Road Trips: What type of lodging do you seek out?

Road Trips: What type of lodging do you seek out?

When it comes to traveling for several days on a motorcycle road trip, barring any unforeseen mishaps or frivolous souvenir purchases your lodging costs will most likely make up the bulk of your expenses. Over the last few years I’ve stayed in some dumps while traveling. Most recently, we stayed in a motel in upstate New York that was a total dive.
 
I guess I should have known that the place was skeevy when the lady at the desk asked me if I wanted to look at the room first. I’ve never been asked that before.  ‘No, I’m sure it’s fine,’ I said as she ignored me and escorted me down the sidewalk. She had the room key and a television remote in her hand. I guess they must lose a lot of remotes in this joint, I thought. In hindsight, I don’t know why she bothered bringing the key with her. The room door didn’t actually lock. You could just push it open. Kenny and I put a chair under the door knob that night when we went to bed. 

Dive motel in Upstate New York

So what have we got here?

A single bare light bulb illuminating a pink nightmare. A handwritten channel guide taped to the wall. The thermostat had duct tape over it to prevent use. Alongside said thermostat was a note informing us that we shouldn’t use the heat and the air conditioning at the same time. Probably a good tip, that one. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you’re hot enough to use the AC you probably don’t want the heat on.

I got the distinct feeling that I smelled like the room the following day, even though I’d showered. I also seem to recall being able to identify individual springs in the mattress when rolling over to try to find comfort in my paper towel-thin pillow. It may have in fact been only the case, it was so thin. On the upside, the bathroom was clean. The place had that going for it. One star lodging at it’s finest.

What type of lodging do you seek out when on the road?  Are you a picky lodger or do you just need clean sheets and a shower?

14 Replies to “Road Trips: What type of lodging do you seek out?”

  1. YIKES!!! seedy isnt the word for that place looks like the place I once stayed in in florida. The red carpet inn was the name I think and it had green shag carpets ill how scary.

    On the topic of what do I look for I always try to find the expensive places since I am no doubt checking in at 3 am with a 11:30 check out you can almost always barter a deal for an awesome room! Try it I once got a suite in Jacksonville for like $60.00 and checked in at 1 am

  2. Ugh, that ‘smelled like the room’ comment got to me! I know some riders bring a sleeping bag and spread their own gear out on the bed. That’s better than the setup and rawness of tenting in some cases, I suppose.

    I like Carmine’s idea of last-minute bartering for a nice room, although I’m not that smooth a barterer. My wife is a master of it, and is as natural and breezy as can be.

    I guess North America has never really caught on to the hostel concept that I understand is common in Europe? Just wondering.

  3. For me, the level of accommodations depends on what kind of trip I’m on.

    Last year on group roads trips, our hotel/motels ranged from down right ghetto to 5 star posh.

    If I’m on a solo trip, the only standard I have is to not spend less that $80 for a room. Spend any less than that and you run the risk of bed bugs and mold. As long as there’s cable, a/c and a Walmart nearby (yes, I check for a local Walmart before I book the room), then I’ll be good. I always pack a pair of flip flops so that I don’t have to walk around barefoot, just in case the room’s carpeting is NASTY.

  4. The bare bulb just adds to the overall style. Im sure a room like that is rented an hour at a time during the week. Ok, maybe 15 minutes at a time! Hey its better then sleeping on the ground like we used to do in the old days.

    WAY BACK when i first got my M/C license the movie Easy Rider came out. The scene where Jack Nicholson character gets beaten to death by rednecks in a sleeping bag cured me of wanting to sleep outside under the stars ever again.

  5. A room like that makes tent camping look mighty good. Why pay for the privilege of a disgusting room?

    @Poustman: Hostels are fairly common in the US however, they’re often just as costly as a room in a hotel despite the shared quarters and bathrooms.

  6. One star dives FTW! I stayed in some pretty decent places for under $50 on my trip, and only in one place did I think Antoine Chigurh was going to kick down my door in the middle of the night 🙂

    Who could forget gems like the Princess and the North Fork Inn! 😀

  7. I wish I could say that the pink room was the worst hotel I ever stayed in. But, as Novos said the North Fork motel we stayed in when all options were exhausted in California was the worst. The lady gave Kenny & I our money back and let us stay for free 😀

  8. @Stacy-

    Yea I think with camping you probably have different expectations. If you encounter bugs while camping it probably doesn’t phase you. Its part of being outdoors.

    Encountering bugs in your motel room… doesn’t have the same result 😀

  9. We stayed in a motel near Deals Gap that I actually had to ask the front desk to give me a toilet seat because it was missing from the room!

    Ahh… The Princess Motel. Good times.

  10. Ew. I’ll keep going until I find a quality hotel. I’m so done shitty hotels. I would rather sleep outside under an over pass than a crappy hotel. Check for lice, ticks and swine flu after staying there.

  11. In all fairness, the room was actually clean – just, well, you see it – it was pretty yuk.

    I’d always opt for a nice room, but sometimes you are out in the middle of nowhere and don’t have much of a choice. Outside of Yosemite, we searched for 100 miles in every direction and the only choice was that horrible bug infested dive. We slept in our leathers and left our bags on the bike 🙂

  12. Fuzzy,

    I’ve been in my fair share of nasty motels/hotels as well and have walked out of a few demanding my money back. That is why I camp as much as possible when on long road trips. At least I know everybody who has been in my tent. I often stay at KOA sites, at least they have clean bathrooms.

    Recently I discovered Motel6 after I got sick of camping while doing a 4,000 miles ride through southern and central United States. Ironically it turned out that some of the Motel6 in the south and central US are about the same rate as the high-end campgrounds. One in particular one, in Newport, TN was like a 3or4 star hotel. I could believe it was a Motel6 for $30 per night! Cheaper than most resort Campgrounds I’ve been to.

    The lesson is to never be afraid to walkout of a skeevy motel/hotel and demand your money back. My general rule is to get off the road at least an hour and a half before it gets dark to give me a chance to find a reasonable place to sleep and checkout the local food options.

    PS
    I like the new look of your site, I have not been to it since the week after Ramapo 500. It looks great! Keep up the good work.

  13. Ah yes, the North Fork.

    The nice pub on the hill was quite inviting as well.

    Bugs in the room were far more at home that we could have been 🙂

  14. Thanks for all the feedback everybody 🙂

    Hopefully I won’t be staying in any dumps any time soon, but if I do.. i’ll be sure to detail it for you all! :oD

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