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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.


Cold Showers and Sunsets

Ohio sunset 07-29-2013

If travel wasn’t interesting, it wouldn’t be fun. Keep in mind, though, that the phrase “May you have an interesting life” is both a blessing and a curse.

I mentioned yesterday that I had a blast in Athens, but all good times have to come to an end. I waved goodbye to Curator Jessica at the Athens Museum around 7 p.m., which put me right on my planned departure time of 4 p.m., as calculated in Steinhoff Standard Time.

Heading west into the setting sun can be a bit challenging at times, but it finally gave up someplace about 80 miles from my starting point. When it decided to go to sleep, it went quickly.

No No-Smoking, no sale

I had hoped to get as far as Cincinnati, so I started looking for lodging in the Florence, Ky., area, west of there. The first place I checked had only one room available and it was a smoker. No sale.

The second wanted $101. The third was even more proud of its rooms: that chain wanted $139. I didn’t have Friend Anne along this trip, so I couldn’t even pull the old “we’re newlyweds who have had a spat and need separate rooms at a discount to save our marriage” argument.

Just as I was resigned to heading west another hour or so to get to the cheap seats, I spotted a [Name withheld] Motel. It had an older look and the parking lot was filled with at least two dozen 18-wheelers, most of them car haulers. The lobby was a bit smoky. One of the guys behind the front desk sported a fair array of jailhouse tattoos. I hope that’s what they were, because if they weren’t, he overpaid the “artist.”

“How much for a non-smoking room for one person for one night?”

“$53.96.”

Is it clean?

I can overlook a lot for the difference between $139 and $53.96. “Is it clean?”

“Yep.” (I wasn’t exactly sure his standards and mine were anywhere close, but I handed over my plastic and was awarded Room 251.)

It wasn’t bad. It had extension cords running all over the place to provide enough outlets for modern travelers, but I’d rather have that than no power. The Wi-Fi was fast enough and didn’t require a password. The AC sounded like a jet taking off every time the compressor kicked in, but it did put out cool air. The bed was great.

I set the alarm for 9:45 and slept like a log. I got up, checked my mail and figured I had just enough time to jump in the shower, pack up and be out by the 11 a.m. checkout deadline.

Tub had funky uni-knob

I turned the water on in the tub. It had one of those uni-knobs where you don’t know what the setting is, so I turned it full left and got cold water. I turned it full right and got cold water. I turned on both taps in the sink and got cold water. I was beginning to detect a pattern. I called the front desk. “Does this place not have hot water or does it just take a long time to get to 251?” I asked in what I hoped was a pleasant tone.

“It’s broken,” a harried female voice said, “We have someone on the way to fix it.”

When I got to the lobby, all the trucks had pulled out and there was a zoom of motorcycle riders getting ready to leave. The woman I supposed attached to the earlier harried voice was talking with some guests who were checking out. (She must have gone to the same tattoo artist as the night guy, by the way.) I overheard her saying to a coworker, “I’m not going to have anything in my drawer by the end of the morning.”

“I guess I’m not going to make your day any better,” I said. “The last time I stayed in a hotel without hot water was in 1958. What can we do to make it right?”

“I can knock $20 off,” she said.

“Look, I’m not looking for a free room. I slept very well last night. On the other hand, I’m going to have to smell myself for another six hours. How about we split the cost of the room?”

She agreed, so I got a good night’s sleep for $28.96 instead of $139 at a fancy joint. I don’t think I’ll be going back again, though.

Rain slowed me down

Rest stop somewhere in IL 07-30-2013

When I called Mother to tell her I was rolling west this morning, she warned me that I was going to run into a bunch of rain. I paused to put on a fresh coat of Rain-X on the windshield.

Traffic was light and running smoothly for the most part. My Waffle House breakfast had scarcely settled before the first splatters of rain showed up. The splatters put their hands together and turned into heavy rain. Fortunately, that didn’t last too long. The next three or four hours were just light, steady rain.

Rain at the rest stop snagged me

It wasn’t the rainfall while driving that slowed me down. It was the rainfall when I stopped to take a short nap at an Illinois rest area. I’ve written about how I usually set my alarm for 22 minutes, then wake up refreshed enough to log another three or four hours.

This afternoon I decided I wasn’t THAT sleepy, so I set it for 17 minutes and dozed off to the sound of the rain pounding softly on the roof above me. When the alarm went off, I liked the sound well enough to tack on another 12 minutes.

Twice.

If I hadn’t needed to get moving, I think I could have dozed to that for hours.

So, I’m back in Cape for a few days. I’m afraid to turn on the hot water tap.

8 comments to Cold Showers and Sunsets

  • Carla Jordan

    Welcome back! Rest up.

  • Terry Hopkins

    Now read the whole piece and found you got great bargain on your ROOM. Way to go Dude…1/2 price is sweet! Bathing is quite over rated in by some areas you could have just jumped in the pool!

  • Margi Whitright

    We camped at Camp Sawyer in the Keys with our Boy Scout troop for a week without hot water. The boys tried to convince me they had hot water in their showers and I was about to throttle them! Thank goodness it was warm weather there. Besides, the warmer the sulphur water the worse it smells!

  • Wimp. A cold shower every now and then is necessary to make us appreciate hot showers. Americans are soft. And damn proud of it! I can’t believe you knocked her down half for cold water. Jeez, if we’d done that in Asia the room would have been $1.75. Feel guilty.

    • When the motel is part of a national chain with the word “Quality” in their name and the bathroom has a big placard touting how good their shower is, then I expect there to be a hot shower waiting for me.

      I admitted that I slept well, so I didn’t try to get the whole room comped out. I thought a 50% knock-off was fair.

  • Loved the story and your descriptions of your “landlord and assistants” Hey, can’t beat it for $27.

  • Just tweaking you Ken. Claire would do the same; she’s our negotiator, in languages she doesn’t even know.

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