Last week in my story about the skunk, I referenced a place called Harvey's Cabins. I was talking about places where I would stay and I have had several people ask me about this place. This is a long post and I hope it comes across as funny in writing as it does when spoken. I only wish I had pictures to share as they would add visual aid so you could see that I am not making this up, but this was before digital cameras.
When we plan our fishing trips I am usually the one that makes the reservations, just because I usually have the time. But when we planned this trip to the state tournament for CAST a few years back, some of our friends had visited a place and made reservations for everyone while they were there. We were told "they are not the best place we have ever stayed but they are close to weigh in and they OK." So we agreed. Since they were "cabins" with more than one room, we shared one with our friends Dennis & Janet.
I guess I better give just a little bit of background on Dennis & Janet. We have know them for longer than I am willing to say and they are more like family than they are friends. There have been lots of "pre-fishing" trips where Janet and I have gotten into trouble of some sort or other. Our families have been through kids & grandkids, basketball, baseball and fishing tournaments, some tears but mostly laughter and fun. Lots and lots of fun.
Big Sam (Sam Rayburn Lake) is in deep East Texas and by the time we pull in to Broaddus, it is dark, but luckily Dennis and Frank are both pretty familier with this area. As we are traveling to the cabins, the paved road turns to dirt and if you know anything about East Texas, you know it stays kindda wet; dew, fog, rain. It is really not a dirt road at all, it is a wet, slippery, clay road. It is not lit and it is extremely winding. Picture in your mind this scene from "Delivernce " and keep the tune in your mind as you continue to read.
Yes, this film could have been filmed in this part of Texas. This song kept going through our minds.
We finally get to the cabins to find that they are actually not cabins at all. They are a group of four mobile homes. I will admit, they didn't look too bad from the outside, and in the dark. The guys figured out where to park the trucks and trailers and Janet and I went inside to start unpacking and figuring out who would get which room.
We kind of stopped in the middle of the living room floor and just kind of dropped the bags. There was a smell, not horrible, just a stinky smell. And of course, we sort of grin. We decided to take a tour of the "cabin". Of course we were standing in the living room/kitchen. Tile floor, a faux leather sofa (seats 3), a table with 4 chairs, and the 13" black and white television set is on the kitchen counter. As we are walking around, the floor is sqeaking/swaying under our feet and the grins turn to giggles.
Bedroom #1 one was just to the right of the front door. Then we stepped down the hall to find the bathroom and bedroom #2. We took #1, they took #2. The we decide to really check out the bathroom. Not bad; sink, toilet, bathtub with shower and hugh hole in the shower wall. Yes you read that right, when they installed the shower wall over the window, they didn't close it off. It looked as if someone fell into the wall and busted a hole in the wall. This is the point where the giggles turn into histerical laughter and the guys come in. Janet steps out to meet them in the living room/kitchen and as I am backing out of the bathroom, I find a weaks spot in the floor and almost fall through. This starts the guys to laughing.
It is now about 9:30PM in small town East Texas and we really don't have many options on where else we would stay. We decide to stay for the night and while the guys are out prefishing the next day, Janet and I would see if we could find anywhere else with a vacancy. We quickly make a list of some things we would need (candles, bleach and a shower curtain for the hole in the shower wall) from Wal-Mart to stay the night and head to Lufkin to eat and go shopping. Frank goes to our bedroom and pulls back the covers to see what the sheets look like and discovers a few fire ants in the bed. He brushes them off and tells me to add bug spray to the shopping list.
We make it to Lufkin, eat and shop and head back "home". When we get back, Frank checks out the bed again and finds more fire ants. He brushes them off, pulls the bed away from the wall into the middle of the floor and sprays the entire room with bug spray. I don't really remember who went to the bathroom first but we soon discovered that when using the toilet you had to hold to the edge of the tub to keep from falling to the left. Then when standing at the sink, you had to stradle a very weak area in the floor to keep from falling through. We gather in the living room to make a game plan for the next day. Frank decided to check out the bed again and finds more fire ants. Determined to find where these little pest are coming from, he tears the bed apart. He finds that a piece of plywood has been placed between the frame and the mattress to give a bit more support and it is covered in ants. With Dennis's help, the plywood is removed to outside and we try to get ready for bed.
