Saturday, September 2, 2017

Motel Hell III - Bemidji and Beyond!

Hey, guys, I started work again, so this is a bit delayed. But, I continue and hope to get this travel log done!

August 2, Minnesota Rt 2 heading west

We traveled through the level, yet wooded area I remembered from coming up here with my family to go fishing. We came to Cass Lake, and OMG, it had really changed from a small town to a tourist area. There were Indian-run casinos, of course. Even a nice rest area, where we could get maps etc., which wasn't there at all back when.

After lunch we walked around Bemidji--and finding a parking spot was a challenge. In fact the small town was grid-lock with bumper-to-bumper traffic. I do not recommend it for a destination. We did find a motel, and for the life of me, it wasn't memorable.
We walked through some of the shops, some I remember, and others I don't. This has been built up too. At least certain things were memorable, like the statue of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox.

August 3rd

I was happy today, because I'd found my earrings--my favorite ones that we bought years ago in Eagle River, NM. And my husband joked that I'd pretended to lose them in order to buy more. Hey, $6 for earrings is cheap!

Anyway, we continued west, into North Dakota. Here the speed limit was 80! Yeah, Dennis said 75 mph, was plenty fast, and yet you'd think it was but we saw a state trouper had pulled over some dummy who felt he could go even faster. Idiot.

It's odd how each state has its own particular look. In North Dakota with its wheat fields and sunflowers with the distinctive tree line to separate the very flat acreage between fields. In Minnesota, flat with some forest, interrupted by lakes. Lots of lakes.

We were going on new roads we hadn't driven before--the whole point of this trip "Going places where we've never gone before". But it becomes boring at time, for sure. I think that's why most people fly. Good for them, stay off the roads and out of our way!

We had to find a rest stop in order to use the bathroom. There were few, if any, and weren't where you needed them. We were hungry as well. But the place we stopped at was a gas/restaurant/casino. Bad timing, the men's room was being cleaned, so he had to go over into the smoky casino and he said he ran all the way out. We found a Subway down the road.

We came down into South Dakota (80 mph!, but we stay 75), trying to make decision if we should head home. We had packed enough for an extra day, so decided why not go to Mitchel and see the Corn Palace. Which is what we decided to do.

We stopped and stayed here once before. The street is being torn up, so we were happy to not have to go far. We got gas and went right across the way to the Days Inn, which is where we stayed the last time we were here. There's a restaurant here, so you don't have to leave and go somewhere for dinner. It's all part of the problem of traveling on the road. The restaurant changed to Ground Round. We've never eaten here before.

There is a college here and so, naturally the room was not up to par. In fact the toilet seat wasn't bolted down right, and there was a large hole in the wall, hidden by a waste basket. The door to the bath was also, at some point, busted, but they'd painted over that. And the floor looked as though it may have seen a mop about five years ago.

Before I go on I have to talk about one of my pet peeves--toilet paper dispensers. Why is it that hotels think you are double jointed, or have the arms of a gorilla? You either have to reach far back, or way in front or something that has you wondering who decided this was a good spot for the TP dispenser?

The one below was at a Hampton Inn, which we paid way too much for. Learned quickly they are now owned by Hilton. So, if you want to pay through the nose, fine. We had no choice. At least their breakfast was very good--and I don't  care what it says, you DO pay for the damned breakfast!

The worst place we had both room-wise and breakfast-wise would be here at the Day's Inn. More on that in a bit.

That night, we went to the Ground Round. Now, we've never eaten here, and I really don't know why I didn't take a picture or two. We had a male waiter, and as far as we're concerned, they tend to be better at serving. He asked what he could start us off with (drinks), and we both wanted beer. I'd already downed two of those little bottles of wine before we came down, because, hey, I'm on vacation! So we went with our usual, and he asked "Short or tall?"
Shrugging we said "Tall". Well, it was TALL. The glass was a mug and it was as tall as my forearm! Okay then.
We then decided on the smallest stake and it was covered in Bearnaise sauce and asparagus. Thought we'd go with mashed potatoes too. Had the salad, and that was good, but we wanted to have room for the meal.

When it came Dennis was impressed. He said it looked exactly like the picture in the menus, and it was excellent. When it comes to food, presentation, and taste, Dennis is the perfectionist and he will tell you when you've screwed it up. He gave it and "8". And possibly because he made glowing comments about the meal, we got a free ice cream. There you go. I gave it a "10"!

Returning to our room we settled down for a movie--this was "The Lone Ranger" with Johnny Depp. I'd seen it before, but Dennis hadn't. I told him this will be good, so we watched it--until the 20 commercials in a break got to us and sleep was in order.

