Cheap Hotels now and then
I love modern life. I can go pretty much anywhere in the world, forearmed with knowledge that I won’t be sharing my lodgings with scorpions unless the internet says I will.
Scorpions? Seriously. My grandparents told tale of a road trip to northern Mexico in the 1920s where their hotel room walls were covered with creepy, crawly, poison scorpions. I can’t even sleep without an eye mask and the perfect pillow. Imagine the comforting night’s sleep I’d get while sharing my room with poisonous insects.
I had my own pre-internet hotel/motel adventures, as I’m sure most people did. Tell me your worst lodging stories in the comments section. I love to hear them.
I remember a cheap motel in Denver that stank so badly of cigarette smoke that when I took my nightgown out the next night 500 miles down the road, a wave of rank grey smell came floating out with it.
Or the formerly quaint, now kinda Shining-level scary hotel in California’s Gold Country where there were 2 options: a room RIGHT above the bar, where Bob Seger music blasted at about 110 decibels, or a room that had apparently not been aired out since Eisenhower was president. It also had a bed that was on bedsprings…let me find a photo, because most people in the modern era have never seen this…
Every time my partner (who was in a great deal of trouble, because he had promised to make hotel reservations and hadn’t, leaving us stuck with the only available rooms in town) or I moved an inch, the metal springs creaked out a loud, rusty song.
I could go on…but seriously, traveling was scary. You pulled into a town, took a peek around and tried to determine from the motel’s facade and general state of appearance whether you were going to find a clean, comfortable room, or whether a Night of Living Hell awaited you.
And if you did have a terrible stay, what could you do? Argue over the bill? Tell all your friends that if they ever happened to be in Salina, Kansas that they should avoid the Dew Drop Inn? (No idea whether there is a Dew Drop Inn in Salina or if it is habitable. Just exampling.)
So I’m so glad to have the internet, with its passionate travelers, to give me an advance peek into potential lodgings. TripAdvisor.com is my choice of review sites, but Yelp will work, too. I don’t know why I usually use Trip Advisor for hotels and Yelp to find great places to eat…it’s just how I do.
I pay it back, too, posting reviews and photos of places I stay and restaurants. As every statistician knows, sample size matters, so the more the merrier.
On this trip, thanks to Trip Advisor’s “Best Value” button, we found two great deals on two humble but clean motels. I can tell you that Mrs. Lin at the Sundown Inn in Morro Bay runs a tight ship. She owns the place and does everything, including housekeeping, and I have to thank God that she’s a much better housekeeper than I am. It was CLEAN. For $49 a night, I was pretty skeptical, but I’m a convert now.
The internet has taken some of the adventure and romance out of travel, for sure. True surprises are harder and harder to find. But it has also taken out scorpions and cigarette reek, so, for me, it’s a fair trade.