Some Sketchy Hotels!

21 November 2023

Picture 1

It’s time to begin our Christmas tour!  This year, we are driving from home base in California to shows in Michigan (Dec 2) Texas (Dec 16) back to California (Dec 20) and Arizona (Dec 23).  The show in California is technically not a Christmas show – the promoter wanted to celebrate John Denver’s 80th birthday (Dec 31, 2023).  So, a lot of driving (to avoid airline fees and car rental fees) and a lot of hotels are ahead of us this month.  It got me to thinking about the higher cost of EVERYTHING! 

Dealing with high costs requires a certain amount of flexibility.  You have to lower your expectations.  You might not want to afford to stay in the usual hotels you count on (we used to stay exclusively at Comfort Inn Hotels) you might take a chance on a hotel with a lower rate.  That leads to staying in some sketchy hotels.

Jim Connor (author of “Grandma’s Feather Bed) told a story about staying in a blackfoot hotel.  You see, the hotel was not owned by Native Americans, he called it blackfoot, because that’s what your foot looks like if you walk around without socks.

The first sketchy hotel we stayed at was in 2008…it was the worst ever!  We kept looking for a chalk outline in the parking lot, and our pleas for clean towels and sheets were answered with, “We don’t have any”.  Lesson learned: no more Knight’s Inn (never, ever).

Take a good look at the picture #1.  Yes, that is the bathroom sink on the floor.  Just last year this lovely room was offered to us at a premium price.  We had to go back to the front desk twice to get a room that was not in complete disrepair.  Jim (a fixer) is constantly baffled by the incredibly bad handiwork he sees, even in good hotels!  Bad tile work, bad plumbing, bad carpentry (a ragged notch cut in a bathroom door because the toilet was in the way of the door opening – see picture #2).  Often, Jim repairs things in the room himself before he can relax.

Picture #2

Do you have a sketchy hotel experience?  Share it here! Remember the captcha code is case sensitive and there are NO Spaces in between characters. 


  1. Posted by: Connie

    And you didn’t warn the posse about Knights Inn until after you heard our horror story. Accommodations are always a gamble, sometimes they are fun and fabulous like a yurt village, other times its been a disaster. Always fun to see Jim Curry perform around the country. Happy Holidays. Connie

  2. Posted by: Anne

    Sorry Connie, lol, I thought we were the only ones who didn’t “know” about the Knight’s Inn. The yurts were fun. Las Vegas VRBO was as sketchy as heck!

  3. Posted by: Miriam Van Raalte

    Just a word of caution – NEVER put your suitcases on the floor. Best place for them is in the shower/bathtub to avoid bedbugs. AND, check the bare mattresses to make sure there are no little red dots – also a sign of the buggers. They will make their home in your clothing, luggage, or on YOU! Then you’ll end up completely fumigating your home upon arrival!

  4. Posted by: Anne

    Good advice Miriam. We check all around looking for those critters. Even nice hotels can have them and we do NOT want to bring them home!

  5. Posted by: Penny McDonell

    In his spare time need “Jim the Fixer” at our house please. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you both.

  6. Posted by: Anne

    Haha Penny! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  7. Posted by: Margie Hoff

    The first year we went to Monterey for the annual JD celebration, a friend and I stayed at the Thunderbird Motel in Marina. Blackfoot, indeed! When we got home, I wrote to AAA, who had it in their book, with 12 objections to the room. Bare bulbs, mis-matched faucets, balcony door that didn’t lock, no screen. The bed had been moved and they didn’t bother to repaint so you could see the outline of where the bed had been. I don’t even remember the rest, but “Thunderbird Motel” became a re-occurring joke. (And of course the Knight’s Inn in Big Bear.)

  8. Posted by: Anne

    Oh my! Sounds like you’ve been making memories, lol! The paint around the bed is funny!

  9. Posted by: Jane Cook

    Buy a UV Flashlight Black Light available on Amazon to detect bedbugs & other objectionable problems. After checking out 2 different rooms at the Motel 6 in Peoria, IL, we decided to opt for a different hotel. My husband while explaining to the young man at the counter why we were going elsewhere (mold in bathrooms, filthy carpets, beds that appeared to not have been made), added and “I’m worried about bedbugs.” “Oh no sir,” the young man cheerfully responded, “We got rid of those a month ago.” Haven’t been to a Motel 6 since! Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Jane! Motel 6 is off the list for sure! (Unless they want to pay for our hotels, then we highly recommend them!) Haha! I sell out easily!

