Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Motel Hell Part I

It's the luck of the dice when you go from one motel to the next, not knowing what you'll pay. Sure. We could have made advanced  reservations, but my husband doesn't like to be tied to some schedule when he travels. So, we just get to a town and hope for the best.

If you've never stayed in a motel/hotel, I've gotta say one thing, you get what you get no matter what you pay. You get a bathroom, bed, TV, and maybe you'll get a refrigerator/microwave, and a window over the parking lot. Some motels include the usual "continental" breakfast. As if the word "continental" is something special. You get bad coffee and stale donuts at the very least. Other places will give you a hot breakfast, actually prepared by someone. Usually this is some sort of fried meat, maybe potatoes, scrambled eggs that look like something from a M.A.S.H. unit, and lumpy oatmeal. There could be waffles, there might be pancakes, it all depends on what the motel is willing to fork out (it's not "free", you've paid for it).

My experience is, you sometimes get lucky. Luck in finding a place to eat nearby (dinner and breakfast), that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Our first stay was in Eagle River, Wisconsin. We try and find the "Ma & Pop" style motels, because, usually they don't cost much--around $60-$70, tops. Plus, you can usually park right in front of your door. This is good for when you have a lot of heavy stuff to haul in, as they are usually only one-story deals.

We found a place called "Edge Water Inn", it was right off the river, next to a restaurant that we went to the last time we stayed in this town years ago. When we got out, there was only an old Golden Retriever laying under the patio table in front of the office. She was friendly, and came right up to us. When we saw the note on the door saying the person in charge was "relaxing" on the dock out back, we wondered how to get there. No fear, the dog, being as smart as most Goldens, walked to a narrow opening through to the back of the motel.She waited for us to follow. And we found the middle-aged, rotund woman down a flight of steep steps in a lounge chair on a deck off the water, blowing up some sort of individual rafts.

We asked if she had any rooms available. She had two double queens--"maybe". Well we wanted to get that confirmed. She finally got up, saying she had a family reunion and there weren't many rooms left, said something about apartments too. We noted that there were rooms down below the main rooms facing the river, and those must have been the apartments (or suites). Eventually we got a room, near the end, away from the office and all the "family reunion" stuff, and got settled. We realized we had a door to the back deck, and this is where we spent some time relaxing that evening, watching the boats go by.

We paid $94.00 after tax, and for that money, I'd give the room itself a 3, since it needed dusting, but otherwise clean. But the view was a 5. However, the place really needed some up-keep. We didn't lean on the railing, as it was a bit wobbly, and could have used a coat of paint. The decks were rather worn, and should have been stained, and a few boards should have been replaced. Up-keeping on such a place should really be #1 in priority, especially where railings could fail. But this was an older couple, neither of which looked energetic enough to make beds, let alone some of the up-keep needed.

Their reunion commenced as promised, and even though she said we could join them, we aren't that interested in other people's relatives. Thank you. It was a good thing they pretty much contained their partying on the outer-most deck, shown below.

The restaurant next door is called White Spruce, and can be pulled up to via boat, much like this motel. They have a beer garden on their deck. I remember it from last time, but since it began raining, and there was thunder, they didn't seat anyone outside. Bummer. As usual, more than enough food was served. Salad is always first, and it was very good. I had eggplant Parmesan, and Dennis had something called "smoked meatloaf", which he didn't care for. I think my husband could have been a food critic. He really missed his calling.

Getting back to our room, we had difficulty navigating through the stations on the TV. This was Direct TV, with a thousand and one stations, and I do believe you need a PhD in order to understand how to use it. We wound up watching a Harry Potter movie, and could not find any news stations anywhere, not even in the morning.

Even though motels say they have coffee in the morning, they don't have coffee until they've rolled out of bed and made it. We resorted to our old standby by getting into the truck, and finding a gas station store, which always have coffee and some sort of sweet rolls. Plus, we needed ice. 'Nuff said. We got down the road heading for Land O' Lakes, and wherever the road takes us next.

It's beautiful country up this way, and I like it because it doesn't get boring (like 200 miles of Illinois and more than 300 miles of Iowa). I'll be back with rest of trip and Motel Hell Part II.


  1. We have rewards cards for all of the motel/hotel chains. If we stayed x number of days, we got a free day.

    Stephen King used to travel on his motorcycle and check into the seediest motels he could find. He said they gave him inspiration.

  2. I've been up in Wisconsin a couple of times. It is beautiful country up there.

  3. ~Norma: Well, that's Mr. King for ya. But Ma & Pop's have to compete. There's one coming up that I would recommend.

    ~William, ever been in the upper peninsula of Michigan?

  4. Lorelei ~ Hey, I'm in Wisconsin! Maybe you knew that already. Which state do you live in? My family used to go up to Eagle River when I was a kid! Hey, you were lucky to get that Harry Potter movie. In the 80s anyway, we were getting two stations in. So I had a choice of watching 80s wrestling or televangelists. Equally entertaining, actually! :) Direct TV would have blown my mind.

    The scenery looks nice in your pics. I remember the lakes and trees being beautiful there.

  5. Hi, Justine, I'm in Illinois, about 45 min. west of Chicago (Thank God!)(but not far enough). I did know that you were in Wis. as I've stopped by your blog to see what you've been up to. Thanks for stopping in and leaving comment!


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