The four of us sit up talking and soon realize that none of us really want to go to sleep in this place and of course we all begin the histerical laughter again. At about 2:00 AM we decide to go ahead and get a little sleep and that the guys will give up one day of their prefishing to help us find another place to stay.
I don't really remember what time we woke up but we got ready as quick as we could and headed to Broaddus for some breakfast. While sitting in the diner waiting for our food we rehashed what had transpired the night before, along with more laughter.
This nice looking gentleman, excused himself for listening in to our conversation and said he knew the place we were talking about. (Of course he did, this is an extremely small town and I would really be surprised if most people in this town were not related.) He said he and his family had a friend that had a cabin that was a little better than where we were and that he knew they were availble for the weekend. He would be happy to take us there to check them out if we wanted to. After telling us where it was the guys realized it was a ways further from way-in than where we were, but it was worth a shot. We decided it couldn't be worse than where we were, but we would follow him in our truck.
As we were following this man, the song from "Deliverance" began to play in our heads again, but the guys felt like they could get us out of this area if we lost this man so we felt a little better. As we pulled up, the back of the cabin was to us. But hey, this time it really was a cabin. A plus already. We get out and the man is already unlocking the door. So far not bad, lots of room to beach the boats so we wouldn't have to load and unload them everyday, and it was an actually cabin. But them we noticed the sofa and refrigerator on the front porch. This brought to mind all sorts of Jeff Foxworthy "You Might be a Redneck If..." jokes and we tried really hard to hold in the laughter. The guys told us to go on in and check it out and they stayed on the front porch talking to our gracious soon to be host. Luckily they kept his back to the door where they could see us. I really don't remember alot of details; furniture, beds, anything like that. What we do remember is there was a lot of dust and the deal killer - there was no shower! Really there was a tub, but no shower of any kind. Plus, we had already bleached the other place to where only super germs could survive, covered the hole in the shower and got rid of the source of the fire ants.
As we stepped back into the main room, Janet was able to get both of the guys attention and do a major hand signal, slashing of the neck, no way Jose sign to let them know we were not moving to this place. They told the man something about really appreciated him taking his time to show us this place, but that the "girls" said they didn't want to move. We left him there and the guys got us back to our trailer.
By this time, our other friends had arrived, we had this place clean and decided to stay the next three nights knowing that we would never find a place worse than this to stay in and with the agreement from the guys that we would stay in a really nice hotel in Dallas on the way home Sunday night. There were five couples that stayed at Harvey's that weekend and we became known as the "Trailer Trash" couples during that tournament. We even had a side pot between the five of us with a small trailer as part of the prize. We had a great weekend with lots of tales to tell.
So you think this is the end of the story. Oh no! There are two more things that make this a great story. We all checked out Sunday afternoon with the Rains being the last ones to do so. She was talking to the owner, he asked her how things were and she told him alright. He told her he hoped we would all come back because he was trying to do some updates. As a matter of fact, he had tried to do some before we arrived. He had purchased new matteresses for all the beds. But in one of the cabins, one mattress didn't fit. So he had to take it back to the store and get the old one out of the city dump!!! Yes you read that right and guess which mattress had been in the dump - the one with the fire ants of course! You just can not imagine how badly I wanted to get in the shower by the time we reached Dallas! I think I drained the hot water heater at the hotel.
Our tournament was in September, and at Christmas we got the prettiest post card. It had a beautiful tree sitting on the edge of a lake at sunset. I turned it over and how nice - it was from the owner of Harvey's Cabins thanking us again for staying. I can not tell you how fast we were all on the phone talking about this card!
So if you are ever in a hotel/cabin/lodge that is not quite to your standards, remember our story. I can almost guarantee that it is not as bad as Harvey's!