A couple of weeks ago, we noticed the Spanish Trails Inns and Suites was filling its pool with dirt. Is this a new trend in swimming pools? Speaking of hotels, our 9-year-old daughter is becoming increasingly annoyed about the sign at the Siesta Motel that reads, Free Rooms, Just Kidding. She desperately wants it changed. Parents of a very annoyed 9-year-old
The trend is clear: Backfill replaces the backstroke, with many hotels ditching their CE-ment ponds, as Jethro would say on The Beverly Hillbillies. The reference to that lowbrow TV show reveals Action Lines true age and the fact that Action Line squandered a great deal of his youth watching bad television after school.
But thats beside the point.
The Econo Lodge went aquatics-free a couple of years ago, and now the Spanish Trails is following suit. Not that suits are required at the Spanish Trails.
There are two main reasons for pulling the pool plug, according to Jeff Wilson, desk clerk at the Spanish Trails.
No, not that Jeff Wilson. Our 6th Judicial District judge is not moonlighting.
Wilson, the desk clerk, said city regulations on pool fencing would require the enclosure to be removed and be reconstructed to meet taller height requirements.
That takes a bunch of money. So does maintaining a pool.
It just cost too much, Wilson said. So weve replaced the pool with sod and flowers and put in an outdoorsy gathering place.
As for the Siesta Motels sign, Action Line must rebuke your daughter.
While she is to be commended for being observant, the 9-year-old needs a timeout.
The Siesta Motels sign is a wonderful thing, and not just because it promotes a fabulous little hotel run by two of the nicest people on the planet.
Free Rooms, Just Kidding also is one of Durangos best marketing tools.
Larry and Marlene Haddon own the Siesta, one of the last true mom-and-pop hotels remaining in town, and Marlene is fond of telling the story about the Free Rooms, Just Kidding message.
Years ago, she and Larry were exasperated that some competing north Main motor inns were displaying Rooms $29 on their signs.
Of course, that was for one room only and it was always occupied. Imagine that?!
So, as a reaction to those misleading marquees, she put up the now-famous message: Free Rooms, Just Kidding.
It struck a chord with the traveling public.
Next to the train, that sign has got to be one of the most-photographed items in Durango, Marlene Haddon said.
People stop in the middle of Main to take a shot, they pull over into the parking lot. We put up Free Rooms, Just Kidding as a lark. That was 14 years ago and people still love it, she said with a laugh.
Even without the message, its an ultra-cool neon sign, with its cactus shape and the guy with the sombrero taking a nap.
Photos of the sign are all over the Internet. Its a retro juggernaut.
No way we would ever take it down, Marlene Haddon said.
Durango needs more funny and funky sign messages.
For instance, who doesnt look forward to the dog vs. cat humor on the billboard in front of Alpine Animal Hospital, next to Taco Bell?
And on the other side of town, the Wapiti Lodge advises travelers, Last Motel for 150 Feet. (The Residence Inn by Marriot is next door.)
A lot of people have stayed here just because of that sign, said Ellie Goodman, who has been working at the Wapiti for 17 years. People appreciate it.
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