I’m not sure why. As you can see, the Chief does not stint on amenities. You get your warm beds, your cold beer, your WiFi and your dish TV. Not to mention your ice machine, conveniently located right out by the highway next to your tasteful sign. Although if I had to guess, I’d say the ice machine is out of service at the moment.
I’ve never stayed at the Chief Motel. Whenever I’m near it I’m also pretty near family, where I can bunk for free. But I’m always tempted by places like this. I wonder about the cold beer: Is it complimentary, or does it come in a mini bar? Or do you get a voucher for the convenience store down the street?
Yeah, I’m being facetious. My guess would be, they’ll sell you a six of frosty Ice House when you check in. Even so, that’s not something you see at a Super 8.
When you consider all the callings in America that have become obsolete over the years, you think first of print journalist. But right after that comes independent motel owner. In the age of homogenized everything, nobody’s willing to risk a night’s sleep at a joint where they don’t ask you for your rewards card and the vacancy sign is missing a couple of letters.
I’m that way myself. This time of year in Montana, the Super 8s and LaQuintas and Hawthorne Suites will rob you blind, but you pay up because maybe they’ll ask the bikers next door to keep it down. Maybe they’re serious about the no-smoking rooms. And maybe you’re not sure you want to hike out to the highway to get your ice.
Right now though, I’m thinking of changing it up a little. I have a long drive back to Florida coming up in a couple of weeks. I think I’ll make it a point to avoid the chains, just as I’ve been avoiding the interstates. Mostly it’s curiosity. You still see mom-and-pop motels like the Chief along the back roads; how do they survive? Is it cheaper rates? If so, great. Is it by compromising on standards regarding cleanliness and clientele? If so, not so great. Maybe it’s just the memorable signage. We’ll see.
Anyway, the plan is to post a picture and mini-review of each stop along the way. Don’t worry: I won’t ask you to guess where they are. I may ask for money if I happen to get robbed.