[Being an only slightly exaggerated account of our trip to Berkeley Springs, WVa]
We spent 3.5 hours on I-70 West Friday evening--the trip to Berkeley Springs is typically a bit less than two hours, but a medivac helicopter emergency somewhere ahead of us cost us 1.5 hours of sitting still and waiting. Despite the delay and the distant anonymous tragedy, I was in a great mood and Cha was deliriously happy and we were heading out to the peace and quiet of another state.
Allow me to recommend the "Sleep and Dine for $179" deal at Tari's. You get two nights in a reasonably comfortable room (as Tari sez, it's "like staying at your auntie's") with a private bath and TV. You get a full dinner for two at Tari's rather good cafe--with starter, appetizer, salad, non-alcoholic beverage of choice, entree of choice, and dessert included [we used this Friday and I only had to pay for my beers--the meal total was $100, and we could barely finish our dessert it was so much!]. You also get a full lunch for two. The price of the meals practically pays for the room, and Tari's place is a block and a half away from the springs and the park and "downtown" Berkeley Springs. [part of this paragraph has been deemed private and confidential and redacted]
Saturday we had appointments at The Bath House. I'd already paid for two "Berkeley Springs" spa packages, which included a 30-minute soak in a private hot-tub for two [redacted] before finally collapsing over the edge [redacted] there was actually a sign that said "keep your bodily fluids out of the tub" [redacted] and then 90-minute massages. Mine was fantastic. A 40-something hippy with a great head of silver hair started out by holding her hand above me and moving it around "to find problem areas." I closed my eyes and imagined I could feel where her hand was--when I felt she was holding her hand over my groin I opened my eyes and she was, and she laughed when I caught her and said "it never fails." She did the standard divide the body into quadrants approach, but really got my sore spots and worked on them advantageously. When I rolled over on my stomach and put my face in the tiny toilet seat thing I was practically drooling and insensate. That's the fucking life, man. I hadn't been massaged since those two marvelous Thai technique experts at the hotel in Manila last year, and needed this badly. For some reason my massage went 20 minutes longer than I paid for, and Cha was jealous when I met her in the 'waiting room.' She'd fallen asleep during her massage and the therapist woke her by covering her eyes with his hands. She was a rubbery zombie all through our cheap pizza lunch, then we[redacted] again and she fell asleep for five hours immediately after. While she napped I shopped for books and walked the woods and read a few chapters of one of my $3 hardback finds, Portnoy's Complaint, and laughed my ass off. [redacted]
The one draw-back of Berkeley Springs is also its greatest charm--it's fucking quiet, and everything closes early. If you don't eat by 9pm you're fucked. We found this out the hard way, and had to eat dinner at Tari's again because her joint was the only one open 'til ten. Cha had a flier for some live music at The Red Guitar but when we arrived there were five guys listening to a sixth bang out a lame version of a Willie Nelson tune. We decided not to hang and immediately outside of The Red Guitar ran into my masseuse who had her hair down and who reeked of bongwater and granola. "How are you guys doing?" she asked, and I introduced her to Cha and she promptly asked if we "liked to party." Cha said yes before I could stop her, and [redacted][redacted][redacted][expletive omitted]
when I woke up at 10:30 on Sunday I had to climb over the masseuse, her mastiff, an inflatable Ronald McDonald wading pool filled with Cheese-It, [redacted], the Willie Nelson wanna-be, Tari, a poor boy sandwich, and Cha. The room stank of sharp country skunk bud, so much tastier and infinitely more potent than my typical stem-and-seed-sown Balto homegrown, and I couldn't remember anything except that I'd taken a whiz in Washington's bathtub beneath a moon like a smirking sliver of Dick Cheney grin. I immediately took the memory stick out of our camera and burned it.
On the ride home we were moving at a good clip when just before exit 29A some moron tried to yield from the on-ramp into the fast lane. Since he was going ten MPH and the rest of us were zipping along at 80, this caused some consternation. The SUV in front of me swayed wildly, fishtailed, and barely avoided colliding with the car in front, as I tapped lightly on the brakes, trying not to skid, hoping to give the woman I'd seen closing quickly in the rear-view time, but then I had no choice and had to stop before banging the SUV and sure enough BANG she nailed us from behind and the Jetta stalled out. I got it started and pulled off the side of the highway where we were joined by a woman dressed like someone out of Romy and Michelle--in fact I'm sure I recognized her from Sweating to the Oldies Vol. 3. She barely fit through the door of her Subaru SUV, and actually had on leg-warmers over her Wal-Mart jeans.
"My Paw is aimin' to kill me already," she gasped. "I just cleared my points from the last time I smooshed somebody from behind!" We both looked at the ruined bumper of the Jetta. I felt badly for her because she wanted to pay for the repair without the insurance companies if possible, but we both knew that there is no part of a Volkswagen priced less than $1000 retail, including the gas cap. We made a police report via phone, exchanged info, and I promised not to call her insurance co until we talked to her about the damage first, and Cha was pissed because not six months ago she'd rear-ended someone in her new Jetta with much more serious consequences, and she'd only gotten the final repair from that incident completed on Thursday. "Goddamit I've got to go back to Balto. Body Works AGAIN!" she screamed, all evidence of the relaxing weekend of debauchery and spa treatment gone.
I took it in stride. The weekend was worth it regardless.