Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Hawthornes Have An Experience In Rawlins - The Sphincter Of Wyoming.

Sometimes, circumstances are beyond our control.
What starts out as a minor irritation
snowballs, and turns into something else altogether.

That's what happened in Rawlins, Wyoming,
a town I like to consider as the Sphincter of Wyoming.

One can only laugh and roll with the punches.
One must dust oneself off and carry on
 with a stiff upper lip.

I like to think of our experience in Rawlins
as "The Perfect Storm."

The planets were all in alignment.
The moon was in the proper phase.
The tides,  at least a mile above sea level,
contributed to the mix.
And God has a great sense of humor.
The scene was set.
All the Hawthornes had to do
was fall down into the rabbit hole.

Today, Tuesday, was a travel day.
The Hawthornes were on the road all day.
We are headed to Cody, Wyoming,
But the trip couldn't be made in one day.
(Well it could, but we're not masochists.)

I made reservations for the night
in Rawlins, Wyoming.

After traversing the Continental Divide,
which, no doubt, messed up our mojo,
we entered Rawlins.
Around 2:30 PM.

Of course, 
we are hungry
and looking for sustenance.
I check out the Garmin 
and the AAA Tour Book for Wyoming
and there are two restaurants which catch our attention.
One is a Thai place, Anong's,
which is our first choice.
According to my AAA Tour Book,
"This popular restaurant features well-prepared and
reasonably-priced Thai cuisine.
Some dishes can be very spicy."
The other is the Aspen House.
AAA writes, "Unique dining choices
 with eastern and western influences.
Oriental with Szechuan,
blackened and Cajun dishes, grilled steaks,
stir-fries, and seafoods are all made fresh
and brought to you by a friendly, willing staff."
Don't worry.
I won't be ordering "fresh" fish in Wyoming.
I had such high hopes.

Stomachs growling, headaches imminent,
and tensions mounting,
we head to Anong's.
We arrive at 2:35.
Anong's closed at 2 PM.

I think not.
I think bigger things are at work here.

On the same road into town is the second restaurant choice.
Aspen House.
It has BEEF.
I want COW.
When we arrive, this restaurant, too, is closed.

The clouds are swirling.
They are darkening.
Something beyond our control is happening.

Rosie is more than happy to go with the flow.
What else can she do?
There are forces here
that she can't fight.
I realize that immediately.

I've already had two strikes.
I tread softly,
with a sure foot.
When in Rome ...

I call the Choice Privileges program,
of which I've been a member for years.
Whenever the Hawthornes travel,
we use the Choice Privileges program.
You've seen the commercials.
"Stay 2 nights.
Get 1 night free."


This is DECEPTIVE, FALSE, and MISLEADING advertising
and I take every chance I get 
to call out Choice Privileges on this CRAP.

I can't believe the Attorneys General
or the Better Business Bureaus haven't
pulled the rug out here.

Their system is all based on points.
You get "x" number of points 
at whatever hotel you stay at;
and this pointage varies,
depending on the location.
You redeem the points at whatever hotels
 require fewer points than what you have amassed.

It ain't two fer one.
It's all about the points.
Which brings me to the location.
And you know what they say about location:

every afternoon when the Hawthornes are on the prowl
to our next destination,
I call the 888 number and make a reservation
for the evening.

I call Tuesday afternoon
and request a rezzie at the Comfort Inn

They're totally booked.

I'm scratching my head
since we've driven past the Comfort Inn 
and the parking lot is EMPTY.
Plus, this town is DEAD.
I've never been anywhere 
that I couldn't book a room.
And we've been across and back the entire United States.
Never EVER have I encountered a booked hotel.

I request another hotel in town that's in their program
and I get a "Quality" Inn.
I book the room and the Hawthornes have a nest for the night.

Mr. Hawthorne berates me for not calling sooner
and getting the "Comfort" Inn.
I tell him to shut the fuck up because I'm pissed already.
Plus I'm damn hungry and I have a headache
and my eye is twitching now.
Mama Hawthorne used to be the only one
who could get my eye to twitch.
Now it's happening involuntarily.

Sooo, the Hawthornes have a hotel room.
All we need to do is eat.
We drive through downtown Rawlins.
Every eatery is closed.
I finally espy a "sports" establishment/restaurant
and order Mr. H. to park.
If you haven't figgered it out already,
Rosie is desperate.
We park and I cross the street.
 I meet a terrifically pleasant and helpful gentleman
and ask about the venue.
"Hi, can you tell me something about this restaurant?
Would you recommend it?"

