OK, so now you own a resort in Eagle River, Wisconsin but live and work out of Chicago, Illinois. The first order of the day was to figure out the logistics to make it all work. Fortunately, I was a pilot for TWA and senior enough to bid long trips which gave me 4 days off at a time between flights. I made the trek up to Eagle River after each trip with my trusty Ford Pickup truck and the few meager tools I owned. Cottage 6 and 2 were both rentable but the rest needed some serious repairs. The next order of business was to rename the place. For 40 plus years it had been known as the Char-Lou cottages named after Charlotte and Louis Hall, the original owners. During this time of life I was going through the big D and I don’t mean Dallas. My ex took my girls to Florida and for the first time in my life I was living alone. The resort actually became my salvation and the name “Last Resort” just happened to be the right name at the right time of my life.
Advertising the cottages was the next order of business. I made up an ad and sent it to the Chicago Tribune under vacation rentals. I started getting phone calls and the prospective guests wanted a brochure with photographs. Brochure?? The best I could do at the time was to take a few Polaroid photographs and stick them in an envelope and mail them to the customers with a note asking them to send the photos back. Really. I used the same photos over and over and “If you build it, they will come” actually worked out ok. These trusting people actually sent deposits and came up with their families HOPING there really was a Last Resort facility in Eagle River.
During these first few weeks I was working day and night trying to improve the facilities. I recall one night I was installing new paneling in Cottage 3. I had skill saw humming cutting new panels and nailing them up in place. I heard a voice and looked up at the open window. All I saw was a pair of eyes and the voice said, “Mr. Lumley, it’s 2am and we are trying to sleep. Do you think you can finish your work tomorrow?”. I guess the time got away from me a wee bit. The new customers were really great people, very understanding and I became more sure than ever that I had made a good decision.
To be continued…………………