Monday, December 22, 2014

At the end of the day

I may not have always known exactly where I was during the past 2 hours, but this particular fact I'm sure of: the concrete bridge under my wheels at the moment is the last thing between me and dinner. After maybe a football field on the highway (w/shoulder), there's an exit, and like that, almost done. No huge hill to climb. No more struggles.

Except this line of orange cones at the right edge of the road. Very annoying! the fourth set of them since Leggett. They're standard issue except for a band of silver reflective tape. So it's a cost-saving measure, a cheaper, faster way to make a fog line than actually running the truck with white paint. A new trick... The cones don't create a shoulder so much as occupy most of that space, sending me too close to the cars for comfort. On the other hand, if I pass too close to a cone and hit one, they're bulky enough to take me down. Don't relax yet.

The bridge and the road curve around gently to the west, like they always have. There's the bend. Nothing is a straight line here, not the river or highway or side roads. So you can't see what's ahead. Where the bridge ends you can look up though, and I do.

Voila, in all its finery, the gingerbread Tudor outline of the Benbow Inn. A glittering spectacle against the dark hills. A most welcome sight!

Ah, the pomp and pageantry, the over-the-top Christmas display. The grandest, most luxurious hotel for hundreds of miles. That's exactly what lots of people like about this place. It's an escape from the dreariness of their lives. Like the Nutcracker ballet, a vision of wealth and comfort and good taste that's a world apart.

Tonight I like the location. Garberville is only 3 miles up the road, but as it happens those miles are one huge hill. Also it will be simpler, eating and sleeping in the same place. When you're exhausted, simple is key.

I remind myself that while it's not the cheapest option around for sleeping or for eating, I am employed. Paychecks are coming in. It's only $35 more than a motel up the hill. It's a splurge but a worthwhile one.

Unlike posh hotels in the big city, they take pride here in being welcoming and professional. The service is part of what you pay for. When I climb the many stairs, open the original door full of glass divided lights, the warm lobby is blazing and full of diners and partygoers. I approach the reception desk and the woman there doesn't even flinch. She doesn't say a word about the reflective vest, the black wool cappie that's staying right where it is, my bleary gaze.

She just takes me in.

1 comment :

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