Motel from Hell
Circa Feb 1996
many new to the airshow business, the idea of being a performer and traveling
from show to show is an exciting adventure. You
get to see new places, meet new people, and enjoy wonderful experiences.
the old hands, the enthusiasm to be “on the road again” is tempered by
memories of when things just didn’t go right.
for weeks, out of a suitcase you can fit into an aerobatic aircraft, long boring
hours of cross-country without an autopilot, fighting weather in a VFR Only
airplane, finding a place to wash your clothes, get a haircut, etc. etc.
The list goes on and on but what most performers seem to remember are the
to the proliferation of “chain” motels, an evening’s lodging could be best
described a chancy. You fly until the sun is setting below the horizon, scoot
into a small airport, staying away from the big metro facilities, and hopefully,
hop a ride into town with a friendly local; or you arrive at the show site,
tired and just wanting to rest, shower and get something good to eat after
seemly days of airport cracker machine cuisine.
Each time, in the back of your head, a little voice speaks, “They are
going to put you in the MOTEL FROM HELL!”
long time performer has a story of less then desirable billeting.
we descended the circuitous route to the valley floor, our guide informed us
that we would be staying at a small, independent motel owned by a fellow club
member. “Helped with the budget
don't you know.”
pulled into the parking lot of, well, a classic motel.
Oh well, after years on the circuit we thought we had seen it all and had
stayed at worse. Wrong!
the performers were checking-in, Doctor Butch Harbolt punched me in the ribs and
pointed to a sign, painted in 6" red block letters on the wall above the
teenage clerk. It said," NO
REFUNDS AFTER 30 MINUTES"
sign foretold what the rooms were like: carpet of undeterminable color, sway
back beds with see through sheets, and an undeterminable aroma that reminded one
of cigars, stale beer, sweat and fuel oil.
discriminating airshow performers, we elected to move to the Sheraton across the
highway. Cost was no object; visions
of slamming doors and cars coming and going all night assured us that we would
get no sleep. But as I walked back
to the office, I noticed a large group of people, what appeared construction
works, coming down the hill from that Sheraton.
There had been a fire and every guest of the Sheraton was being moved to
our "No Tell Motel." It
was either here or under the airplane’s wing.
it was not all that bad. The same
guy owned a liquor store next door and gave all motel guests a discount.
We needed that! Bought a bottle of 180
proof; poured it on
the shower stall floor!
the show sponsors’ have a little idea of why performers are so concerned by
“Where are we staying?”
if you can top any of the above, please forward a note describing your worst
“Motel from Hell” story to “World Airshow News” or firstname.lastname@example.org
winner will be chosen by a totally bias panel of “judges” and the winning
story(s) published in a future issue of WAN.
The judging will be overseen by representatives of the Cheatem, Cheatem,
and Howe drinking team and the voting results compiled by an accounting firm
consisting of second grade math students.
Are you kidding! We’re
saving up money to up-grade the next time we are billeted at “The Motel From