It was a grim sight. The long green building with smeary windows and peeling paint brought only one word to my mind. Creepy. I tried to repress any thoughts about staying there, despite the fact that we had a reservation.
We made our way around back where the sign directed us to the office. A doorless shack marked “Landromat” and another unkempt building did little to bolster my confidence. I tried to put my faith in the flowers that adorned the office doorway while Rich rang the bell. It was then we noticed the sign with the little clock – Back at 3:00. An hour hence.
Leaving to explore the town, I could contain myself no longer. “It's seen better days,” I ventured cautiously. To which Rich replied, “But it's the only game in town.” A depressing thought. On a cycling tour, moving on to the next town is not an option.
I insisted we stop at the Information Center. Inquiring about restaurants, we received more disturbing news. “Just about the whole town has shut down for the holiday,” she informed us. Holiday? BC Day or Civic Holiday as it's known in the rest of Canada. Little matter what it was celebrating, we could be facing a food shortage.
Our only hope was the local pub. Approaching the entrance, there was a sign on the door. I was sure it was going to say Closed. Instead, it said Open at 4:00. Hallelujah! We had it made. Or so we thought until the owner came by. She confirmed that they were indeed open that evening, but the cook might not be available. They'd be serving drinks, but perhaps not dinner. Our dismay poured out and she quickly came to our aid. There were a few sub sandwiches in the refrigerator. If all else failed, she promised them to us.
We cycled back to the motel under the weight of gloom. At 3:00pm sharp, we heard a cheery voice call out. I allowed myself an ounce of optimism. Soon Diana let us into the office, which was small but neat and recently paneled in light wood. Add several more ounces – enough that I let Rich proceed with checking us in. Diana directed us to a building behind us and suggested we move in our things while she finished the paperwork. Stepping onto a balcony with hanging baskets of flowers facing a freshly mown lawn rimmed with trees, we entered a simple but tidy room with a vaulted wooden ceiling. Relief washed over us.
Returning to the office, Diana explained about breakfast. Her Swiss chef was off fishing for the day, but would return in time to serve us breakfast in the room next door. By this time, we no longer raised our eyebrows. We were beyond trying to second guess this place.
Our good fortune continued, and the pub's cook also materialized. By this time we were in good with the locals sitting at a long table with the owner. We had plenty of company as we dined. And we met the man who runs the grocery store. “Oh, we would have opened up for you,” he informed us.
Morning introduced us to Urs, who was there to prepare our breakfast choices. Since we were his only customers, conversation flowed as freely as the food. And it wasn't long before we gleaned that he really was a trained chef. We savored the local flavor as well as our food.
Cycling away, we passed the neglected front building that clearly bore the name of the motel. It still gave me the willies. But by then I'd learned my lesson. Not everything is what it seems. And given a chance, the local folk will take care of us. I mustn't be too hasty in my judgement.