June 16, 2009


My friend, Motel Todd, left me a message on my machine saying he'd checked into the
Avalon Motel on the Jacksboro Highway near the intersection of River Oaks Boulevard. He also wondered if I wanted to come over and check it out. I called him and said, "Hell, yeah. I'll come over on Sunday." He said make it about 11 a.m. since he planned on downing a fifth of Jack Daniels during the evening.

The next morning I went over there to see if this place was as God awful as it looks from the street and for, of course, taking photographs.


Surprising, for a dumpy, grungy looking place it wasn't a bad place. The drive area was all gravel and dirt but some of the 25 units had carports. Nice touch for hot Texas summers when shade is a great commodity. I pulled up and parked in an area than seemed like it for visitor parking and got out of my car with my Nikon camera bag holding my . He was in room #6.

For something that's not larger than a box, about 200 square feet, it was impressive and the AC blew out COLD air, a big plus during hot Texas summers. But the only t.v. channel he could get was Channel 8, the Metroplex's ABC affiliate. I told him since the HD conversion took place that he should rescan the t.v. to pick up all the HD channels. But I doubt he bothered with it.

The bed's backboard had a reference to some sexual goings on there in its past. It read "Janet N You N Me" (a photo of that follows this text). It looked like it was painted with nail polish. So it doesn't take much of an imagination to know what that meant.

The Avalon Motel has, for whatever reason, a water tower sitting over it's main office. As I walked around taking pictures of the place some old fat white guy was sitting outside the office in a chair in the noon time sun. He was tanned and bald and had a big beer belly. He wore a white wife beater t-shirt. His assistant, obviously an illegal alien, a young guy, in his early '20s, wore a short sleeve shirt and black pants. He had greased back hair and a thin mustache. Some white trash folks were situated in room #3 just down Todd's 1-room-and-a-shitter place. They looked at me with suspicion.

But that's normal for people who take photos. Everyone looks at you like you're an alien. "What's he doing taking pictures?" Like I'm gonna sell'em to
TMZ.comz or something. Puh-lease.

Meanwhile, I waved and smiled to the office's old fart two times, once while driving into the place and another time while driving out of it. His only reaction was a stare of zero. No acknowledgment whatsoever, except to give me the evil eye after I had parked and was walking across the gravel drive towards Todd's room. At the time this old man was talking to an older couple a couple of rooms down from Todd, and he looked at me like I was trouble. What a dumbass.

Well, if I had that job I guess I'd have shitty 'tude myself. Even though from Jacksboro Highway it seems unimaginable that the Avalon Motel --- a relic from the '50s when Jacksboro Highway was a fabulous place where gambling, dancing and other nefarious activities took place --- is still a working motel. It's an amazing achievement. To still be in business in this new world of corporate hotel franchises that have eaten alive the mom and pop places so prevalent in the not too distant past is unbelievable but what with the economy is now it's a very much needed motel with the rent there being $153 dollars a week --- all bills paid and the added bonus of a little fridge.

After I took my photos we then we went to a Chinese buffet just down the street. I decided to take a piss before we left and soon realized that the door wouldn't stay shut. No wonder. Upon closer inspection there wasn't the framing in place to where the door knob's metal piece could lock in place. So the door kept opening. Finally, I placed the toilet paper roll down on the floor to keep it shut. Also, over the sink's hot and cold knobs was magic market writing in red that read, "HOT" over the hot knob and "COLD" over the cold knob. Sheesh, I guess they get some stupid guests. I'm surprised it wasn't in Spanish too, "
caliente" for hot and "frío" for cold.

The buffet place, one neither of us had ever been to but was fairly new, was a nice, clean place. One of its dished had tiny baby octopuses, boiled, plus they had some whole fried fish with its head, fins, tail, etc., still attached and, surprisingly, crawlfish. Todd ate one and didn't really like it. Obviously, I didn't eat any of that shit. I just went with my regular choices at a Chinese buffet --- fried rice, noodles, asparagus, shrimp and chicken. After finishing off my plate I had some soft serve ice cream, another reason I love Chinese buffets, and a brownie for dessert.

