ND Shoot 4: man, Brenda Carlisle was right

Heaven really is a place on Earth, and that place is Grand Forks, North Dakota.

After three nights spent in two-bit hotels, we find ourselves at the C’Mon Inn. If you’re too lazy to click through, let me describe it loosely as a bizarre kind of suburban oasis motel – two floors of well-appointed rooms arranged around a lagoon-themed foyer that boasts no less than eight 4-person hot tubs. Did you get that? EIGHT FREAKING HOT TUBS. AND A HUGE POOL.

We’d spent the morning filming exteriors in a light drizzly cold, tossed to and fro by the lake winds, then the afternoon packed like sardines in a minivan for the two-hour drive from Devil’s Lake to Grand Forks. Upon arrival, we hustled out to shoot a scene with our subject and her brother – a scene that, as it turned out, was again entirely outside. By the time we wrapped, I was dirty, exhausted, and cranky, so in the 30 minutes between load-out and dinner, I slipped out of my five-day-gross jeans and into my bathing suit, making a beeline for the hot tub outside my room.

Honestly, words cannot describe the total and complete ecstasy. Like, when I die? I hope that my entire afterlife is spent slipping inch by inch into hot tubs. Since I only had a half-hour, I also swam a few laps before running back to my room and rinsing off, but the afterglow lasted all the way through post-meal drinks. As soon as I got back from the restaurant, I changed back into my bikini and did the whole thing over again. There wasn’t a soul to be seen, except for the maintenance man, who let me lounge in the water until nearly midnight.

So yes, I think my heaven might be here in Grand Forks, between the hours of 10:45 and 12, solitary floating in the hotel pool then sinking, blissful, into the adjacent hot tub, with only the sound of my own splashing feet to distract from the absolute joy of it all.

On the downside, I didn’t label any of my travel bottles, so I think I may have shampooed my hair with hand lotion and slathered deep conditioner on my legs. And even after all that, I still smell like chlorine.

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