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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wait! One more thing: lessons learned

I knew I'd forget something. Happens all the time.

Especially for my child-free friends, DO NOT travel when school is out. This trip was so easy compared to driving out West to Mount Rushmore in the late spring. Even though I was sick and tired, it was easier than constantly dueling with entitled parents and their brats. I think we saw, like, four kids, and interacted with none of them, and therefore, not with their breeders either. Fall is great and probably early spring. We will not travel to child-centric destinations any more in general, but certainly not in summer. Other good alternatives are cruises for adults only, such as, but not limited to, Olivia Vacations, which are for women over 18 only. Check out Olivia.com

We liked the convenience of Red Roof Inns, for the most part, but the diceiness (Is that a word?) of their clientele and run-down condition of many of their properties makes us shy from using them again. What we figured out to do, however, is call any hotel we're interested in, in advance, to make sure pet families are housed on the first floor reasonably close to the back door. We can easily manage one cartload of crap now that we've greatly cut down on all the stuff we drag with us. Another option is to go to an area and look at some hotels before checking in, to see if they accept pets, have a drive-up arrangement, and have vacancies. But we really don't like to be quite that spontaneous. especially Joyce! So we will be taking the middle path unless we already know about a good Red Roof Inn, like Brunswick or Troutville. We seriously wish MOTELS would start a loose association and web-site of their own so we can find those drive-ups in advance. I once suggested to Hotels.com that they show entry arrangements for all hotels, but they blew me off. We don't reserve through them anymore, anyway. We have been quite disappointed with their responses to our concerns in the past, and they want all the money up front. Use them to locate hotels; we still do, but then go to the site for that hotel, or its chain.

As for private rentals, if you've read this blog at all (previous trips included), you know they run the gamut, and seem to have few, if any regulations. So if you spot a place you like, and can't get all the info you need from the site, call them, armed with a list of questions about things they don't come right out and show you, like how narrow a bathroom is, or what the entry to the building is like (stairs, railings, loose stones, etc.) Ask about specific things that are important to YOU, like if the ice-maker works, or if they provide dishwasher detergent. It may be they can fix a lot of stuff before you arrive, that they just didn't think of before.

Finally, if you're not used to having someone up in your face all day, or you're a loner, private person, bad sleeper, whatever, consider going the one adult per room route. You can hang out together as much or as little as you want, and your routines and personal stuff don't crowd either of you. I'm just saying, I think it had more to do with the success of the trip than just saving me from her snoring, and her from my bitching. We each got all the sleep we neeeded, that's for sure.

So as I said in my previous entry, this blog will return in the spring when I get back from the Philippines. We are going on a battlefield tour of the Bataan Peninsula to see where my Uncle Karl fought, was captured, and died, and to visit his grave, which the Army has just now identified for the first time in 70-plus years! And yes, they did know all along, but somehow "forgot" to tell anyone. Joyce will stay home with the dogs, but I will go with my aunt and cousins. Should be quite the adventure!

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