By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
UNIONVILLE, NEVADAIt's really a challenge for this city girl to leave the comforts of the Gap, Starbucks, and my DSL line to take a vacation. When my girlfriend, Red, and I were invited to a friend's wedding in Aspen, we decided to road trip afterward to San Francisco, along the way exploring the great American West. We skipped Salt Lake City and Reno and dove into places whose names you have to squint at to read on the map. In Nevada, we planned to stay at a place I read about called the Old Pioneer Garden Country Inn. The travel-book writer said it was "off the beaten path," which is exactly what I wantedto spend some time in a simpler, quieter, slower place than the one to which I am accustomed. The book said that the place enjoyed some famous visitors, including America's runner-up sweetheart (next to Julia Roberts), the charmingly bland Sandra Bullock.
"Well, if Sandra Bullock stays there, then it's probably pretty nice," said Red, trying to reassure herself that we weren't going to be roughing it too much. "Yeah, either that or Sandra Bullock is a total freak with bad taste in country inns," I replied. She was not amused.
It was already dark when we turned off Route 80 and drove about 20 miles south on a road dotted with a trailer here and a ranch there, but pretty much desolate. Then we turned onto a dirt road to drive three more miles into, well, the middle of nowhere. It was pitch black. We pulled over when we saw a farmhouse with a light on. A pickup truck drove toward us. I approached it, and the window rolled down. There was a friendly fortysomething couple inside. "Are you looking for the B and B?" the woman asked. Why else would we be here at night several miles down a dirt road leading to nothing? "Um, yes," I replied. "We left the lights on and the door open. Just make yourselves comfortable, and we'll see you in the morning." Breakfast would be at 8:30, we were told. With that, they drove off. We both giggled. I thought our hosts lived in the house.
We were amazed to discover that this small farmhouse dating from 1864 was full of bedroom after bedroom; from the outside, it looked tiny. There were exquisite antique chairs, armoires, beds, claw-foot tubs, and a majestic grandfather clock. I slept pretty soundly, except for the bizarre dream I had about dozing on the floor with a wet blanket in the quaint room, until being awakened by an intruder standing above me, who looked like an oiled, muscled Latino porn star. In the dream, I was terrified, so much so that I screamed and woke my girlfriend up. I am still not sure what terrified me so muchthat I was sleeping in the middle of nowhere or that a porn star might be trying to have his way with me.
I so looked forward to waking up in the country. No car alarms, no horns from the local car service, no neighbors blasting their stereos, just peaceful tranquillity. Promptly at about 4:30 a.m. I heard a rooster crow. The rooster was followed by the sounds of goats, sheep, geese, and all the other animals who were presumably sleeping when we arrived the night before. It was a veritable chorus of farm friends. So much for peace and quiet. I got out of bed, looked out the window, expecting to see them right outside. They were actually down the road. Sound carries differently in the country.
Since it was the crack of dawn, four hours before breakfast, I decided to wake up Red with some morning nookie, her absolute favorite. I climbed over the wooden footboard and gently pounced on top of her. As I felt my naked body make contact with hers, I also felt the bed crash down below us. She said that I had a priceless "uh-oh, I fucked up" look on my face. I broke the antique bed, I thought, how will we ever explain this to the folks who run the place? We both climbed out of the bed to assess the damage. Red concluded that the slats had simply fallen out of their grooves, and we could put them back. That involved taking the mattress and the box spring off. Thank God I have a butch, weight lifter girlfriend, or I don't know what I would have done. She tossed the mattress aside like Superman, then proceeded to lift the box spring, while I had to adjust all the slats that had, in fact, come off the bed frame and were lying on the floor. This whole thing took about half an hour, but my desire had not waned one bit, especially after seeing my buff girlfriend flex her muscles to fix the bed that I broke. We crawled back into the bed gingerly and started kissing, but as things heated up, she started moving around a lot, naturally. "Stay still," I said. "We are not going to break the bed again." She smiled and did what I told her. Since she is a notorious ejaculator, I knew we had another problem as well. "Do not, under any circumstances, squirt on these antique linens!" She smiled. I said, "When you're ready to come, tell me, and we shall relocate to the claw-foot tub."