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   Bear and Mark visit California and the Wild River Inn
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California Bound

Bear and I made a holiday trek this year from good old rainy Portland to Southern California to visit my family and friends for the holiday. Having attended college in Portland and now returning to settle, I'm well acquainted with just about every meter of the I-5 between Tijauna and BC. For the most part, the drive is monotonous. There's not a whole lot to look at once you leave Oregon and it's pretty straight. The only real highlight to the trip is deciding where you're going to stop for the night.

In my younger (i.e., poorer days), I used to attempt the trip in a single day. If I did stop it was usually somewhere off the beaten path where you could sacrifice your own hygiene and sense of safety for a good rate on a run down room in some town that has since been forgotten by the modern world. Now that Bear's along for the ride, I find that we usually take our time and tend to stay in places that don't othwerwise charge by the hour. That's why I was so delighted with the Wild River Inn.

This hotel was probably the nicest hotel in Grants Pass Oregon when it opened and it turns out that the owners were so proud of its decor that they vowed never to change a single thing to this day. From a distance, the Wild River Inn looks just like any other hotel located next to a major freeway. But once we pulled up to the main office, I knew we were in for a treat.

hotel decor

The Bears were even more magnificent when we pulled in that night, both of them shining faintly under the glow of a pale moon. But what transpired next sealed the deal for me. I cautiously entered the lobby where I was greeted by a middle aged gentleman who was working the desk that evening. We exchanged the usual pleasantries and then set down to business. Since it was a busy holiday week, I was assuming that the room rates would be out of this world.

I was ready to negotiate. I asked the man if he had any rooms available, to which he responded that he did. "So how much are they?" I inquired, trying not to look too tired from the drive. "40 dollars," he responded. I was so taken aback that I told him he had a deal. It wasn't until I had already signed the credit card receipt when it struck me that this was way better than reasonable. I was suddenly worried. Bear was waiting patiently in the car and I had just paid for a room that was really too good to be true.

I tried to be delicate about it, but I just wanted to sleep and wasn't in the mood to find a dead hooker under the bed. "Are your rooms . . . Nice?" I asked the man. And that's when I knew we were in for a real treat. He looked at me sincerely and replied "well, it's no Holiday Inn . . ."

Truer words could not have been said about the Wild River Inn. It was no Holiday Inn. But it wasn't until we set foot into our room that we understood why.

The hallways were a garrish display of pastels that probably inspired the design to Circus Circus. I was expecting to be accosted by a clown at any moment. I cautiously put the room key (not a card, not a key on a chain, just a key) into the lock and turned the tumblers to discover what was probably a local haunt for swingers some thirty years ago.

hotel art

Like the hallways, the room itself was painted in a series of pastel blues and pinks, but the real treat was the art. This wasn't your run of the mill hotel room art, this was an actual mural painted above the sinking bed. It was magnificent.

hotel room

But the one thing that really spooked me was the antiquated intercom system. This was right out of a Sean Connery bond film where moviegoers in the day were impressed by the clunky gadgets we take for granted today. Set into the wall was an actual intercom system. I don't know who it connected to, and I wasn't really eager to find out.

swanky hotel

What really got me was the thought that someone else could have been listening to our every movement. After all, if we could call out, then certainly someone somewhere was on the other line waiting to receive our call. So Bear and I evacuated to the hotel lounge.

The lounge was your typical Oregon dive. Plenty of video poker and second hand smoke. But we were in for even a bigger treat. Not only was it ladies night, but it was also karaoke night. There wasn't an empty seat in the house. The locals looked like what you'd expect small town oregonians to look like, but the real treat was that a girl was there celebrating her 21st.

I was too afraid to snap a picture of what happened next, but they called her on stage and asked her to bring a male friend with her. The crowd cheered and jeered as the bartender brought up a shot with whipped cream on it (this is known as a blowjob). The KJ seated the young man in a chair and placed the shot between his legs. Then she instructed the birthday girl to get down on both knees with her hands behind her back and attempt to do the shot.

The crowd as hooting and hollering, when I noticed a man getting up close to take pictures of the ordeal. The KJ then announced that the man that I had taken for a complete pervert was in fact the birthday girl's father. Just another snapshot for the family photo album I guess . . .

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