Sunday, September 20, 2015

Salinas: The Bad, The Ugly, And The Happy Ending

The booking of the seedy hotel in Montery was not the end of our adventure. To sweeten the pot, we decided to stay one more night. My wife took charge and went to the main desk only to find that our little haven was in such demand than one more night would cost more than $60 more than the first night. Rather than reward the enterprising nature of our hotel manager, my wife decided to give me one more chance to prove the superiority of a computer master in the Information Age. I promptly found that almost every room in the whole town was previously engaged, unless we wanted to try spending $500 for a $100 room. I then widened the search and came up victorious with a $150 room that was a few minutes drive into the desert. We walked the town, seeking the otters and sea lions that we had enjoyed on a previous journey, but none were to be found.  We ate lunch at Islands, and had the Mahi sandwich, which was good, not great. I finally found the surf break, but the day was gloomy and the waves weren't worth photographing, so we began the journey that turned out to be the excitement of the day.
First, to say that Salinas is a few minutes into the desert is like saying the moon is closer than Mars. We drove on and on down a highway with no features but the occasional field of some plants and groups of pickers slaving away. The good news here was we stopped at a local truck stand and got some of the best strawberries we've ever had. We were heading towards the Laurel Inn, a place I'd never heard of and I was filled with forboding about what I would have to endure if it was another rathole.
I started to get the feeling that we were heading towards the town where all of the migrant workers had to live. I expected Payday loan stores, pawn shops, and abandoned storefronts. Instead, we pulled into a beautiful, seemingly recent-built town with all kinds of nice stores and places to eat. Eveen the hotel seemed a lot nicer than the Friday night stop and I pulled in with a smile on my face and sent my wife in to do the business of checking. It was then that I pulled up my receipt and saw with dismay that I had somehow booked the only "Smoking" room in the whole hotel. Since my wife is severely allergic to smoke and many other things, I thought I might need to mention this. I ran inside the hotel, hearing words like "yes, that is the last room we have!".....and blew my gaskets.
I would say in my defense, that I only blamed myself, loudly, but somehow exactly how I needed to do it because the manager overheard, and fixed the whole thing. We ended up a good room for a great price and a reccomendation to the best restaurant of the whole trip: The Hacidenda. If only we could somehow have managed to stay up past 9pm, we would have heard a great band perform on a stage that looked like large concert stage at a venure. In fact, the waitress told us that tickets were $25 to see a Banda.

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