Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Hotel House of Horrors Interlude

I know we're in the middle of a story this week, but Garret sent this to me, and it demands to be read. So here's an excellent sidebar about hotels, and I'll continue about the prospects camp on Monday.

Badeck Saskatchewan is one of those places that you remember vividly. A little out of the way stop-over that you remember every detail of... but has vanished into thin air like a ghost, and you begin to doubt whether or not it was ever really there. There is no trace of it on the internet, no presence, its not even on the map. I've kept an eye out for it the few times I've driven through along the same route in the intervening years... but I've never spotted it again.

Badeck was not a village, not even an unregistered hamlet. It was a roadstop somewhere an hour southeast-ish of Saskatoon consisting of a single motel (probably long since demolished) and a couple of farm houses. Only the motel sign circa 1960-odd even gave the place a name, one of those old fashioned signs with neon tubes and advertising Color TV. The only reason we stopped there was out of exhaustion and desperation.

We had been visiting family in Edmonton and were on the road back to Winnipeg, a 15 hour drive but we left late planning to stop mid-way in Saskatoon for the night. A nice easy trip home. Unfortunately when we arrived in Saskatoon the first hotel had no rooms left. Nor the second, nor the third. They called around for us, but there was not a hotel room to be found in the city thanks to the double-impact of an agricultural convention and a hockey tournament taking place that weekend. By time we decided to move on down the road it was already getting dark, and we were all exhausted and my younger sister had begun to cough.

At that age my sister had been suffering a lingering illness that by my impression seemed like it had been going on forever. When she tired she would begin to cough, and whether it was mucous or the continual dry hack it would keep her awake and unable to sleep for hours. Sometimes she would cough until she had difficulty breathing or expel that and sometimes her remaining dinner as well.

So in desperation my parents decided to stop at the next opportunity, whatever it was, just long enough to rest so that we could continue the drive the next morning.

This is when we found the Badeck Motel.

A dingy little roadside motel with and bar with a gravel lot in the middle of nowhere, not a service station or anything in sight save a couple of nearby farms. My parents procured a room as far from the bar as they could get, by planning or chance I could not say. This is not a place where I expect anyone ever came to stay intentionally. It was a place where locals came to get drunk, and if they couldn't walk out the door they could sleep it off before slinking back home.

The room stank of cigarette smoke, sour beer, and garbage as it was fortuitously located with the only window and air intakes both overlooking the overflowing dumpster behind the door to the kitchen. The thickly carpeted floor stuck to our shoes and moved of its own accord from the creatures that happened to live in it. Pulling back the covers showed sheets so filthy and stained that the covers were replaced and we were instructed to sleep in our clothes, with our shoes on, on top of the covers.

I only remember trying to sleep and failing as my sister had a difficult night coughing and retching, unable to rest and being continually disturbed by her cough, the revving of four-wheel drive vehicles in the lot outside, and the blaring music from the bar that continued until nearly 3am. What little rest we got was then broken by the kitchen doing whatever preparation work they were going to do for the day starting at 6am at which point my parents decided they were not staying another minute.

We climbed into the car, exhausted, disheveled, and itching, and left with the intent of finding breakfast and gallons of coffee somewhere further down the road.

Anywhere further down the road.

I've driven the same route a number of times in the intervening years, and I have never again seen any sign of the Badeck Motel, though I look for it every time I pass by.

Did it really happen? Was it really there?

I can't say for sure one way or another. But I do remember.

Site Meter