page contents Google


Smoke, Wind, and Fire.

How To Find Places To Stay On The Road.

If two people travel together, one is planner. They’ve got the calendar, the days, the stops, and how long you’ll be in each place.

Two planners are a problem. With two planners it won’t be a trip, it’ll be a hostage negotiation where one or both feel trapped in the other’s trip.

If you’re not a planner, and neither is your travel partner, bring a tent. You’ll get stranded on the road somewhere along the line.

Let’s agree that planning is important, and that planning is more important to some than others.

Do you know anyone planning their bucket list trip? Don’t interfere with them, make suggestions, or try to help. They’re waiting for the chance to say, “It’s my bucket list, not yours.”

No need to help someone tidying up their last big trip.

Once you plan it out, and the planner says, “Why don’t you find us places to stay this time,” what do you do?

They made the last arrangements online. You stayed one place on the beach in LA. It was perfect except your room had a view of a cement wall behind the motel instead of the beach in front. You asked to change rooms, but the host said you had the online room reserved for the company you booked through. No change.

“And you got a great deal,” he said.

You want to do better than that, but can’t recall the booking company. So you look for the best deals in the towns you’ll visit.

The first night you pulled off the freeway and drove past all the chain motels.

The green pillow.

The green pillow.

“Live local,” is your motto as you drive into an abandoned part of town where motels are boarded up, gas stations abandoned, and what looks like a meth house with too many cars dragging their rear bumpers parked in the front yard.

Your motel is right across the street. Your front door opens to a view of the local meth house. You see someone watching you from the porch swing.

What to do? If everyone got robbed by meth heads your motel would be as boarded up as the one down the street. Besides, you’ve got a set of bikers staying in rooms a few doors down. If you can’t count on bikers’ help during a meth attack, who can you trust?

From an abandoned town to the next stop, you found a great deal on a view room. You pull into town and drive past all the cool motels. Close to shopping, events, and restaurants, you drive past.

Your motel is in between two nice places. What’s a little paint loss and carpet damage matter? So what if you walk up what feels like two stories of steps to the second floor. Just be glad you didn’t get a fourth floor room in a place with no elevator.

Always ask if there’s a gym in the motel. I didn’t and when I asked at the desk the clerk looked confused.

Did I mention free breakfast? Always check for the free breakfast. The first place had cold cereal you took back to your room. The second place had nothing. I call both a win.

The view room had a view of a treeline behind the strip mall housing antiques, collectibles, and gifts. I feel lucky I didn’t collect a bed bug family.

Night one and night two were sketchy, but the #1 planner expert said they were okay.

Moving on to a three night stand in a luxury lodge made the first two nights history.

It was also a view room. The view was a distant tree line and a close up of roofing that needed repair. The trees were nice.

At the lodge you could rent bikes, ride horses, swim indoors and out, hit the weight room, get a massage, the works. This is where you ask yourself if spending a ton of money on a room and a ton of money on extras is a good idea. It’s not.

Instead, test your driving skills and follow maps with roads that range from good to rough to one never mentioned: the crappy road detour onto an even worse road.

Stay off the broken parts of road in the back country.

Stay off the broken parts of road in the back country.

Don’t you wonder where all the 4X4 trucks and SUV’s are supposed to go instead of the mall? Those roads.

I drove bad roads for hours in the back country in a Japanese made sedan without about six inches of ground clearance. The bottom scraped twice, and these roads had potholes you couldn’t get out of if you went in; had ridges that would rip your oil pan and exhaust system out if you didn’t do it right.

Two bottom scrapes later, and five pounds of dirt, you’ve gone where few travel, and survived in style. You return to the lodge where the ten dollar sandwich and five dollar beer looks pretty good.

And you plan your next move on the road.

Part II, next.




About David Gillaspie
%d bloggers like this: