Friend Shari and I had another good day on the road. We left Ocala at a reasonable hour (for me, at least) and headed for Steinhatchee, where I had been talking up the blue crab claws at Roy’s for days.
We stopped at the Fanning Springs on the Suwanee River because that’s where we let the kids run off some steam when we were passing through. I told her we have pictures of Son Adam as a naked baby being sprayed down at a water faucet, but she declined to replicate the event.
She WAS willing to pose next to the bridge that spanned the river in 1934.
What!?!? No crab claws?
When we got to Roy’s, I told the waitress that I knew exactly what I wanted: an order of steamed blue crab claws.
In a tone that indicated that she had delivered the sad news more than once, she said they were out of crab claws AND oysters.
“You’re OUT of crab claws?!?! We drove 300 miles to taste those wonderful things. Are you SURE?”
She was sure.
We ended up with an excellent salad bar and a seafood platter that was good, but it wasn’t crab claws.
Establishing motel standards
You may have read about the difficulty we had agreeing on a place to stay Friday night. One porridge was too hot; one porridge was too cold; one porridge was too expensive; another porridge was, well, you get the idea.
Just outside Perry, I spotted a MOTEL sign on the other side of the road. I braked just short of smoking tires, did a U-turn and pulled to a stop in front of the place.
“I want to establish a set of standards of acceptability so we don’t go through what we went through last night. Let’s see if we can agree on a the minimum that we can live with.”
Do you like plants in the room?
I thought she’d like to have plants in the room. The fact they are live and not plastic should add points.
Clean bathroom important?
When we were coming into Mariana, I asked if she wanted to stop there or journey on to Dothan, 40 minutes up the road. She plugged “Starbucks” into her mapping program, found out the nearest Starbucks was in Dothan, and said, “Take me to Alabama.”
Are you influenced by sale prices?
Conversation lagged, so I fired up the MP3 playlist that I use on my bike. It might have been my imagination, but I thought she sang along to “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” with just a little too much feeling.
Is a mural desirable?
Shari saw some of the works of the Florida Highwaymen, a group of 26 black artists who painted iconic Florida landscapes in the 1950s, and was taken by their style. I thought a room with a mural would get a high rating.
Do you require black-out curtains?
Does the room have to be completely dark for you to sleep?
Ash trays in non-smoking rooms
We ended up in a Motel 6 in Dothan close enough for us to double back to Mollywood so Shari can be photographed with Elvis.
Lynette, the front desk clerk, was one of the high points of the day. She was funny, helpful and put up with our bantering. She did tell us to expect one curious thing when we got to the rooms: the rooms are non-smoking, but they have ashtrays in them.
“That doesn’t make any sense.” I argued.
“People lie,” she said. “They smoke anyway, and they were burning holes in our sheets and carpets, so we put ashtrays in all the rooms.”
I warned her that I’d be back if I could smell any smoke in MY room. As it turned out, the room was acceptable (and, better yet, it was only $35.63. I’ve paid a lot more for a lot less before).
If you decide to stay there, tell Lynette, a Chicago transplant, we said “Howdy.”
UPDATE on Motel 6 room
When I checked in, I pulled down the bed cover and gave the sheets and pillow a quick sniff test. They seemed to be OK in my ashtray-equipped non-smoking room,
I finished this post and rolled into bed around 2 a.m. Central time, which would have made it about 3 a.m. Head Time since I live in in the land of Eastern time. The bed was great; the pillow was OK; the air conditioner was a bit noisy, but kept the room at the right temp. Life is good.
Smoke embedded in innards
I was out like the proverbial light. For about an hour, that is.
I woke up with my nose stopped up and a scratchy throat. My quick sniff test hadn’t been deep enough to pick up the smoke deeply embedded (pun not intended, but I’ll take it) in the mattress, pillow innards or some other place. I popped an antihistamine that helped, but I was conscious of that smoke every time I woke up.
The price was great; clerk Lynette was a delight, and the room was much better than expected, but I’ll never stay in a place again that puts ashtrays in non-smoking rooms. And, I have a spot reserved in a very hot, smoky place for people who smoke in non-smoking locations.
I don’t know if the ashtray thing is a local option or if all Motel 6 locations do it. I think I’ll solve the problem by never staying in one again.