  11. Posted by: Todd Long

    My worst recent experience was a Quality Inn west edge of Toledo Ohio. It being a “blackfoot” room was only the beginning of the issues. I took photos of moldy walls, only two builbs in room for lighting, light over sink didn’t work, one plug for charging phone (by sink). I too was looking for chalk outlines in lot and worried about vehicle & room security all night (bedbugs and lot lizards being two worries). I but was being frugal when redeeming my Choice Points while helping daughter out of a pinch

    I stay at least two nights out per week for work and avoid the lower level brands. This stay reaffirmed my expectations of this brand.

  12. Posted by: Anne

    Yes we’ve stayed at Quality Inns, they are all over the board…sometimes okay and sometimes uh-oh. Everything is so much more expensive now, we have to give the ‘lower level’ brands a try….but they are cringe-worthy sometimes!

  13. Posted by: John J

    My wife and I got a “budget” hotel room for two nights. There was a bug on the shower curtain that was bigger than a praying mantis! It didn’t move for two days, and we were afraid to touch it. It could have been dead!

  14. Posted by: Anne

    Oh Wow John! Maybe it was a small bird!? Best to leave that alone for sure!

  15. Posted by: Karen Ferrell

    We stayed at a motel in Australia in 1992, that instead of providing shampoo & hand lotion, they provided bug spray! Ugh!

  16. Posted by: Anne

    Karen: HAHA!! Funny story! Gotta be brave in Australia, there’s lots of things that will kill you there…even the cute little platypus-es!!

  17. Posted by: Mary Pallas

    We went to Vegas and thought we’d save some money by staying off the strip.
    It was like the Lucy show without the train.

  18. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Mary, yes we’ve stayed at the best and the worst in Vegas – they all look good in the advertisements!

  19. Posted by: Harvey Bergen

    Hello Jim and Anne;
    I still remember the time you and your band came up here to perform and I put two of your members in a B&B out on a farm. I still think that was the first time they had ever been on a farm. Then I put you two in an RV that had been stored for the winter and the bathroom in it was unusable. However our home was there and we had a great time. Glad you are still doing what you love and it is working for you.
    Take care you two.

  20. Posted by: Anne

    Harvey! I think you are right, the boys had never been on a farm, but they relaxed into it! You were very kind to put us in the best place you could find. By the way, I remember that we slept in your guest room – not the RV…am I remembering wrong? One thing I do remember is that we had an excellent breakfast! You and Shirley were wonderful hosts!!

  21. Posted by: Diane Butler

    Totally agree about Knights Inn stopped in one outside St.Louis one time daughter was bitten by bed bugs!!!! Hotel costs airline fees and gas prices keep us close to home these days.

  22. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Diane, Traveling is more expensive than ever these days! We feel it every day we are out on tour….hotels, restaurants, airlines, gas and car rentals make it harder and harder for us to take contracts far from home….we have to be very careful not to overspend!

  23. Posted by: May Johnson

    I loved the stories. Safe journey my friends and Happy Hoilday

  24. Posted by: Anne

    Happy Holidays May, see you soon!

  25. Posted by: Diane Butler

    Totally agree about Knights Inn
    We stayed in one outside St Louis
    Daughter was bed big food

  26. Posted by: Anne

    Ugh! Knight’s Inn needs to up their game!

  27. Posted by: Mickey

    Hi Anne. My mom and I traveled up Hwy 1 from L A to Washington and stayed at several places on the way up. A Motel 6 gave us a room upstairs in the back where it was very dark Mom had trouble climbing the stairs. We unlocked the door to find a man coming out of the shower with only a towel wrapped around him. The night desk clerk was running a racket by double renting rooms and putting the extra cash in his pocket!!! Needless to say we got our money back and split

    Another place we stayed had a “handicap” room available so we took it. The toilet wasn’t bolted to the floor. The bed was so high that Mom could barely get up into it. But the worst part was the front door wouldn’t close all the way so they finally fixed it after we waited 2 hrs, and finally got to go to dinner

  28. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Mickey! I don’t see how double-booking a room could work??? I’ve heard stories that this happens…but wouldn’t you find out right away??
    We’ve experienced the ol’ toilet-not-bolted trick…how hard is it to bolt down a toilet? Oh well, makes life interesting. Glad that you have traveled with your Mom, at least you will have those memories (good or bad) to look back on and laugh.

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"Curry makes you feel as if you are visiting him in his living room and his band shares the same warmth, which rolls out into the crowd…"

Michelle Mills
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

"I have to tell you I don't know when we've enjoyed a show as much as we enjoyed yours. It just swept us away and we did not want it to end! You are all so gifted. And the music of John Denver speaks for itself. It touches the heart."

Julie Coletta,
Tiffin, OH


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