The Day's Inn was supposed to have "speedy check-out" where they actually slip your bill (which has been paid), under your door by morning.

Didn't happen. Dennis went down to find out where his bill was. He said the guy who was doing morning shift actually didn't apologize but said "I had a rough night", which is no excuse at all, and very unprofessional.

Again the breakfast area looked as though it hadn't been clean since Obama was in office, and although the coffee was good--there was actually a "medium roast"--the price of our stay at $92, gave us the worse so-called "continental breakfast" over all. I would like to tell them where they can put their continental breakfast, and it wouldn't be on this continent.

In the news: Governor of  S. D. announced he was changing parties from Democratic to Republican saying "I can no longer [help or serve] you as a democrat", and now his vote will be one more in Trump's corner.

And someone on this news station spoke about Chicago being the "most dangerous city in the world", but I'd have to say he's overblown that statement. However, I don't have any plans on going to that city (or any city), any time soon.

If we'd had more time and money, we'd have headed for the Bad Lands. But we are only going as far as Mitchel. After a rest area stop, we saw dozens of egrets resting in trees along a waterway.

By the time we reached Mitchel S.D., we were starving. And, of course, more construction sort of hampered our trying to get around. We at least made it to the Corn Palace.

The theme was "Rock of Ages" all the designs are made with some part of the corn plant. I've never seen it in my life, but Dennis had when a boy. It was interesting to see all the pictures of the palace down the years, inside.

Dennis was not going to eat something from a sandwich shop, we accepted some free water, and nasty hard pretzels. We went to a local gas station which didn't have any food at all in it, but said "Our other one {blocks away], has food. As our go-to for something to put in our stomachs, we've gone to gas stations, where there is some sort of food. In fact we would use such places to get our coffee and some muffin or such just to get down the road.

The theme of the rest of our trip, it would seem was STARVATION.

We head back east on I-90. At this time bikers--and I mean hundreds of them--were going west to the Stergis Rally. A lot of them ride, but a few choose to haul them. All for the bragging rights, I suppose.

1:00pm: Finally we found a place to eat lunch--a very late lunch. This town was called Luvern, and the place was Papa-something or other. I didn't care, as long as the food was eatable. It was a tight little diner, where they packed people at small tables. We actually found a booth. We chose the "hot plate" with a salad--buffet style. Today was meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans, for less than $10 @! Now a deal is a deal, and when you think about it, if it's good, who cares? I pigged out. I was so damned hungry. The meatloaf was 4" square, and I ate every bite, because when we got there I was ready to eat my own arm!

We found a Super 8 at Fairmont. Nothing fancy, and we knew that bikers were still coming through, because there was a sign in front, with a bin with pieces of wood saying "use kick-stand blocks". The room was okay, but we had to move a damned folded up bunk out into the hall. It worked to keep people from going by our room at the head of the stairs--they went around the other way. Hahah. Had to put towels down along the floor at the door to keep the smoke from seeping in. Gak, I hate smokers!

We went and got a pizza across the way in the Holiday Inn--some sort of restaurant there. We talked to a pleasant college student. I even managed to give her my name and titles of my books.
Our room cost us $125. We may as well have stayed in the Holiday Inn!

We ate breakfast at a Perkins. Now, I don't know why I insisted on eating there. The bacon was thin and too crispy, Dennis had tried to get his eggs over medium and somehow they screwed that up. He ordered a fruit cup--got a couple of pieces of melon, 5 grapes and he was not impressed. I had a waffle, which was just right, and had more bacon than Dennis got, for some reason. We should have gone across the way for the price we paid for this breakfast! Never again.

We headed back then, and since the trip back home is always boring and depressing.

Well, that's it for this trip. Thanks for coming along!


  1. I've seen Paul Bunyan's statue, but I've never been to that Corn Palace. Terrific shots!

  2. Well, Paul B. may have come into Canada at some point, since he can cover a lot of territory with those big feet. (:

  3. The corn Palace sounds cool. I've heard of it, but after reading your travelogue, wild horses wouldn't get me to go there. Bet you're glad to be home!

  4. ~Norma which?
    ~Eve, I can't blame you. I'm not a motel camper. We used to camp, but our older bodies are not like they used to be, so, it's motels until we can get something to either pull or drive. So, yes. Things are quiet here most of the time!


Talk To Me...

As If I Needed The Reminder, Doc.

It isn't enough that I keep on getting mailings about it, reminding me of my turning a certain age. But the government had sent me ...