Picking a Motel

Canal Point gator 10-10-2013It’s always a challenge figuring out where to stop for the night when you are traveling with new folks. I’m not overly picky: I’m looking for somewhere clean and cheap.

I made the mistake of letting Friend Jan pick a place in Louisville on our trip this winter. Bad Move.

Friend Anne didn’t mind playing the role of spatting newlywed to win a discount in Lake City.

I tried to show Friend Shari alligators around Lake O, but they must have been federal alligators laid off because of the government’s shutdown. We spotted one little one at the Canal Point locks, but he wouldn’t have made a slipper, let along a set of shoes.

We were getting hungry and were going to be too late to get to Roy’s in Steinhatchee, so we opted for the always great buffet at the Golden Corral in Okeechobee.

Hotel Jacaranda

Hotel Jacaranda 10-10-2013The meal was so large, that Shari immediately passed out. She came to when we passed through historic downtown Sebring. She REALLY came alive when we got to historic Avon Park and the Hotel Jacaranda. I’ll have more pix of it when I’m not so sleepy. Unlike Shari, I didn’t get a nap.

I DID shoot some pictures of the diving woman in front of Reed’s Motel. I shot her in 1990 when I did a story on U.S. 27 between Little Havana in Miami and Havana, FL, on the Georgia line.

By the time we got to Ocala, my passenger was whining that it was six hours past her bedtime. Instead of a place to lay my head, though, she wanted to find a Starbucks joint so she could steal my van and get a jolt before I had hit my snooze alarm for the third time in the morning.

Smoking rooms harder to find

Reed's MotelTHEN we went looking for a motel. She’s a smoker, so that eliminated most of the more modern, upscale places. She wanted a Mom and Pop with loose standards.

She picked the first one because it was named after a long-legged bird she is fond of. Let’s just leave it at that. It was a 1950’s place that rented by the week. I got a little worried when I noticed that the windows in almost all of the rooms were open. So were a lot of the doors. In one of the doors was a guy who was busily scratching parts that itched. I suggested we go to the next place listed on the GPS.

It was a fancy bed and breakfast. I don’t like them because I don’t want to be warm and fuzzy with the owners. I want a good, anonymous room where I can throw a wet towel on the bathroom floor and not feel guilty.

We can’t afford a place with “grounds”

Candidate three was eliminated because it was too fancy:  it had “grounds.” “We can’t afford anyplace that has grounds,” she said.

Candidate four was similar to Candidate One except that the windows were closed. All but one of them. When our headlights played across the rooms, a guy carefully pulled  back a corner of the curtain and stared at us. It wasn’t clear if he was expecting someone to be making a pickup or a delivery, and I don’t think he had pizza on his mind.

We finally came up with a place that was minimally acceptable. (If we wanted a microwave or a fridge, it would cost $5 extra.)

When the desk clerk asked if we would like adjoining rooms, I said, “Nah, she’s a smoker. If she sets her bed on fire, I’d be happy to have her in a different building. He took me at my word. She’s not only in a different building, I’m pretty sure she’s in a different area code.

I’LL find the room tomorrow night.