On our recent driving trip around Washington state, we happened to come through Soap Lake, then Ephrata on our way from Republic to Yakima. We checked out a couple of places in Soap Lake, but that whole town seems to be dying, so we continued on to Ephrata, not great, but at least a little less moribund than Soap Lake. We checked out the Best Western on the south end of town, but they wanted too much for the room, even with AAA discount, so we called the Travelodge we had noted on the way through town. At first the woman said she was full, and had been all week, but then said she did have a king-bedded room. We asked to see the king-bedded rooms, and the woman who was cleaning the rooms said she was also the front desk clerk -- she was expected to do both jobs. Her husband spent most of his time sitting outside the front desk office, almost chain smoking. Our room was directly above the office, and was at least fairly spacious, and did have a king bed as advertised. But the carpets seemed soiled, the furniture worn, paint chipped. The pool was closed, for good reason, It looked terrible and very uninviting. Although they advertised a "continental breakfast", about all we could see was a couple of coffee pots and a basket of fruit on a stand in the office. We chose to eat elsewhere, just about a block and a half down the street at a tiny hole in the wall diner, and had a fabulous breakfast in this diner (Katy's, Kathy's?) that was jammed with the breakfast crowd.
It was amazing that this Travelodge was full, but it seemed to be -- and the only reason, apparently, was that it's not too far from The Gorge, at George, Washington, the site of major popular music concerts. Even though the price was low ($62, including tax), it wasn't even worth that -- it's not a place we would ever stay at again, and definitely can not recommend it. We do not blame the property's run-down and neglected appearance on the hard working woman who has to do triple duty as mother to a two-year old, cleaning lady, maid and front desk duties. But perhaps her husband's could get off his butt between cigarettes to help out a little. We've stayed in worse places, notably the EconoLodge in Chandler, Oklahoma, which is probably the worst motel in America, but this is in pretty poor condition.
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