11 Replies to “Motel Saga Continued”
When traveling with Ken, it’s really important to get Basic Ground Rules firmly established early. In more or less ascending order of importance: 1) I will stop almost anywhere (above water) for a limited period of time. 2) You have to WARN me before you take pictures, and I get ultimate veto power if it’s a Bad Hair Day (that one never did fly). 3) When stopping overnight, I have basic requirements, including access to Starbuck’s and nicotine; beyond that, I prefer inexpensive (ok, cheap) to chocolates on my pillow and heavily decorated rooms with bad reproductions on the wall. After all, all I’m going to do is sleep, take a shower, and connect to the internet.
Beyond a few initial misunderstandings on how literally to interpret the Basic Ground Rules, it’s been a great trip–the company is good, the conversation is great, there was only one small gator early on and he didn’t push me in the river to see how fast it could swim, although he did threaten. I think Lila has finally housebroken him!
How was Tom? I guess he did leave the light on for you.
In a motel, on the wrong side of Gallup, New Mexico, a sign on the back of the room door states, “Please report fighting on the parking lot to the manager.” I guess it has been a problem. No Fighting has been added to our standards of acceptability for a motel/hotel.
For $35.63 I would take an antihistamine any day, Ken. That is a super rate. Good grief. Plus you got a nice clerk.
Yeah, Shari, Ken doesn’t do well at accepting suggestions about editing of his photos. He’s gonna use any photo of you he snaps. You should have negotiated that ability to veto them up front.
So sorry Roy’s didn’t have crab claws. I really wanted to visit that place. You talked that place up to me too, Ken. But we didn’t get there in time. Now I’m not as disappointed.
Very effective use of headlines with the photos of your suggested “hotel” stop just outside Perry. Ha!
Ken, you keep finding these great people for traveling companions. Shari, you look adorable!
You made me LOL with this one Ken! Wish I had pics of a motel I stayed in in Nebraska c. 1968. You would not believe it. I was 18 yrs old & went with my landlord & landlady on a whirlwind trip to Nebraska to pick up their run-away 8 mos pregnant daughter from jail (I kid you not). I had never met their daughter but they asked me to come along so that maybe she would relate to me and not run away again on the way back to IL. We had traveled straight through from IL to NB during the monsoon season thru the lovely and scenic state of Kansas. BORING! When we got to our destination there was some kind of event going on and all hotel rooms were booked. NO VACANCY signs all over the place. We found a hotel with a vacancy & then found out why they had a vacancy. Evidently it was the business place for some ladies of the street. The place was FILTHY. The shower had thick mold growing in it. The cot I slept on was right next to a hole in the wall that led to the next room….definitely NOT the place you want to go to sleep in. If I were in the same situation now, I would be OUTTA THERE. It would have been better to sleep in the car. (Oh, the daughter came home with us, had her baby, then ran away again)
In 1998, on a family camping vacation trip, we were to spend one night in our pop-up camper in Rawlins, Wyoming. We had set up at a KOA campground on the west side of town and were just getting ready to climb into our sleeping bags for the night when very strong winds from a storm rolled in that threatened to tear the camper canvas to shreds. We quickly took down the camper and set out to find a hotel for the night. Hotel after hotel was booked; there was a rodeo in town. We called around and found the only hotel that had a vacancy; the Cliff Inn. The room was in poor shape; the carpet between the beds had a two feet diameter hole worn through it; the concrete floor was exposed. The bathroom was marginal, but the bed linens were clean. We survived the night but vowed never to do that again.
All this is making me appreciate our motorhome (we bring our own bed and strictly enforce no smoking)
Actually I’m more interested in why Ken had a different woman with him each trip? Lila must pick them. Or they have a bout of temporary insanity…
I liked it a lot better when she would say, “I’m sharing him” rather than when she says, “I’m inflicting him on them.”
Lila is the most gracious hostess imagineable, and I’d go back to FL in a heartbeat for that reason alone. It’s clear, though, that she’s got this coping-with-Ken thing down to a science. A lot of practice, clearly. Anne and I did put our heads together briefly before the trip and I should have paid better heed to her advice. I think at this point that Lila screens us for the prerequisite insanity and then just sends us all out into the wild blue yonder with her fingers crossed.
There is no doubt that she has me figured out: she flies to and from Cape while I drive.
She could stand only so much fun in her life.