We don't fly anywhere, but do road trips to wherever we want to wind up. You see the country that way. And, we're just not wired for being in a cramped quarters with a bunch of strangers, or waiting for hours to take off.
We had things planned out, but unfortunately, we hadn't checked about one thing until last minute. Cheyenne has a huge rodeo, and we're going into the hub of it. We thought we would be able to get a room somewhere in Sidney or such places. Our first night we stayed in Walnut Iowa, trying not to do too many miles in one day. We did 380 miles that first day. Stayed in a Super 8. One word of warning, Super 8's are not what they used to be/ up to par. And we know this, but once in a while we take a chance that they are kept up, or haven't had the opportunity to become run-down by the people who now own them. But this one was fine, still good, although ran by someone different, now than last we were here.
This was a good stopping point, but we didn't go to the diner that night. You really don't know what sort of food you might get. But, earlier, we did stop at a Denny's and ate a huge meal, so we chose to eat "light" for dinner with cheese (wine) and snacks (beer and more wine), and watch "Friends". The meal part of our trip would become our problem. Stopping in large towns where it's hectic, after you've already driven four hours, you aren't in the mood for idiots, and lots of unfamiliar traffic. There would be times we didn't get a lunch. The second day was one of those days.
Already not prepared to see so much traffic all the way into Nebraska, after Omaha, or even North Platte--which would, by then, be very few people on road, including semi's--we were worried this was traffic going to Cheyenne Days. Let me just say that this is like the super bowl for rodeos. People out west really get into them and we learned that motels were booked solid even as far as 200-250 miles away. I can't imagine anyone wanted to drive 4 hours each way to go to a damned rodeo, but that's just me.
One thing about traveling west, you go through time zones, and going west, you gain an hour. When our clocks showed 1:26, it was really 12:26. How cool is that? This gives us a little cushion of time to get to a motel and check in.
Our hopes to eat a good lunch was dashed when we didn't get off at Lexington, like we'd planned. Somehow we didn't realize our exit was coming up. You get zoned out, sometimes and just don't read signs. So we spent the next two hours pulling off 3 times in all, trying to find a Subway. Let me tell you, if you can't get to any other place (and we shun burger joints, especially McGarbage), a Subway is usually clean and good. But the place we did pull off to, Dennis and I went into the rest rooms and they were really filthy. We left. The best way to judge a restaurant is by the bathrooms. Remember, those people who serve you have to use it too.
Anyway, it completely turned Dennis off on this one and we left.
Down the road we head. We kept finding parking lots in North Platte were totally full. We usually go to Whiskey Creek, but we walked in--this is at 12:45--and there were people waiting to be seated. Well shit!
All the other restaurants in the area were the same. This was not normal. We took out whatever food we had and ate it in the truck, then drove on, worried about finding any motel room later on. Believe me, this was looking really bad.
We reached Ogalala, thinking we might be able to find something. There were at least 3 hotels, some with three stories. We decided to try a Travel Lodge, that had outside doors to your room. Love those because you can unload and load quickly when traveling. This is how the old motels used to be, back in the 60's, and it seems that some are going back to that. Then there are your "mom & pop" ones that are this way. They don't offer any "free breakfast" (it's not free, it's included in your bill, duh!), and you get them about $20 cheaper than those fancier ones.
Dennis went inside, I stayed in the truck, just in case we wouldn't get a room. I waited, watching people roaming around, noticing that there was a restaurant next door and a truck plaza as well, for anything we might need.
Moments passed, and I was pretty sure his being inside so long meant there was a chance we had a room. Dennis came out with a sheet of paper in his hand (the bill), a smile on his face and threw his hands up (relief). He said we were very lucky. They'd had a cancellation, and we got a room there. According to the people inside we wouldn't have gotten a room anywhere around here, not as far back as in middle of Nebraska.
We were double lucky and had a room downstairs. This had 2 queen beds, and there was barely room to move around. I don't know who designs motel rooms, but they should be shot. Especially the moron who places the toilet paper holders where you have to be a contortionist in order to get hold of it!
We went to the restaurant and had two excellent steak dinners for $6 @. We then chilled in the room and watched TV until we went to bed.
Well, I'll stop here. Our first few days usually are not so hard. We seemed to be screwed from the beginning. But being lucky enough to get a room here was purely luck.
Next two days we head to the coast, and into Oregon where we've never been before. Thanks for stopping by and hope you will join me in my travel journal. Until next time.
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