Since our hike at McAfee Knob, I’ve been asked repeatedly: Where’s Part 3?
Even Mama Jo (my mother-in-law) asked Di what’s taking so long. What’s taking so long? Really? You had to ask?
Well, there’s this little thing called the XTREME HIKE. I guess I’ve been a little busy conditioning my body for 31 miles of hiking, and I haven’t quite mastered the art of typing and curling 100lb. dumbbells at the same time. I guess I’ve been spending too much time raising money for cystic fibrosis research—and BEATING OUR $5,000 GOAL. So yeah, I’ve been a little busy.
But I have fans to satisfy—two to be exact -- Mama Jo and Laura. So here’s Part 3.
First of all, Kim and LaDonna at CFF are the hardest-working women in the nonprofit world. They have done an amazing job leading an inaugural 31-mile charity hike—there’s a lot of crap that could’ve gone wrong, and it hasn’t because of them. So I know they had noble intentions when they negotiated the group rate at the Salem, VA Quality Inn. With that said…people could've DIED from that decision.
A few nights before the hike, I got a text from Di:
Di: Which Quality Inn are we staying at?
Me: The one in Salem?
D: There’s two Quality Inns… one got a good review…one has a review that says Run Away. Fast.
M: I’m sure we’re at that the good one.
D: Do you know the address?
(Found confirmation… plugged address into TripAdvisor.com…Mother #&@*$&!!!)
M: Find another hotel. Now.
D: You didn’t read the reviews first, did you?
M: Just find it. We can’t stay there.
D: I love you.
The reviews were scarier than anything Stephen King could’ve conjured up:
I was speechless when I walked into my room and discovered that there wasn't a faceplate over the electric outlet that the hair drier plugged into. This isn't simply "not up to code" (ANYWHERE). Next to a bathroom in a room with kids who can stick their wet fingers anywhere, without even a ground fault interrupt -- this could be life threatening….
Life threatening? Such an overreaction…
Upon entering the room you could smell a scent of moldiness. I looked over at the beds and there were three white tiny pillows on the bed and one had a fly on it. I figured...no big deal...it's a fly. That's when my nephew made his way over to the sliding glass doors and there were literally like 100 black beetles and bugs all over INSIDE the room near the glass. I then looked at the mattresses (I do this at all hotels I stay at to rule out any type of bed bugs) and noticed that the mattresses were old and gross and had black parts that could be bed bug infestations.
So it has bugs….big deal, right? 99% of Virginia Beach hotels have bug infestations…
First, there was a pill on the bathroom floor. The corners of the bathroom were full of dirt, the bathtub had large amounts of mildew in the corners, and the drain was very slow and left you standing in a puddle of water. The frames around both the internal door and the sliding door were loose, and appeared as if they had been kicked in and tacked back on. The air conditioner filters were completely occluded. The wallpaper, as well as plates for switches had very evident dirt.
Pills on the floor? What’s the problem? Sounds like college or a Saturday night without kids. And who uses 'occluded' in a review? Nerds.
From spiders to their eggs, to dirty tub and toilet, doors on the ground floor with faulty locks, sheets with cigarette ashes, this inn is quality not.
We found a dirt towel in the bathroom which looked like it had bodily fluids on it. We were completely grossed out. The bed and comforter were also disgusting. The carpeting looked 100 years old. Zero water pressure in the bathroom sink and the bathtub was completely clogged.
This place was filthy and run down. I wouldn't even take a shower, the tub was so dirty and disgusting with prior guest's pubic hair.
It just astounds me that someone would actually take a piece of clearly moldy bread and cook it as french toast. I don't think it's possible to cook french toast without looking at it, unless there's an automatic french toast maker I'm unaware of. Otherwise, someone soaked a piece of VERY MOLDY BREAD in an egg mixture, and then fried it. You could still see the mold after it was cooked. And they still left this crap out for people to eat.
I figured the free hot breakfast would be a positive. NOT ! There was no waffle batter, there were no biscuits for the gravy and there was no coffee in the pots. I took 2 small pastries, 2 yogurts and 2 hard boiled eggs for myself and my husband. Got back to the room with it and took a bite from the egg, IT WAS AWFUL !
No coffee at the cont. breakfast
No coffee at the cont. breakfast
Ok… the food is bad…but there was NO COFFEE??? WTF?!?!? Now THAT’S UNACCEPTABLE. There was no way I was staying at a place without coffee.
Unbeknownst to the rest of the group, we switched our hotel reservation to LaQuinta. I guess I feel a little guilty for not sending a mass email to let everyone know about the lack of coffee, but they’re all literate adults (I think)… they could’ve read the reviews for themselves.
On the way to the trailhead the next morning, Di and I asked a few hikers how the room was. Dead silence. Finally, Bob spoke up—“If my wife had been here, there’s no way we could’ve stayed there.” We heard stories of patio doors that couldn’t be closed, mold everywhere (beds, sinks, mattresses), and air conditioners lying in disrepair on the floor. Elizabeth told us that when she checked in, the front desk gave her Gavin an Samantha’s room—when she explained that she wasn’t Gavin and Samantha, the employee told her “whatever”—which made things interesting for Gavin and Samantha during check-in.
After the hike, Di and I went back to the cozy room Corey, Eric, and Todd were sharing—and saw the hotel for ourselves. It was all true. All of it. This place is nightmare fuel. All it needed was a dude stalking the halls in a hockey mask—and I bet we would’ve seen him had we stayed longer.
My biggest regret in life: Not taking more pictures of the Quality Inn.
|Razor blade in the toilet?? AWESOME.|
I could spend the rest of my evening describing the hotel’s condition, but I think the TripAdvisor reviews give you the general idea. I did see two messages worth noting:
This was the note left on Todd’s unmade bed. Apparently, the 1-pound portable camping stool left at the foot of his bed was way too heavy to be moved… or, the housekeeper didn’t have arms (I was thinking she wrote the note with her teeth—but she probably doesn’t have those either—so I have no idea how she wrote it).
I saw another note as we were running out of the building. It apologized for the temporary lack of COLD water in parts of the building (dated August 5). The absence of cold water was confirmed by the hikers who took flesh-melting showers the night before. Who runs out of cold water??
Eric swears there was a freezer out back with a “Dead Hooker Storage” sign—but I find that hard to believe. This doesn’t seem like a hotel that would be inclined to HIDE hookers or dead people.
This concludes Part 3…and there is no Part 4, because I gotta go raise some more money and get a few more workouts in before Saturday’s BIG FREAKIN’ XTREME HIKE.