The Mom-and -pop motel seems like a nicely wrapped package. Compact enough to make it manageable yet sufficiently varied to keep it exciting. Other people with no prior experience have done it, and survived, so how hard can it be? And so people often dive in without doing their homework, not realizing what it actually means, mislead by their own misconceptions and wishful thinking. It might seem simple, but small does not necessarily means effortless, and a motel is not like any other small home business. When every room is crucial, when one good season does not guarantee another, rain, or shine, or snow, in health or in sickness, the show must go on in order to keep surviving. That is the nature of this business in a nutshell. No wonder then that the burnout rate is rather fast and small motels change hands so often. The mom-and -pop motel is not for the faint of heart.
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The old hotel sat solemnly by itself on a deserted road just outside a very small town, close to the border of California and Nevada. The building was old, though not as old as some in the area, and not as well kept as those nestled in the downtown proper. Paint peeled here and there, faded by the sun, and the makeshift fence had all but fallen down. There were 20 rooms, 20 queen-sized beds, 20 bathrooms. The building formed a backward L, with the office on the far end and the upward stroke of the L running back away from the highway. In the crook of the L, out of view of speeding truckers and family SUV's heading on vacation, an almost empty artificially blue pool collected stray leaves and dead wasps.
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