After eating I took Todd up the street to Family Value, a dollar place, because he needed to buy a couple of cans of fix-a-flat since his back right tire went down during the night. He's checked out of there Monday morning.

He said he went to the Avalon Motel because he just wanted to get away from his World War II vet grandpa and his crazy lunatic cousin, a
Manchurian Candidate in the making, for a couple of days since all they do is watch FOX NEWS and listen to right wing radio, like Lush Limpballs. Then, for entertainment, watch the white trash stupidity of WWE "wrestling". Ugh.

Last thing I heard from Todd was another message on my answering machine. He said he'd ventured over to Camp Bowie West (used to be known as Highway 80) rented a room at the Crest Motel for a week. He said it was an improvement from the Avalon Motel, plus Illusion's --- A Gentlemen's Cabaret is right across the highway. But Todd said his money was between going to Illusions or staying at the Crest Motel. That tells you how much he wanted a rest from the unrelenting right wing lunatic madness that envelopes him at his grandpa's house.

"This new place is $160 for a week, only $7 more than Avalon was wanting. Caravan Inn (down the street from Avalon) is $185, plus a $25 deposit --- just for a week. I checked a lot of prices. Anyway, this place is 'divish' but on par with the Caravan Inn. I got about 60 channels of basic cable and a micro fridge, which I can put a six-pack into --- and no graffiti on the headboard, ha ha ha. I figure I may as well get away while I can --- if only for a little while --- since I've been with my psycho relatives for over a year."


The Avalon Motel is a can't miss place on Jacksboro Highway with this water tower that sits above the place's office. It's about three stories high.The bathroom. Had to shoot it this way to get the toilet and the sink into the frame 'cause it was so god damn small. Notice above the sink's hot and cold knobs the words, in red ink, that read HOT and COLD.

The room's toilet paper dispenser was useless --- unless Todd gave a shit enough that he went outside and found a stick that would fit the holes. At least the Avalon staff provided toilet paper.
The bathroom door wouldn't close behind you because the framing where it would lock had been removed, most likely when two people where there and one wanted to get at the one locked in the bathroom and busted it open. At least that's the scenario I thought of. Just a guess.

Todd's smokes sitting atop the room's queen-sized bed. "The little cigars were only $2.25 a pack," Todd said.
On the bed's headboard was this writing. Apparently, a trio of sexually active persons had a three way in the same bed Todd spent two nights sleeping in.
Todd standing next to the Avalon Motel's fencing, which is topped by barbwire. And he's wearing his favorite t-shirt.
Todd's car was parked underneath a carport next to his room, a good thing to have during hot ass Texas summers. But you had to squeeze inbetween the left end of his car to enter the door. A very tight fit.


Lisa said...

WOW WOW WOW that is nuts!! Love it!

Dreamland602 said...

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Motel Todd ends up the Last Man Standing. Not many people can jam econo the way we do and keep their sanity, not to mention staying out of trouble. A wise man once said: "Any man who lives outside the law must have a serious set of ethics"

FAKE DADA said...

fuckin' wow.

Robert W. Howington said...

After reading this story my mother sent me this e-mail, "You wrote a very good piece describing the motel and why Todd was there. Interesting photos. You mentioned the Caravan Inn Motel. In 1963, on Rich's high school graduation night (Rich is my mother's third husband), he rented (with a fake ID) a Chevy Impala convertible to take his date and two other couples out after high school graduation. They checked into the Caravan Inn and then left to go drinking at all the bars on Jacksboro Highway. Of course, they all got drunk. Upon returning to the motel Rich was driving too fast and hit a bump hard and the car flew into the place's swimming pool. Rich said he grabbed the bottle of Jack Daniels he had with him and swam out of there. The other people had already gone to the room. After that happened he said they called a buddy to come get them. They left there and spent the night at some flea bag hotel on Main Street. The next morning Rich called Hertz Rent-A-Car and told them to pick up the car at the motel. He didn't tell them it was in the pool."