Saturday, January 12, 2008

Impressions and Reviews

I enjoy road trips, always have, but it requires that one find a bed for night and a place to find nourishment. These tasks for me are necessary, but not enjoyable.
Finding a room for under $100 in the USA is quite easy, but do you want to? Here is a tip. As soon as you cross the border, stop at a rest stop and pick up a traveller's guide which has coupons for hotels in it, among other things. We used these and found that the desk clerks at the hotels were surprised to see them and commented that they were good deals. I take it that not many people know about this. Our best night at the La Quinta was $30.00 off and made it very affordable. We would not otherwise have chosen to stay there because of price. Having a CAA card will also get you a discount from $10 to $17. Whining will not get you anything.
Our first night was one of the cheapest and also one of the best. It was a Comfort Inn in Lincoln City with a view to the ocean and was under exterior reno's that were not at all disruptive.
No need to reserve in winter if you stop by 6 or 7 pm. Even then, we never stayed at a place that was fully booked for the night. All our places were clean, but some were worn.
The cost of the room is in direct proportion to the thickness of the towels.
HBO, cable TV, and in-room movies are just a way of giving you more that is not worth watching.
American TV is a tad worse than Canadian, plus ..... no hockey games.
Quality of beds vary immensely, as do quality of complimentary breakfasts.
Choose your end of town carefully. This is another reason to stop during daylight. Neon lights are pretty but they hide things.
Check your Internet, toilets, drains, and shower before settling in. You may have to move to another room. A broken TV is a bonus.
Stick to chain hotels, or if you want to be adventurous and stay at a place with Cabana, or Starlite in the name, check out the room first.
Sip the tap water before guzzling. This is a must.
Stay away from the freeway or suffer the consequences. If you forget, turn on the ventilation system for 'white noise'.
By law, there are no 'self serve' gas stations in Oregon, but their gas is cheaper than either Washington or California.
As a Canadian, it can be difficult to purchase gas with a credit card from the pump. You need a zip code.
Gas prices are different everywhere, even across the street. There can be 25 cents difference next door.
'His' or 'Hers' washrooms are becoming a thing of the past. There will be one washroom for all. It will tend to be cleaner.

You will not escape grease, so do not even try. There is a reason Americans are on average extremely overweight.
All Clam Chowders are not created equally. Even a 'seaside' eatery with 'award winning' chowder, will not have good chowder, although "Ketch Joanna's" in Half Moon Bay, right on the beach, had chowder to die for with gobs of real clam's swimming about. (That fireside dinner was a highlight.)
Jack in the Box: Without the police escort, we would have put Jack back in the box.
Order extra napkins to soak up the excess fat, no matter what you order.
Marie Callendar's meat loaf is right out of a can.
Country Cousins in Centralia, a delightfully country home style, very happening place, has the worst food on the planet, bar none. How can that many patrons be so undiscriminating in their taste? (Open since 1973? How can you serve slop and be in business that long?)
Even the worst 'soup of the day' can be salvaged with enough crackers.
Drink your restaurant water with a straw as the chlorine taste is somewhat mitigated if it does not travel the full length of the tongue.
Be aware that 'they' will put gravy on everything if you let them.
Applebee's is OK if you don't go there more than twice.
American buffet restaurants can be the best or the worst. Just don't give up after the first try.
Fruit is expensive in California. Go figure!

Eight lanes in one direction can be intimidating. The secret to survival is to NOT change lanes unless absolutely necessary, unless the traffic is light. But, it rarely is.
Overall quality of roads is excellent and signage is superb. Canada could really learn something.
America is totally geared for the automobile. It is evident everywhere. It is difficult to go for a walk anywhere, and you rarely see people walking.
Prius is the vehicle of choice in California. There are thousands of them there and most have a bumper sticker stating that God is a liberal. There is a connection there.
Apart from the Prius, SUV's rule supreme. It is either/or.
Radio stations are predominantly Christian, Country, or Conservative Talk.
Overall, drivers are much better than here.
If you do not like driving sandwiched between semis for miles on end, don't go. It is a fact of freeway driving. You have to get over your fear of death and put your imagination to rest when you see something 'wobbling'.

We are glad to be home, and we think we can survive the sprint to summer now that it is mid January. We do however, think that the next vacation will be tropical because of the chances of more sun.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Great advice...we'll take it all to heart for our trip this fall!