“Watervillewatervillewaterville!” The squealing, clapping, and jumping of my teenage Darling was beginning to drive me nuts. Why Waterville? There’s nothing there but wheat farms, a cemetery and a creepy old hotel… And did I mention it was creepy? And there was nothing there?
Last May, Darling, Jen (a friend of mine) and I made the trip across the Cascades to Spokane where we attended Ride The West Horse and Ranch Expo. Of course, Darling and I had an ulterior motive; the BLM had their wild horses there that weekend, and we wanted to be part of that. So at 5 am, Jen pulled into our driveway, I hauled Darling out of bed (“No, no, don’t make me get up! It’s not noon yet!” I’m pretty sure that’s what I heard from beneath the pillow.)
We travelled down I-5, then took highway 2 through Monroe and on through Wenatchee. It’s a long drive, but we’d gotten an early start. The day was quite lovely, really; blue sky and sunshine. Jen’s not a speed demon of a driver, which I was thankful for, as it gave me plenty of opportunity to get out of the car and take pictures along the way. We are also members of the weak bladder club, so frequent stops even without the camera were welcome!
Abandoned school house
Past Wenatchee is the little Bavarian town of Leavenworth. Accordion music can be heard from one end of the town to the other, and it’s not uncommon to see people doing funny dances in lederhosen. Once down out of America’s version of the alps, you hit the vast, rolling wheat fields of Eastern Washington. To those of us on the western side, it’s such a fascinating site, to be able to see for miles and miles without your view being blocked by trees or mountains.
Looking out over farmland from the Waterville Cemetary
As highway 2 wound through the hills, Jen and I found ourselves in need of one of our bladder stops. About that time, the highway made a couple of sharp turns, and we found ourselves in the town of Waterville. Being that our bladders were so full we were nearly crying, we felt it in our best interest to stop. We ignored the tingles in our spines and the hair standing on end as we rushed for the only public rest room in town, which was a cinder building in the middle of a small park smack in the middle of town.
Jen ran on ahead as I waited for Darling to get her shoes on. She was already exiting the building as Darling an I walked in. She didn’t say a word…so we had no idea what we’d be walking into…
I don’t really even know that I can describe it well; I should have taken a picture, but didn’t. I mean, who thinks to take a picture of rest rooms in city parks? But I should have. Like I said, it was a block building, or some sort of concrete, at least. Cold. There was a wide entrance in the front, with the men’s room to the left and ladies to the right. The entrance had a huge, black, wrought iron gate with an enormous padlock, which luckily was open so we could get in. Darling and I stepped inside to find a couple of stalls…without doors! Confused, I asked her to check and see if we were indeed in the ladies room. Yes, we were. I looked for where there had been hinges, thinking that for some odd reason maybe they’d been taken off by vandals. Nope…not a mark to show that there had ever been a door! Now I ask you, is that strange, or is that strange? Or perhaps even downright creepy. I had Darling guard the outer door as I emptied my bladder, then told her I’d guard for her. Darling, however, has a bladder made of steel and said she could wait until tomorrow if that’s what it took; she was not going to use a doorless public bathroom, mother guarding the door or not!
Once out, I asked Jen why she hadn’t said anything. “Well, I figured we had to go, and it was the only option…but yeah, it’s kinda wierd.” We were back on the road in no time, but Darling, for some odd reason, couldn’t get Waterville out of her mind.
On our way home a few days later, Darling asked if we could stop once again in Waterville. Since we had the time, and our bladders had been emptied prior to reaching the town, we said sure. We got out and explored the couple of blocks that made up the ‘city center’; approximately half the storefronts were empty with for sale or rent signs in their windows. The city park, aside from having doorless bathrooms, also had a large map showing local places of interest. Places such as the county courthouse and the local cemetary. I suppose this is in case you die there, your loved ones will know where to bury you and where to get the death certificate. I’m guessing the locals would die from boredom…as there really doesn’t appear to be much to do in Waterville. For visitors, it’s likely death by fright after visiting the doorless restroom and having a stranger walk in on you (I think if you live here, someone walking in wouldn’t be a stranger as there aren’t enough people in this town for you not to know everyone.)
Or perhaps you’d die at the local hotel. Now that place is just creepy. Bates-like creepy. I have no desire to spend the night there. One look at the place and I conjured up all sorts of spooky scenarios which involved axes and dolls heads and blood in showers. Well, take a look and tell me you don’t get the same feeling! The sign says Vacancy…I wonder why? Good golly, there’s a skull over the door! Creepy. Just plain creepy.
And this is where Darling tells me she wants to live. Well, not in the hotel (I don’t think! I hope not!) But she wants to live in Waterville. Darling and my red shoes….