"Oh it's great," he responds.
"Come back on Thursday when we open up."

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance

 My head is bloody, but unbowed.

I had to recite "Invictus"
in the 9th grade 
and I still remember every line.
Somehow this stanza seemed a propos.
Nonplussed, I beg him to recommend a restaurant.
He gives me two.
One is Rose's Lariat, a Mexican restaurant
and a holeinthewall.
My kind of place.
Mr. Hawthorne nixes this,
since Mexican ain't on his damn "diet."
The other restaurant the fine gentleman offers
In a sparkling silver diner car.
 I HATE sparkly shiny silver diner cars.

Of course, Mr. Hawthorne drives to Penny's.

I order the least objectionable item on the menu.
With buffalo meat.
I'm trying to sample the "local cuisine."
I do not like the shredded cheese 
that comes in the bags.
It's tasteless.
Their bleu cheese ain't too bad though.
At least it was homemade.
They made an effort.
The buffalo meat was overcooked,
dry, and basically inedible.
I used some of Mr. Hawthorne's oil and vinegar
dressing to dip the dry buffalo chunks in
to try and give it some life.
Didn't work.


Mr. Hawthorne ordered the salad with grilled chicken.
He picked off the cheese and gave it to me.
I didn't want it.

I ordered fries.
Extra crispy.
We both made a point of telling
the waitress extra crispy.

These are the fries.
More mush than crisp.

Dejected, we head back to the hotel.
I always request a first floor room
since we travel with quite a bit of gear -
my cameras, my laptop, a plug in cooler,
my box of maps and AAA books, etc.
We always need a cart to get our crap
to the room.
Naturally, a first floor room is unavailable
and we have to lug everything up to the second floor.

The room isn't all that bad;
although we have our usual complaints:
  •  the lack of and stupid placement of the outlets;
  • the sink is not in the bathroom;
  •  there is no remote control;
  • the TV picture is so snowy you can't see it;
  • the refrigerator is broken; and my personal favorite
  • There is NO ABC so I can't watch Dancing With The Stars.
Other than this,
the place is just GREAT!

On one of my many trips to the truck
to bring in stuff I forgot,
I noticed these boys grilling outside their room.
The best looking food I've seen yet.

Rosie wants to go out and buy a six pack
and go downstairs to party and partake,
but Mr. Hawthorne ain't having it.

Kill joy.

Check this out!

Funny thing.
The next night at a different hotel,
I was uploading my pictures,
and I found this beautiful rainbow.
I don't remember seeing any rainbow in Rawlins.
Am I having a senior moment?
I don't remember taking this picture.

That's because I didn't.
Mr. Hawthorne shot the picture
while I was taking my shower.
He was patiently waiting to see how long
 it would take me to find it.
I told you God has a sense of humor.

But wait!
This whole ordeal keeps getting better and better.

You know how the Hawthornes travel.
Choice Privileges hotel room every night.
We have the "free" "continental" breakfast every morning.
Someone, please tell me what continent
has these breakfasts?

Well, there's a wrench thrown in.
The desk manager at the "Quality" Inn in Rawlins
informs us there is no "free" "continental" breakfast
at their inn.
This is a first for us.
But they do have a restaurant/pub on site
and they serve a "wonderful" breakfast
and she gives us a coupon for 50% off
since we're guests at the hotel.

Armed with my 50% off coupon,
we enter the Hoot & Howl
for breakfast the next morning.

The cigarette smoke is so thick
that we immediately leave.
As I disgustedly walk down the hallway
back to our hotel room to pack and
leave this Gawdawful place toot suite,
I'm bitchin' about the smoke.
Now this is a little after 7 AM.

We meet a gentleman with 3 beers in each hand
and back and front pockets packed with beers
returning to the Hoot & Howl.
Apparently, he's just getting off the night shift
and partying with his buddies in the Hoot & Howl before crashing
 and he overhears my moanin' and bitchin'.
He tells us to go past the pub part
and there's a restaurant area in the back
with no smoke.
We thank him and turn back to the H & H
for breakfast.
I don't know how the smoke knows to stop
at the pub area and not flow into the restaurant area,
but whatev ...

Here's our Good Food table.

Not only Good Food,
but Good Times, too.
Love the caddy for condiments and straws.

Our waitress came and we ordered drinks.
Coffee and OJ for me.
Water for Mr. H.

Notice the well-stocked pantry.
And the typewriter.

