2002 South Dort Highway
Flint, MI 48503
Flint, MI is boasted as the murder capital of the country, often being touted on a number of lists as anywhere between the first and fourth most dangerous city in the U.S., right up there with St. Louis. When deciding to explore Flint, we chose the Travel Inn because of the following negative review:
“They claim to have 24-hour porn, but they DO NOT!!!!”
Even if they didn’t have 24-hour porn, any place that uses non-stop adult entertainment as a selling point is excellent in my book. I called the place up and the lady told me they didn’t take reservations, but they currently had open rooms. “Are you looking or an OVERNIGHT stay?” she asked. Perfect!
The street was mostly sprawl in feel, littered with bars, gas stations and other businesses. We were soon to learn one type of business far outnumbered the rest. The Travel Inn was surrounded by an eight-foot tall fence and the clerk sat in an office completely made of bullet-proof glass. She charged us $30 for the night, plus a $5 deposit for our room key, which was an actual key, not a card.
They used to have a pool, but now they have a dirt garden that grows only dirt, complete with a random array of lawn chairs, grills and piles of barbed wire.
Our room was on the second floor, giving us easy access to the roof. It smelled musty, but not wholly unpleasant. Despite the two bare bulbs provided for lighting, it was quite dim. The comforter contained several cigarette burns and there were slashes in the mattress — but no blood! Most of the tables had the handles ripped off, and there was a very small closet with a tiny air conditioner next to a mounted TV that provided basic cable and NO PORN. THAT GUY WAS RIGHT!
Perhaps the best find, however, was this used douche shoved in one of the dresser drawers. Shawn and I learned that we knew very little about orifice cleansing. I was convinced it was an enema, and it was only a Google image search that gave us a true answer. I gently removed the douche with a washcloth and placed it next to our ashtray. Nothing like a smoking room you can rent by the hour, the night, the week or the month.
We decided to go explore the strip. We had a choice of Triangle Bar (a gay bar), Deja Vu (bottomless strip club), Nathan J’s Cocktail & Lace (topless strip club) or State Bar (gay bar with strippers). First, we hit up Nathan J’s.
Nathan J’s is a perfectly acceptable strip club where girls dance to Rammstein, dubstep and LMFAO. The girl dancing to “Party Rockin’” actually stopped her sultry moves to be shufflin’. The drinks were not nearly as expensive as most strip clubs, and the cover was only $7. And while Shawn paid more attention to his new smartphone (which tells him the temperature so he doesn’t even have to go to all that trouble of stepping out on the porch to figure out if it’s cold or not), I noted that the girls were even reasonably attractive. However, I spent most of our time there sexting a couple back home. Now I’ll never be the Mayor!
Next, we decided to hit up the State Bar, thinking it was a normal bar. We were wrong. IT WAS THE BEST BAR.
Here, the people were friendly, the drinks were cheap, and two drag queens performed to Manson and Whitney Houston. The queen performing Whitney even dumped a bag of cocaine (wait… baby powder?) all over herself. We made quick friends with a man who told us his boy problems, including showing us naked photos of his partner so we could empathize. We also were coerced into buying shots that came in large needles.
We also met Scruff, a bear dancer whose tiny, tight, brown short-shorts and leather chest harness were paired well with a pair of brown boots. He was very good at riling up the crowd. As our sad victim of lover’s quarrel said to us when Scruff came calling, “I now have a dick on my arm.”
[Scruff and Shawn share a moment]
We were feeling peckish, so the bartender directed us to a nearby 24-hour diner called the Starlite. The place was packed with bikers, college students, clubbers and a guy who looked like Danzig. There was also a confusing number of security guards, who may or may not have been real security guards, but their guns looked real. One of them told us he was a waiter, but I never saw him bring out any food.
Following our meal, we went back to the Travel Inn. We had to show our key to get the fence opened so we could enter. A few strange characters walked about the parking lot, and as is quintessential to any motel, there were people just sitting in cars with the motor running for inordinately long periods of time, doing what appeared to be absolutely nothing. Since the deadbolt had been ripped out of our door, we made our own state-of-the-art security system.
We woke up in the morning, delightfully un-murdered. We checked out, got our $5 deposit back and got yelled at for trying to go back into the “plaza” (as she called it) to get our car. Implying that most people just walk away from the Travel Inn, like troubadours into the desert sun, never to return again.
Downtown Flint was cold and empty, but leave it to Shawn to somehow navigate us straight to an organic, fair-trade, locally-sourced espresso bar and crepe shop called Flint Crepe Company. From here, we drove past the river in search of new sights.
Well, this liquor store is definitely out of whiskey.
This car wash has no soap, but it IS full of mattresses and desks with grass growing on them!
Here’s one part of Flint that is alive and bustling. Occupy Flint is still going strong with the best tent city I’ve seen yet. These guys even have a smoke stack jutting from the top of an RV.
Cruising along, we stopped into Ike’s Small Engine Repair on S. Saginaw, a small shop that doubles as a motorcycle shop and an army surplus store. Three guys, a boy and a small dog dwell here. Friendly, knowledgeable and fun, this place is definitely worth a visit. I bought an NYPD tactical bag that still contained antibacterial wipe packets and one latex glove for ten bucks.
When we told the guys at the shop that we have a hobby of going to the worst motel in a given city, they told us if we wanted a real murder spot, we ought to check out an infamous haunted house down the street. Abandoned for purportedly a long time, legend has it that the former owner murdered his wife and paved her underneath the driveway. Naturally, we decided to check it out.
IS SHE UNDER THERE?
The house is gorgeous and foreboding, with a metal fence blocking the drive. It is attached to a large storefront, making the overall property huge.
Also there is a cage in the backyard! For HUMANS, I’m sure!
Another interesting note is that the back door was unlocked.
HEY, YOU GUYS. DON’T GO IN UNLOCKED HOUSES, EVEN IF THEY’VE BEEN ABANDONED FOR YEARS BECAUSE MURDERERS LIVED THERE! THAT’S ILLEGAL. Or as Shawn said, “Are you really going in there? You’re going to get arrested. I’m not afraid of getting murdered — I’m only afraid of getting in trouble.”
Seriously, this house is gorgeous.
At this point, we decided it was time to swing down into Grand Blanc to look for @dadboner. (video coming soon)
For our next adventure, we’re contemplating a trip to scenic Inkster and a possible stay at one of a series of seedy motels — some connected to adult toy stores, and one the scene of a triple homicide. Anyone want to donate some Luminol?