After exploring the abandoned amusement park, JMP and I decided to take a gamble on an abandoned motel I knew almost nothing about. I had an address and the vague memory of a cool photo that had sparked my interest, but I suppose the uncertainty is part of the excitement of exploring abandoned things. We were both driving separately, but I wish I could've seen JMP's face when we finally pulled up to the motel—if she had seen mine, it would've looked something like this.
The motel owners—a husband and wife who died in 2012 and 2009, respectively— also owned the furniture store across the street, which appeared to be open when we went but Yelp lists it as closed. I'm not sure exactly when the motel became abandoned, but we just walked in the doors as if it was still open for business.
There isn't much left inside of the rooms besides fixtures—lamps, curtains, toilets—but it was still thrilling to be able to explore an abandoned motel (a first for both JMP and me). Even if we hadn't gone inside, it would have still been worth the drive just for the exterior, which is pretty much perfect in every single way. From the huge, wooden M O T E L letters to the artfully placed creeping foliage, to the open doors slowly creaking in the wind—I couldn't have designed it better if I was trying to recreate a classic "abandoned motel" for a movie set.
I think the most important lesson I learned on this trip was to keep my expectations low when scouting abandoned spots. You can research for hours and hours on Google street view and Instagram, but you can't truly know about a place until you see it in person. After the motel, we drove to check out an abandoned greenhouse—one that I had read extensively about online—to find ... a pile of greenhouse materials. I'm not sure how recently it had been demolished, but it was a good reminder to appreciate these places while they're still standing.