Shortly after we arrived,
a young mother came in with her two boys.
I think the boys might have been 9 1/2  months apart.
We learned she was moving to Rawlins.
Her husband had found work here as a welder.

Remember, I said the Comfort Inn was totally booked
and we couldn't understand why,
since this town looked like a ghost town.
We looked at the parking lot at the "Quality" Inn,
and there was nothing but dusty, beat up pick-up trucks.
Workers are coming in at 7-8 in the morning 
after working 3rd shift.
Apparently, there's a refinery around here hiring.

I felt sorry for that woman and her two small boys.
This is a town I would not want to live in.
A future here doesn't seem much of a future.
The older boy was all over the place
and the younger child had a horrible croupy-sounding cough.
The mother looked exhausted.

This is one of the few times I noticed our waitress.

The place is filling up.

Mr. Hawthorne and I perused the menu,
which actually looked impressive.

He ordered whatever protein and no fat/carb
he could have on his damn diet.

I noticed Eggs Benedict on the menu
and ordered that.

The waitress told me they didn't have the sauce (Hollandaise)
and did I want cheese on top.
I declined and ordered the croissant with eggs and bacon.
I'm really looking forward to breakfast now.

But something is amiss.
I can feel it.
And so can Mr. Hawthorne.
That should tell you something.

First, I don't like that the waitress didn't write anything down.
Mr. Hawthorne and I both made extra requests
that I don't think will be acknowledged.

I asked for my extra crispy hash browns.
Don't really believe I'll get them.

Mr. H. asked for skim milk.
"What," our waitress asked?
"Skim milk," Mr. Hawthorne repeated.
  Do you know what skim milk is?"
And I can totally believe that our waitress
would have no knowledge of skim milk,
just sayin'.
"It's milk with no fat."
"We don't have that."
"Well never mind."

Our waitress leaves,
presumably to turn in our order.
Well, she really couldn't turn it in,
since she didn't actually write it down.
So, we can only assume
  she verbally communicated it to the cook.

When our waitress leaves,
we turn to each other and say at the same time,
"You wanna take bets?"

We both have one of those feelings in our guts
that tells us, "It will be a miracle if she gets this right."
We know she won't
So we wait.

And we wait.

And we wait some more.

I have the time stamps on my pics.

We entered this "restaurant" at 7:30.

Around 8:00, I'm checking my email on my phone
and I have notes from both Mar and XKT
that I had TYPOS on my last post
about the Million Dollar Highway.
So I tell Mr. Hawthorne I'm going back to the room
and correct my post on my laptop.
He actually tells me not to go
because as soon as I leave, 
"They'll bring our breakfast."

Silly man.

I DON'T THINK SO, Mr. Hawthorne.


I'm trotting out of the "restaurant"
and video-ing.
I try to be unobtrusive,
but I got busted.

"You takin' pichers of us?"

"Oh, gentlemen,
you look like you're having fun.
May I take a picture?"

"Sure, little lady!" 

I have to give these guys 
They've been partying since around 7 AM.

It's 8AM and they're all hootin' and hollerin'
and got a good buzz goin' on.
I want to join this table.

Now, I'm running up to the room
to take care of my typos,
and I notice this in the stairwell.

Excuse me,
but we have a CRAP TV in our room
and you have a stack of flat screen
VIZIO's in the stairway????
What is wrong with this picture?

I try to get their gay repartee on the way back in.
I made the necessary corrections
on my Kitchens Are Monkey Business Post,
and get back to the "restaurant."
To an empty table.
Oh, Mr. H. is still there,
but there's no food.

I'm laughing.
One must laugh.
One can't take this seriously.
One must laugh in these sitchayshuns.
I come back to the table
and there is poor, lonesome Mr. H.
All alone with his water
and my OJ.

We wait some more.

In the meantime,
the young mother left with her two babies.
(She'd ordered too.)
The gentlemen sitting in the booths opposite us
also left.

We make jokes about the one-armed/one-legged cook in the kitchen.
It is now 8:20.

We entered at 7:30.

Fifty minutes.
 No waitress.
No food.
No service.
No nothing.
I'm loving this.

I told Mr. Hawthorne,
"Fuck it, I ain't waiting anymore.
This is ridiculous."

There's no sign of our waitress.

We leave $3 on the table for a cup of coffee, water, and a glass of OJ.
Plus, I leave my 50% off coupon.
And we leave.

Good riddance.

We didn't leave a tip.

I still think we left too much.

And just GUESS where Mr. Hawthorne goes for breakfast.

