September 12th, 2002
Day 148

Start: Flint, MI
Finish: GrandRapids, MI

Miles Today: 117
Miles to Date: 13740
Trooper Mileage: 182661

The previous night I got as far as Flint, Michigan. Fatigue was setting in, and I needed to stop. So, on the eastern side of town I found what seemed to be the least expensive motel around - some sort of Budget Inn, or something like that. It looked a little tattered from the outside, and wasn't exactly located in the upscale section of town (I assume Flint has an upscale section) but what the hell - it was cheap.

The clerk's desk was piled with papers, the computer was ancient, and the staff wasn't exactly in any kind of company uniform.

I checked in, then took a look around. The furniture in the lobby was early Salvation Army. The windows were dirty. A pile of paint cans and other "remodeling" debris sat by the door behind the office. As I went up to the room, I noticed the hallway lights were practically nonexistent. The room itself was reasonably clean, about as clean as you could make one in a building that was decaying from neglect. There were nail-holes in the walls where some of the "artwork" was obviously missing. The security bar on the sliding door was bent and just about broken off its hinge. It was still warm, and the air conditioner was noisy and didn't cool very well.

There weren't any roaches around, but that made me a little concerned about what sorts of chemicals they were spraying around there to keep them down. Maybe best not to walk around in my bare feet.

At least the TV worked. For a while.

I wasn't in the room more than 10 minutes when the power went out, simultaneously with a loud "boom" somewhere off in the distance.

I wandered out, passing the pool along the way, which appeared to be empty, but at this point I figured I really didn't want to get too close to see if anything was in it. Probably the pool furniture. Or maybe a Plymouth.

As I wandered out front, as did the rest of the clientele. Interesting crowd, lots of younger people (20's), and lots of tattoos. None of them had a particularly threatening aspect about them, but let's just say they weren't the type of people you'd find staying at the Four Seasons. I chatted with a few of them, and my state of unemployment seemed to make me an automatic member in good standing of some sort of blue-collar club. I didn't fill in too many details on my background lest I jeopardize my membership.

As a few fire trucks and police cars went whizzing by, a few started to speculate that maybe there had been a terrorist bomb or something - I thought that a little ridiculous - it would be a waste of ordinance in this area. As it turned out, a semi had flipped on the interstate and in the process took out a transformer and power pole. That explains the boom.

After about half an hour, I told the desk clerk that I had work to do that required electrical power to run my computer, and that I'd just as soon leave and go someplace else, and that I had not messed up the room. This person then started to feed me some line about how she wasn't authorized to give refunds, that I'd have to ask the manager, who was not available and wouldn't be until the next day. I told her that I paid for accommodations that I assumed would involve such luxuries as electricity, and that what I paid for wasn't being delivered. She then went about whining that it wasn't their fault the power went out. I made a few more attempts to reason with her, but she was being totally intractable so I decided it wasn't going anywhere.

As it got dark, they started using candles in the front office. The power finally came on about 3 hours later.

This place kind of reminded me of some places I've seen in some of the more remote parts of Mexico.

Anyway, in the morning I headed out and made it to Grand Rapids, to visit a former coworker and his wife, Bob and Maggie Lonngren.