No escapin’ the Redneck Riveria

A couple of years ago, my husband and I went to the beach in Florida’s panhandle. At the time, he was my boyfriend and I wanted to treat him to a “BBB” weekend-“Buhfren’, Beach n Beer”.

Neither of us could afford much then-both still recovering from the financial hell that is divorce.

I found a hotel that was cheap with a beach view and kitchen so that we could cook our own meals.

There was a direct flight from Houston but “Houston, we have a problem”: our seats were in the back of a small plane.

Near the toilet.

The toilet was backed up.

Luckily the flight attendand knew to open a packet of coffee near us to help with the smell but, aside from the flight I took in 1993 with the unbathed guy in a green leisure suit, it was the LONGEST FLIGHT EVER.

We arrived in the dark.

Seemingly in the Everglades and drove for a week to get to the hotel.

Er, it seemed that way.

The next day, I awoke to a sunny day and gorgeous emerald green, white sugar sand beach. I stared at it for hours.

If I had my “druthers” I would have “slep on da porch” the whole time but it got hot during the day and we had to close the slidy ocean view door.

There’s “breathing room” and then there’s THE ‘breathing room’ that still cracks us up to this day:

The AC kicked on.

And the room walls, made of white plastic flooring, for some kind of horrible Dexter scene, puffed out like a Golden Coral afficianado loosenin’ his belt.

The AC turned off and the walls sucked back in like prepping for weddin’ photos.

Breathin’ walls.

And talkin’ elevators with an Alabaman accent:
“goin’ uuuyyuup”
“goin’ dayyaan”

I was mortified.

“My guy has to think I have no taste at all. OMG”

Fast forward a little while and trip advisor has become well-populated with reviews, amenities and the like.

It took hours and I found the Wyndahm that was affordable, had a pool, hot tub, room service and on site dining!

Wyndahms are nice!

Erbody knows that!


“This will TOTALLY make up for the breathin’ walls debacle. I shall score major wife points here!”

We arrived during the day this time and things begin to look familiar….
The Manatee Grill….

Our room won’t be ready for 5 hours, so we hang out at the Manatee Grill and people watch.

The only requirement for wearin’ a bikini is to be female, preferrably quite pregnant, so now I’m not so worried about rockin’ mine when I get the chance.

2 drinks in I ask my husband “was this place always so….”

“redneck?” he quips.

He completes me.

“It IS the Redneck Riveria, darlin”

“And I just never noticed before?”


“The RiverEEEah…” I chortle after drink 4..

I have this sinking feeling…

“Well, when we get to the elevators, we’ll know….”

No talking elevators.


When we get to the room door that sticks and he has to body slam it, I know instantly.


He flips on the light.

“Oh my God! This is the same “bleeeep” place we were at before!”

“rr..rrealy?” I squeak. “no. the walls are beige. maybe there was just a firesale on plastic flooring for walls…in the area…er…”

After unpacking, we go to the other building to check THAT elevator.

no voice but there it is-

a permit for the Holiday Inn!

We KNEW it!

Mystery solved!

We could breathe now but I suspect the room’ll do it fer us.


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