Döppledad and Haunted Hotels


On our third day of the trip, we visited an infamous hotel.

The further we drove, the more desolate it became. To our right were a few dilapidated cabins and an abandoned campground. To our left was thick forestry.

Are you sure you still want to go?

Well, it’s too late now.

We were on the way to an allegedly haunted hotel. Its imagery been branded into horror pop consciousness. I’ve always wanted to visit. Of course, the day we do something you want to do, it’s creepy as fuck, le beau commented. I beamed.

We passed through a town named after his father’s home country. The moment we did, an RV – the same make and model as his father’s – passed by us. When he looked inside, he saw a stocky man who, uncannily, resembled his father.

Döppledad, we named him.

The closer we drove to the infamous hotel, the stranger it became. Like a campy horror, ironic and overdrawn, a fog descended. It started to rain. The rain turned to sleet and then snow. Spotify threw us a bone: take it slow, take it easy on me. 

We had been on the main highway several cities ago, on a mountain peak that hugged skiers and snowboarders. On the road, we noticed a tan car. It zipped in and out of traffic for about 50 miles. It nearly got in an accident. We developed an affinity for tan car. Eventually, we lost tan car, as we made our sandwich stops and detours for the more scenic, if isolated, route.

When we arrived at the hotel, several hours later, there was a steady drizzle. The hotel architecture was grand, harkened back to the early 20th century. We explored the hotel spaces. The yawning red ballroom, taped off – the peeling grey wallpaper – the slim and eerie hallway. When the bellboy’s back was turned, we snuck upstairs.



Before we left, we bought a few tourist trinkets, and I used the basement bathroom. As I left, I saw a tall-ish man with a distinct gait walk towards me. For a moment, he felt familiar – like déjà vu, I don’t know how to describe it – but I dismissed it.

As we left the hotel, we pulled onto the mountainside road. Look! I exclaimed. To our right was – you guessed it – tan car. From 3 hours ago. 300 miles ago. 3 cities ago. When I looked closer, I immediately recognized the driver. Tall-ish guy with the distinct gait from basement bathroom 10 minutes ago.

What a weird coincidence. We discussed the odds. Of noticing tan car several hours ago – of showing up in the same isolated town, hundreds of miles away – of leaving the hotel at the exact same time – of passing the man, in person, in the basement – and of lining up at the red light upon exit.

I’m ready to go home, le beau shivered. I agreed.


Day 1: Crossing State Lines

Day 2: Rocky Road

Week in Photos: Mountain Time (MT)

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