gatlinburg, a tourist town near Great Smoky Mountain National Park. People from all over the US would be there — hundreds of people playing cards. He was so excited. I figured they would play cards part of the day and part would be free for us to do things. I should have known better.
We arrived at the Mountain Lodge, which was a mountain lodge in name only. It was actually just a motel. Our room was on the “Courtyard,” which was a courtyard in name only. It actually was an asphalt parking lot. The “Courtyard” was an old crummy motel (two stars) taken over by the “Mountain Lodge.” The restaurant was fast food, and the hot tub was on the other side of the busy street. Our room was at the back of an annex. Even if I could walk that far, I would probably be killed trying to cross the street.
It is not unusual for pet rooms to be the worst a hotel has to offer, so it was not a great surprise. This was the only motel near the conference center that took dogs. All the courtyard rooms had dogs — dogs that barked a lot. Next door to us were some very loud people who argued and fought with noise coming through the thin walls. We had flashbacks of apartment living. I about to die for a coke but didn’t see any vending machines. Mo walked to the end of the row and found one but no snack machine.
Traffic is bumper to bumper, and sidewalks are crawling with tourists in Gatlinburg. On the first day Mo left to play cards. He walked down a big hill to the convention center as this town is one street between two mountains and has very limited parking. Parking lots gouge tourists for parking fees.
I was starving, and normally would call room service. Guess again. Of course, no room service or free breakfast buffet. Why am I not surprised? I gave Mo a list for snacks, but he could not shop until his dinner break and all he found was a soda and bag of chips at a mini mart.
For some reason the maid never came to clean the room. I guess she missed us. Wrong! Apparently, conference rate rooms do not include maid service, or they do not clean rooms with dogs. I really didn’t care — until the second day when I ran out of free coffee and trash bags.
Mo was eating breakfast after leaving. Some days he didn’t have time to come back during dinner break. If he did, he would get me a sandwich from the coffee shop or at the one restaurant close enough for him to walk to. They played cards from 9 am until 11 pm. I don’t know how anyone can like cards that much.
[This is a continuing series, so stay tuned for Part 2. It’s all downhill from here.]