If you guessed  Shiny Penny's sparkly diner,
you would be correct.
As if one bad meal wasn't enough,
he goes back for freakin' seconds.

Mr. Hawthorne ordered a rubbery, overcooked omelet
which came with hash whites which he can't eat
because HE'SONADIET.

I ordered two sunny side up eggs with uncooked whites,
undercooked bacon,
and hash beiges.

I picked at this,
 dipping my wheat toast in the runny yolks,
trying to eat it.
I was unsuccessful.

Rosie couldn't eat.

I asked Mr. Hawthorne for the keys to the truck
and sat in the truck until he finished his "breakfast."

He tells me I'm "spoiled."
 Call it whatever you want.
I ain't eatin' any more CRAP!

If you see this sign in Rawlins, Wyoming,
keep on going.
Run away.
Very fast.


Anonymous said...

had previously enjoyed reading about your cross-country journey, but now your posts are really getting pathetic. all this bitching and moaning about the horrific food you are forced to endure is just boring already. i think you just like to complain. buy a loaf of bread and some meat and cheese and make yourself some sandwiches. you did say you have a cooler right?

Anonymous said...

Wow, Rosie, sorry the trip is going to badly. Well, foodwise at least. Hope the scenery is better than the food!
vera charles

Anonymous said...

OK, that was supposed to be "so badly". Damn typographical errors!!!


Marilyn said...

Rosie, I would have sent that breakfast back. There is no excuse for undercooked eggs, bacon and hash browns.

I, for one, appreciate reading how it is. And Mr. H needs to 86 the diet pronto. That seems to be at the root of most of your dining woes.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Vera, the trip isn't going badly at all. We are enjoying ourselves immensely. We're in Montana now. Going into Yellowstone tomorrow. And Montana is the most beautiful state we've ever been in.

Mar, I didn't want to send it back. I just wanted to get out of Rawlins.

And Dear Anony, I don't want to eat sandwiches. I want to experience the foods offered in restaurants and offer my opinions on them. And I've had some lovely meals along the way. See here:

And that doesn't include the good ones I've had since we left Rawlins.

Would you really want me to sugarcoat a bad meal? I think not. That's the beauty of "freedom of speech." Both you and I can voice our opinions.

And if you ever find yourself in Rawlins, Wyoming, may I recommend the Hoot & Howl for your dining pleasure?

Anonymous said...

Oh Rosie, now I know you're a glutton for punishment: ordering eggs benedict from a motel restaurant?? I can only hope it's the altitude or lack of food that caused this serious lapse in judgement.
And screw the other anonymous, good food or bad, I enjoy reading about your experiences.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

As for ordering Eggs Benedict:

Why not? They were offered on the menu. Why not? One never knows. Could have been marvelous.

Or, on the other hand, as others have suggested, perhaps, just maybe, I was setting myself up for failure so I could bitch and moan about the experience.

Nah. That's not me.
I tell it like I see it.

zzzadig said...

The Rawlings of 1971 wasn't one iota better. That grouse on the manifold sounds good now doesn't it?

Marilyn said...

Well, now you know why those guys were grilling kabobs out on the hotel patio. That seems to be the only way they were going to get decent food in that town. You really should have joined them!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Mar, if I'd known then what I know now, I probably would've. Everybody here was in construction, so they'd been staying at the motel for quite some time. They knew.

And Zzzadig, I might try a prairie dog on the manifold. Plenty of them out here.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Hey Anony #2! I thank you for your support.

Would anyone want to read about my sandwiches? I think not. Even though, Food Network crowned Jeff Mauro the Sandwich King.
See here:

BTW, he doesn't know what he's talking about. I watched him, half-assedly the other week, and he was talking about cilantro. He actually said the seed of cilantro was CUMIN! Not coriander. Douche.

SweetPhyl said...

Rosie...that's the funniest weary traveler post I think I've ever read. Love the condiment caddy...and the name "Hoot and Howl" is priceless. Thanks for my midday chuckle!

Tell Mr. H. that his diet be want FOOD or your delightfully charming personality will devolve into one big pile of mean ass beeeyotch!

Thanks for the traveling tales...

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Oh SweetPhyl, I think it's too late. Rosie + Bad Food = Bitch

Just wait until you hear about the Chinese we ordered the other night.

And before anybody starts ragging on me for ordering Chinese, just remember we've been on the road for 2 1/2 weeks, a different town every night, and we were exhausted.

And the place was recommended by the hotel desk clerk - the bastard.