Old West Inn: A Ponderosa of Paradoxes

Yesterday, I blearily stumbling through Leggett and Laytonville on 101 in search of lodging. The motels I called were usually surprised to receive an inquiry from a potential overnight lodger, and the ones I drove by had Harleys under covers in front of rooms (ie permanent residents). Most didn’t have paved parking lots and one was next-door to (I kid you not) a combination laundromat and smokehouse (with a cigar store Indian motif).

I called some hotels in Ft. Bragg, but $120 is a little steep for on non-view single. And the KOA didn’t answer their phone (they must have caller ID).

So when I drove into the relatively bustling metropolis of Willits, CA, I was delighted to see a plethora of options.


“The Lark” looked like my kind if vintage neon-signed getaway, but the only on-line review said: “I wouldn’t stay there again even if the only other option was staying in my car”.

Another one I called whose sign pleaded “try us” didn’t speak English well enough to answer whether or not they had a room, and if so, the rate.

So I took a gamble and stopped at the Old West Inn.

A waft of Indian (ie India) incense greets me, and I sign up for a $60 ground floor room. Parking in the rear. It looks clean, but after the places I’ve seen, the bar is pretty low…

Imagine my surprise to see a clean, interestingly decorated, spacious room (scented with incense, of course).


Nice. On to an evening of blogging and uploading the day’s photos using their free Internet.

But not before I was serenaded by a twangy western guitar from a neighboring outdoor theatre singing “Bad Romance” by Lady GaGa.

I’m in the “trading post” room. Since a bed is its main feature, I’m not sure what kind of currency they use. There’s also a barber shop.


And Kleenex:

“Alta brand tissues: 10 grit where you want it most”

As a matter of fact, Martha, Ms. Kitty did tuck me in last night – with a hug and a whisky-soaked kiss.

The cigar-store Indian (native American) has a fire extinguisher – just in case. Which is lucky, since all the CA DOT workers who stayed here last night smoked up a storm. And it was a symphony of beer can tab pulling.

Well, and if you want a pool, you’ll need to lift up the splintering cover to see what lurks beneath.

(they don’t advertise a pool)

The staff are super friendly, continental breakfast simple but effective. All in all, I would definitely come back to this ponderosa of paradoxes.


5 thoughts on “Old West Inn: A Ponderosa of Paradoxes

  1. Hey,
    Thanks for this blog. I am the manager of The Old West Inn (Roshan Patel) and honestly, very impressed with your work and even the pictures. I am thinking of opening up a “Guest Pictures” tab on the motel website and if you want, i will put your pictures onto that as well.

    Thanks for making a blog about the Motel, appreciate your work.

    1. Your motel was such a nice surprise on my trip – you’re welcome to the photos (2 or 3 were stolen from the web). I’ll be back next time I drive down the coast (w/o my trailer).

  2. I just created a “Guest Photos” page on the motel website and your pictures are also updated 🙂

    Thanks for letting us use those pictures and also for your generous words.

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