Talkeetna Lodging — The Good, the Bad (and the REALLY ugly)


The view from behind Susitna River Lodging

Special bonus blog article this week. In fact, you could call it a PSA (Public Service Announcement). Ursula and I just returned this past Saturday from a trip to Seattle and Anchorage. While based in Anchorage we rented a car and drove north to Talkeetna to view Denali.

Ursula enjoying Susitna River Lodging

So, what’s so special about that, you ask? While in Talkeetna on Wednesday, 12 May 2021, we ran into the inn keeper from hell, which I shall cover in depth during the second half of this article. Until then, just as a teaser, when was the last time you got the third degree on your political leanings, “failed” the test, and were instructed to move on? No. I’m not joking, as you’ll see shortly.

Susitna Views

But first let’s talk about the “Good”. After we were told to take our business elsewhere, we tried the lovely Susitna River Lodging establishment, where we were pleasantly greeted by a charming lady at the front desk. I assume this was Darlene Hunter, as the owners are listed as Howard and Darlene Hunter. The reason I make this assumption is because the next morning at checkout we had a wonderful visit with her equally charming visiting brother Jerry and his equally wonderful wife Pam. During this chat we made what I suspect may be lifelong friends, as we exchanged contact information and vowed to stay in touch.

What started out as a quick “Hi-and-Goodbye turned into an extended chat that must’ve lasted well over an hour, perhaps even closer to two.

Susitna River Lodging office

Sprinkled throughout this part of my two-part lodging review are photos not only of the cabins, but also the Susitna River which flowed just behind our cabin (Cabin #2). Along the river we snapped a few photos of the mountains to the north hoping the tall one was Denali. Alas, it was not, but we captured that view later in our journey.

Our Susitna River Lodging Cabin #2

The cabin was comfortable, clean, and inviting. As inviting as the people who own it and their relatives, I’m sure. Initially the cabin was on the cold side, but it warmed up quickly.

Another Susitna River Lodging cabin

Views from the cabin:

We cannot recommend this place highly enough. Especially in comparison to . . .

The Lodging from Hell. . .

. . . which cowers behind the alias Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites.

Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites

We drove up to office, which had a lighted “Open” sign outside, but a “Closed” card sign in the window. Unsure of what was what, we rang the doorbell. After a few minutes Donald Louis Devore (I looked up this clown later; I now assume “Devore” is an alias for “DimWit”) entered the office through a side doorway, then opened the main entrance to the masked Doug and Ursula. I’m assuming the facemasks may have been the initial trigger here, but who knows? It might have been Ursula’s Swiss accent that set off this small-minded bigot.

The conversation among the three of us went something along the lines of:

  • Me: We were wondering if you had anything available for one night?
  • DimWit: I’ll check.
  • Ursula, looking at some craftwork in the lobby: That’s some lovely things. Who did this?
  • DimWit: My wife.
  • DimWit, eyeing us suspiciously: Where are you from?
  • Ursula: El Paso, Texas
  • DimWit, with undisguised disgust: Oh. Beto O’Rourke. What do you think of him?
  • Ursula: He wasn’t a bad congressman.
  • DimWit, now glaring at me: You a liberal?
  • Me: I wouldn’t call myself that. (Because I’m not; I’m an independent who used to be a conservative Republican)
  • DimWit: We don’t have anything for you.

Okay. Now you get the gist of what sets off this childish snowflake who still hasn’t gotten over the presidential election some 6+ months after the fact. He had no idea who I was, for whom I voted, if I was a military veteran (why that’s relevant in a moment), or anything else about me. All he knew by this point was:

  1. Ursula (a Republican by the way) didn’t think Beto O’Rourke was a bad congressman and,
  2. Doug doesn’t consider himself a liberal

That’s it. That’s all it takes to fail Don Devore’s political litmus test for cabin rentals.

Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites

Why is the fact that I’m a military veteran relevant here? Ask any veteran and they’ll tell you that many businesses make a show of “supporting our military” even though we veterans can smell a phony and know many of them are doing to for PR purposes only. Devore Fireside Cabins & Suites has this line on their website: “We offer a 10% Discount for Active Military.”

Now, it’s true that Donald Devore had no clue as to my veteran status; he never thought to ask that, for he was far more interested in my politics than my service. But it’s equally true he didn’t care what my veteran status was. That, in my book, puts him on my list of people who feign being pro military for PR purposes rather than actually meaning it. And I make that statement not knowing, or more relevantly caring, what his veteran status might be. Whatever he might once have been, it’s now obvious to this veteran that Mr. Devore is just another pathetic loser who hasn’t a clue how to run a service-related business while hiding behind a patriotic, pro-military, façade.

Needless to say, excerpts from this review will soon be finding their way onto various and sundry lodging review sites in the upcoming weeks.

Enjoy your review, Don Devore. You worked hard for it, and you deserve every last word of it.

The Alaska Range

6 Comments

Filed under Opinion Piece, R. Doug Wicker, Social Networking, travel, vacation

6 responses to “Talkeetna Lodging — The Good, the Bad (and the REALLY ugly)

  1. rogparish

    Denali is hard to see; it’s hidden in clouds most of the time.

    • Yes, it is, Roger. By the way, nice hearing from you again. It’s been a while.

      Fortunately, on this trip we finally saw it. I’ll be running photos of it when I do my series on this trip. It was our fourth attempt at seeing Denali, so we were pleasantly surprised.

  2. Jerry D Maune

    Make don famous

  3. michael alan shelley

    Glad you guys saw Denail; sad you met with the innkeeper from Hell. the twenty questions part would have caused us to leave, most likely after I pointed out to him we were not applying for a political internship, but rather looking for lodgings. We are traveling to the Denali area next year and will make note of and stay completely away from this jerk. Hope you and Ursula are well; hope we run into you again cruising some day.

    • Nice to hear from you, Michael. Yes, it would be great to cruise together again.

      Hope you get a good view of Denali. It took us four attempts to do so, but we got to see Denali on this trip.