Sunday, July 03, 2011

Cozy and comfy

You never know quite what you are going to get when you book lodgings online for a trip. Even well-known franchises vary from place to place. When Ray and I travel we are never interested in the most luxurious or expensive digs. Neither are we interested in saving so much money that you risk your health and welfare on a cheap room. The recent news of bedbug infestations has made me wary of bargain lodgings.  But we are not too fussy and pretty tolerant of modest accommodations as long as they are clean and safe. In foreign countries we prefer locally run lodgings to American chains and have had some interesting surprises!

For our recent trip, Ray, who is our trip planner, did a good job of finding pretty good lodgings. Our favorite, by far, was the Bed and Breakfast in Santa Fe called El Paradero.

It reminded me of very charming places we have stayed in Mexico and in Ecuador, except everyone spoke English here. The breakfasts were wonderful. The rooms were beautiful and comfortable and we especially enjoyed the patio where we visited with some of the other guests. I met a woman from Santa Cruz, CA who is very interested in fiber art, so we had a lot to talk about.

We spent nights in Las Vegas and in Reno, where we had rooms in Casino hotels. Those were very nice and reasonably priced. We stayed in a Days Inn in Flagstaff, which was decent, but oddly had no outlets in the room and no place to put our suitcases—have you ever stayed in a room that did not have at least one of those folding suitcase stands??. We had our phones recharging all night plugged into the only outlet in the bathroom. Also, their "full breakfast" consisted of waffles, cereal, sweet rolls and dry bagels. Carb-o-rama. The only fruit in sight was a bowl of plastic grapes. We thought that was the low point until we checked into the Lakeview Lodge in Lee Vining, CA. It looks great, overlooking Mono Lake. The gardens are beautiful. The exterior is charming. The room was up two flights of stairs and was weird, with overpowering '80s wallpaper and well-worn furnishings. I took a picture of the sofa with my phone to send to my daughter. I told her I thought I had seen its twin on the roadside in Portland several weeks ago with a "free" sign stuck to it.

This was also the only place we stayed that had foam pillows. You know, the ones that smell like—um— foam, and are so fat you wake up with a kink in your neck. When I spoke to my daughter on the phone and expressed some disappointment in the room she asked, "does it have orange shag carpet on the walls?" —a reference to a memorable (not in a good way) family vacation we took years ago. I had to admit the bilious wallpaper and scuzzy sofa was not that bad.

Travel is always an adventure and as Dean Martin used to sing, "memories are made of this..."


  1. Traveling makes you appreciate your home a little more.

    We once stayed at an Inn in Canada where a train went by and took the power with it. Turns out it was about 10 feet from our bedroom wall. Felt like a familiar I Love Lucy episode.

  2. Mr C and I once drove from CA to Jackson Hole for a conference and then on to Yellowstone and back. We had very eclectic lodgings - a round bed with mirrors overhead in Reno, Motel Six, a B&B that was like a tree house - just wonderful, etc. You can take the not so great nights if they are balanced with something really nice like your B&B.

  3. Which is why we take our "motel" with us when we road trip. We take our tent and sleeping bags or stay in KOA Kozy Kabins. Of course, this also comes with it's own set of challenges: trains going through the campground every half-hour or so all night long; maybe getting a shower, or maybe not; having a homeless man knocking on the door of your Kabin at 2:00 in the morning looking for a handout. (He was knocking on doors of motor homes, too. Lots of grumpy campers the next morning!) But at least it's my very own bed that I crawl into at night.

    Reading this has given me the bug for another road trip....

  4. Ah yes, sleeping bags, tents, trailers, motorhomes, etc. They free you from motels and hotels and such, but they hold no appeal for me. I know those of you who have em, love em, but I like to travel much less encumbered, and I'll take a real bed over a sleeping bag any day! I'm a sucker for those little bottles of shamppo and the ice machine down the hall.

  5. I stayed at the Lakeview in Lee Vining - once. My room was one of two in a short hall with a view of the dumpsters out the one window. It was like crawling into a hole for the night - creepy. I'd love to go back to camping, but I don't feel secure doing it alone. Ahhhh, for the good old days! Glad you are having a good time, despite the vagaries of sleeping accommodations.