Inevitably I get one of those darn key cards at a hotel and I make it all the way up to my room only to find out the thing doesn't work. I am muttering "I miss real keys" all the way back down to the front desk to get a new one. On my little work trip up to Billings, MT, I had 2 hotels with real keys! I've discovered that is how you know its a real good hotel. Yeah the bedding isn't new, there isn't a mint on my pillow, but how many of those fancy smanchy hotels provide you with an ice cold Bud Light and an hour of conversation at check-in? NONE!
The guy who owns the hotel with real keys....he lives in Alaska in the winter working with Alaskan Air Command through the military. Now I didn't really know what Alaskan Air Command was, but I did know he had some amazing pictures on the wall of the lobby. It turns out that Alaskan Air Command is a bunch of radar stations that were built to keep an eye on Russia (humm.....might be needing those real soon again!) Very top security clearance is required to get into the radar stations, but he has the opportunity to see some amazing site. He saw natives harpoon a whale (like a giant one!) and cut it up and pickle it...supporting a whole village plus some. He has pictures on the edge of Alaska where you can see Russia with the naked eye across the Bering Sea.....only 58 miles away. He has pictures on top of one of the stations on a clear day with the American flag flying proudly. He has pictures of the stations covered in ice...sideways ice.
I almost missed my golf to stay and listen to his stories of travels. What a neat guy and all because of a real key!