(this was written the evening of day one, but posted when we returned to civilization, and the internet, on Sunday)
Friday, April 23rd - Day one of our trip to the Ozark Mills.
Crazy! That is all I can say. Absolutely crazy.
And I have only myself to blame.
I’ll start at the beginning. Remember my previous post about the nice guy who we made reservations with? I ended the post with an observation about whether we were heading for Deliverance or Mayberry. Neither. We entered the Twilight Zone.
The first crazy thing we did was use our Garmin GPS (we named her Emmy Lou) for the first time. We programmed in the address of where we were going, Pontiac, Missouri. Then we decided we wanted to take the back roads, which is pretty normal for us. Emmy Lou wanted to take the Highways. So every time we’d ignore her directions and take a different road, she’d sweetly tell us, “recalculating”. Finally, we decided to listen to Emmy Lou, let her do her job, and followed her directions. She took us for the nicest, scenic, drive.
Our destination was a good five hour trip. Rain and sunshine traded places all day long. Finally we arrived at the cabins. Wow, they were nice!
Oh wait. I need to backtrack a bit. The night before our trip, the nice guy from the resort called Jim, wanting to know about when we thought we’d get there. We told him maybe around 3, or 4, or well we didn’t really know. He had some errands to run and wasn’t sure he’d be around, but said he’d leave a key and to just make ourselves at home. I mean, does it get any nicer than that!
So. We FINALLY arrive at the resort. Nobody is around and we can’t figure out which cabin, and see no key. So we call Paul’s (that’s his name) telephone number. Carol answers.
I explain we are at the cabins. Dead silence on the other end. So I try again and give her our names. She says there must be some mistake. But… we have reservations! We made them with Paul. She says Paul is out of the country and never would have made reservations with us. She takes care of all reservations. She asked if we had talked rate. I replied that he gave us a rate of $65/night. She laughed! Carol explained her cabins rent for $125/night and she had not rented one to us, but that she would be glad to. She wanted to call Paul and find out what was going on but it is the middle of the night where he is.
So now we are kinda miffed, kinda freaked, kinda lotta confused. While we waited for Carol to call back, we headed down the road and find a nice mom and pop type resort. The kind of place all of the fishing buddies would gather to hang out before heading out for a day on the lake. And we booked a room with the help of the owner, Marilyn. A VERY clean, but dated to the 60’s room. The rate was a cool $57. And then Carol called back.
She had decided not to call Paul but was willing to talk price with us. We told her it was all too weird and we had a room elsewhere. And we thought she should be worried that maybe someone had hacked her phone and was playing tricks on her.
Then we got worried. Maybe someone had hacked her phone to get information on when people were going to be away from home. Maybe “Paul” was at our house with a moving van, cleaning the place out! I mean, he had our name and phone number. Figuring out where we live would be a piece of cake. At some point I suggested we call the County Sheriff…
Instead we called Jim’s brother, Tracy, and put him on stakeout at the house. The first thing he noticed was the garage door handle had tape on it. He thought, “that’s not good”. We were like, “no, that’s fine – the lock fell out and we didn’t have time to fix it, so we taped it back in”. Real secure like, huh.
Tracy tours the house and sees nothing out of the ordinary. Dust balls are still swirling around and the “dust me” the grandkids wrote on the furniture is still intact.
Then the light bulb turns on in our heads and we have him check caller ID. We get the telephone number of the hacker. And we call him.
Paul answered the phone. He is wondering where we are! And we are wondering where he is. Can you guess what happened?
Someone (me?) called one number and then wrote down another. Someone (me?) made reservations at one resort and wrote down another. Someone (Jim?) apologized all over the place and tried to explain all of this to Paul while we were still trying to solve the puzzle ourselves.
Paul was nice as could be (of course). He said, that could happen to anyone (I kinda doubt that) and he understood. And now the cabin was cleaned for his next visitor. Oh, he is in Tecumseh (we passed it on the way to Pontiac).
Then I called Carol back and tried to explain what happened and assured her she just had a ditz, not a hacker. But come on folks, what are the chances of there being two Pauls involved in this tale? Zippo! And yet, there you have it.
We ended the day by going to the grocery store to buy a frozen pizza, beer, and snacks. Yes, our cozy get away spot had a kitchen. Eat your hearts out. Then we returned to the resort, I fixed myself a nice stiff drink (I really needed one), Jim popped a top on his beer, and I turned on the oven. Marilyn was such a clean freak that over the years she had cleaned the temperature numbers clean off the oven knob. Or maybe it was just that old…
”What is that smell” “I smell it too”. It’s gas. The oven is gas? But I only know electric. I haven’t used a gas oven in over 35 years. Do we need to worry about a pilot light? Jim said something about moving closer to the door. But the oven heated up. We popped the pizza in and will soon devour it.
I’m sipping on my drink as I write this and am still shaking my head in amazement at this entire day. It was definitely a Twilight Zone type of day. And I forgot my jammies. Jim says he doesn’t mind.
I’m thankful that we didn’t call the sheriff’s department to check out our house. Can you imagine trying to explain all of this to them?
Oh, and it is beautiful in this part of Missouri but a little too damp for me. Hopefully the sun will shine tomorrow.
Carol’s place – It was nice looking, but really wasn’t all that welcoming, no matter what the sign said.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II of the Ozark Mills trip.