Wednesday, June 13, 2012

No pressure, babe.

Learning some traveling tips the hard way.

For one, you never know what kind of motel you're going to get until you get there. Pictures are useless, online descriptions are vague. And each motel has it's own quirks.

We stay at the Comfort/Quality Inn chain, which isn't the cheapest, but not the fanciest. We get about every third night free, on average. One common denominator is that I try to avoid the big cities, instead booking in the smaller town just outside...

First night, the motel in Fernly was a good half hour past Reno, which was all right by me. Our room was the closest to the train tracks. It was fine, but I didn't sleep very well. Thankfully, I was well rested before we left.

Second night, in Boulder City, was the one night we shared a king-sized bed. There was a bar next door blaring mariachi music late, but once the fan in the room got turned on, it was fine. A step-down in Quality from the other motels. I slept fine, but woke to find Linda sleeping on the floor. She was worried her jerking leg would wake me up. (Anyone who thinks 'restless leg syndrome' isn't real, doesn't have it...) I told her, I would've informed her if it was bothering me, but she gets paranoid about it.

Third night, we show up in Springdale, right outside Zion park, and find that it's like Sisters, only more so. Very high end but touristy shops. But the place we stay at is also a camping/RV place and I'm thinking, "oh, oh." But it was good-- very nice, new room and very quiet.

In planning the trip, I dropped a thread. I had intended to stay at least two nights in the general vicinity of Zion, the Grand Canyon and Bryce. But somehow got distracted by Linda's sudden strong desire to go over Wolf's Creek Pass -- she was told about it by a friend and had never heard the song about the runaway truck with the chickens and was tickled by it. Anyway, I ended up booking a room in Durango, Co. the night after Springdale, but last night I started adding up the driving hours and it came to at least 11 hours -- not counting any time we might want to actually look at Zion or the Grand Canyon.

I tried to cancel, but the online wouldn't let me. Linda told me to ask at the desk, and they called the other motel for me and got my reservation canceled, no penalty. Phew. Booked a room in Flagstaff, instead, which is more like 6 hours, which gives us a few hours to actually look at the sights.

Still hooked into going on to Santa Fe the next night, however. So I basically dropped an entire day in the planning. (No Wolf's Creek Pass, sorry Linda.)

How do you drop a day? Well, planning the trip is kind of stressful for me and Linda, so I think we just want to get the basics out of the way and never go back and revisit our plans. Plus national maps make the distances look achievable, whereas if you google the distances they are extreme. I'm torn by a desire to plan everything, but the fear that we'll get someplace and not find a nice place to stay.

Meanwhile, another little tip I've decided on: shower every morning. Sometimes it feels a little inconvenient, strange shower controls and all -- but it really starts the day fresh. And stock a little coffee the night before -- just warm it up in the micro. I'm sure as we keep going, I'll learn more tricks.

I drive Linda crazy because I'm so slow in the mornings -- I never seem to really get going until 10:00 or 11:00 and she's raring to go at 8:00. But she realizes that I'm a mess if she doesn't let me acclimate.

At the same time, I'm up reading for a couple hours after she crashes. At home, it doesn't seem all the noticeable, but on trips... So here it is, 9:30 in the morning, but there is a time shift and my body tells me it's 8:30, which is coffee sipping newspaper reading time, and Linda is literally waiting in the car outside listening to a tape! No pressure!

Anyway, the trip itself: We got out of Boulder City and went to the Hoover Dam. Thing is, the dam isn't all that impressive when you're actually on it. You have to climb up to the bridge that hangs over it to get the full picture. So we drudged on up, and it was interesting to me again to see all the different sizes and shapes and colors and cloths and hats of all the Americans. We are a diverse culture, folks.

Then we took the "scenic route" through Lake Mead National Recreation area, and ended up spending most of the day there. Very impressive -- the hills and colors. But it meant we didn't get the Springdale until late. Just as well, turns out Zion costs 25.00 to get into, and we would've had to go in and come back again and then go through again.

So that trip is for today, along with a jaunt to the North Rim of the Canyon. An hour, probably, at each place -- because, really, once you're actually there and soak in the sight, you don't really need much more than that unless you have some activity planned. The irony is that we probably spent 2 or 3 hours in the lesser sights of Lake Mead, but we don't regret it.

Tonight, Flagstaff, Az.

All right, Linda. I'm coming, I'm coming! Hold your horses!


Anonymous said...

for restless leg syndrome (which is very much real) :

Carl said...

You should have invested in the Seniors Pass for the US National Parks. Still ten bucks, I think, good for the entire car and good for ever.