Friday, November 28, 2008

When in Mesquite, Don't Stop!

I should have listened to the elephant.

We drove hours and hours, over winding mountain highways with every kind of danger sign: run away truck ramp, elk and deer crossing next 12 miles, watch for rocks on highway, slippery when wet, pictures of trucks tipping sideways on turns, warnings of steep angle to hill ahead, bridge may be frozen, bump signs, have I forgotten anything? And through it all it was raining hard and sometimes IMPOSSIBLE fog, which is disorienting and truly scary.

And we ended up in Mesquite, Nevada, where the room cost $100 in the dog wing, even though the signs all along the last 200 miles had said $24.99 and up. On check-in they said it was because it was a holiday and there were only 20 rooms left. LIES! The place was maybe half full. This inn is a minor city! Building after building. Maybe it should be converted to a jail.

The food got an early start in the oven on Thursday, or maybe the day before, and was enjoying the warmth of the steam table. It's a $14 all you can eat buffet, with aging turkey, gravy, and assorted trimmings like vanilla sauce. ? People weren't even returning for seconds.

I was happy to taste the green beans with mushroom soup and canned onions, because it's a famous recipe I've read about and never experienced. Not too bad. It holds well under the cafeteria's hot lamps, perhaps long enough to make it till Christmas.

The seafood newburg reminded me of airline meals long ago, when we thought the food on planes was bad, never imagining that in the future they'd just throw a snack pak at you.

I got to watch people walk up to the pie case and look over the desserts. This was kind of fun. No one looked too happy with the dried pies available, but they'd snatch one, then scurry over to the frozen custard machine, also in my view, and slowly squirch out pumpkin frozen dribble onto the pie. Oh for a video camera.

So a crummy cafeteria meal on Thanksgiving, big deal. But nothing compared to the urine SOAKED bedroom which was such a stench we didn't quite know what to do. Jon called the front desk to tell them about it so we wouldn't get charged for it in the morning when the pet inspector came by. I told him, "Well, you know how it is with bad smells: at first they really bother you and after a while you don't even notice them." (We've been through this with skunk sprayed dogs)

NOT SO! All night I tossed and turned inches above the stinkiness. It was still on Molly the next day! There WAS no pet inspector, because the place has fallen on hard times. You could tell it first from the half empty casino, and the Asian croupiers standing behind empty tables looking worried.

The picture is of a cute sculpture in Norwood, Colorado, where there used to be many cute animal sculptures made of car parts, but most of them have vanished. We stopped at the grocery store to buy chips for our sad sandwiches but the grocery store was closed.


A Wanderer said...

Woo, I haven't been here in a while. After finals, it seems I've had a 24-hour-consuming computer problem per day, then Thanksgiving and some filming.
(By the way, due to Firefox 2 screwing up on me, I now have V.3, which wouldn't be bad if not for that screwy URL bar).

The metal sculpture/car parts sculpture is something they have around here. Sometimes a guy will drive by my house hauling a big metal dragon. It looks pretty cool though I never know where it goes.

Your hotel problem is a much-worse version of a hotel my family sometimes visits in West Virginia. That's a shame. I hate it when a favorite spot goes to the dumps. Sorry about your cruddy Thanksgiving. But thanks for turning it into an entertaining story (the descriptions of people at the buffets, especially!).

My own Thanksgiving story: not much to tell. Today, the day after, is more interesting. Went to the Black Friday sales but didn't find much in the way of really worth-getting-up-at-2 AM discounts. I just called an old friend of mine to see when she'd pick up some Christmas gifts and for some insane reason she's still at the mall, and it's now 8:20! Even if the deals were good, how can people shop from 4 AM to 8:30 or later at night? No deals could possibly be that good, and generally you'd think the best stuff would be gone at the end of the day.

Final after-Thanksgiving story: I have a weird muscle condition in my legs that as a kid always earned me warnings of arthritis and stuff in the future. It never presented that big of a problem as it was made out to be. The only problem was at my new college, where you have to walk EVERYWHERE and sometimes within short spans of time (driving has really aggravated it too). I saw a podiatrist for the first time since I was about 12 and got a handicap thing so hopefully next quarter I won't have to walk that far and maybe keep my legs are the fairly comfortable level they've managed to remain for years.
But the damage is already done, I guess. My parents are out of town for the weekend, I'm home alone (sleeping the day off after my early morning shopping) and suddenly I wake up with some of the worst pain in my life. My right leg feels like its on fire. I couldn't really walk for a while, but I managed to kind of hobble around after the pain died down. Now I'm using a cane and feeling 80. The pain has sort of slacked off as the day has worn on, but I'm still limping. Ugh.

Anyway, that's my belated Thanksgiving break tale. Have a safe trip home, Sally.

stray said...

Wow, that hotel sounds like the absolute worst. I can't believe you'd never experienced the ubiquitous "green beans with mushroom soup and canned onions."

p.s. stray said...

Love the sculpture!

Namowal said...

Whoa, what a dump!
I bet the "holiday fee" shtick was a last ditch effort to rake in extra money. Sorry to hear about the urine-o-rama room.
I never heard of vanilla sauce for turkey. Years ago I read a poultry cookbook that urged readers to experiment with different spices but skip the vanilla.

Linda said...

I read this last night and didn't know what to say. I had such high hopes for Thanksgiving at the Virgin River Casino All-You-Can-Eat Buffet. When you told about it, it seemed like my dream-come-true way to spend Thanksgiving.

Especially after a drive through the rain and fog like that, this is just too much to bear...even with that yummy green bean and canned mushroom soup casserole.

Sally said...

Hope the pain has gone away, A Wanderer. That sounds very unpleasant, and I feel for you.

Stray, for some reason I never tasted them before.

Namowal, we're going to have to find a new "usual route" because we're definitely not stopping there again.

Linda, in theory it sounds appealing, but only in theory. It was Sadville, USA.