Doesn't it seem logical that if you are going on a road trip that you would be able to drive until your tired and then just find a hotel along the way to sleep for the night? Assuming it's not a holiday weekend or some big event in the area you are. Well time and time again, I have made that assumption and been wrong. Last night was one of those times.
Todd and I were planning on bringing Tony out to New York to see his grandma and grandpa and last minute Todd decided that he was still too busy on the farm to get away for 5 days. Since I had the time off work, I decided to go anyway without him. I talked my sister Rachael into letting me bring her daughter Kristen with me, to help with Tony. The three of us left last night at 7pm for the 10+ hour drive. The plan was to drive until tired, hopefully till midnight, and then get a hotel and finish the trip in the morning. Sounds pretty logical right?
At midnight we stopped at a Hampton Inn and they were fully booked, but there was a hotel across the street that he recommended, so I asked him to call for me and see if they had a room and what the rate was so I didn't have to drive over there and haul in the baby unnecessarily. He was very kind and called, yes they had a room, but it was $189. No way was I paying that for 6 hours of sleep. The front desk guy said that I was in an expensive town, so I asked if there was a cheaper town down the way in the direction we were headed. He said yes, he knew of one, called and checked for us, it was the Ramada Inn and they had a room for $90. Sounded good to us, so off we were. When we arrived I decided to get gas since Tony was asleep and to save time in the morning, so here it was 12:30 and I was pumping gas, no one in sight. A police officer drove by, rolled down his window and asked if everything was okay. I thought that was a bit odd, but didn't read too much into it. (my first clue that I missed that I might not be in a good safe town)
When we pulled into the Ramada, it looked "okay" nothing fancy that's for sure, but not terrible. The lobby was much the same, just okay. The front desk man was a very nice black man who checked us in and gave us our keys. Oh and while we were checking in, 4 drunk people stumbled onto the elevators making a loud scene (another clue I overlooked). Key in hand we went to the elevator, the carpet was nasty, and the walls were all banged up, but we pressed on, neither Kristen or I saying a word about what we were thinking to each other. When we got off the elevator things went down down down hill even more, the halls smelled of stale smoke and the carpet and walls were really really bad. When we got to our room, it was clean, but had a nasty bed cover that looked a hundred years old, polyester sheets that were pilled and rough. Cigarette burns on the bathroom counter (in our nonsmoking room) and more nasty carpet that you'd be crazy to walk bare foot on. Neither Kristen nor I brushed our teeth, we put our pj's on and climbed into bed, I really wanted to just sleep in my clothes, including my shoes. It was that nasty. Even though I had been so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open, I was now wide awake and could not fall asleep. I kept thinking what would Todd say if he knew where we were staying, and what would Rachael and Derrick think of the place their daughter was sleeping in? I'm pretty sure it was the type of hotel you could rent by the hour, and I'd hate to see a black light in that room. I started to worry about my car, and what if it got broken into? What a mess that would be in the morning. We layed in bed both of us apparently thinking the same thing but not telling each other. Finally I asked her if she was awake still and she said yes, and I said, I'm scared let's get out of this place. She was like "oh, I'm so glad you said that, I am so scared too" We jumped out of bed, got dressed as fast as we could and ran downstairs and told them we were not staying. He asked why and we said, the room is nasty and we don't feel safe here. The manager came out, another very nice black man, who offered another room to us. No thanks, just a refund to my visa and we will be out of here.
So at 1:30 in the morning we were back in the car wondering what now? We were still 4 hours from NY so driving all night was not an option, everyone I knew was likely in bed, then I remembered I have a friend on the west coast and it would only be 10:30 her time. So I gave her a call, told her where we were and could she please find us a hotel. She got online and found us one about 20 miles down the road. It was a Hampton Inn which I have started to trust as a reliable place to stay. It was the same price as the seedy hotel that we were previously at and very nice, comfortable and clean. We finally got to bed around 3 am, but at least we were able to sleep.
So I think I have finally learned my lesson and will no longer assume I can just find a hotel along the way. Reservations will be made for our trip home.