Sunday, October 21, 2012

Now THAT was interesting

As I inferred in my previous post, all has not been giggles and car keys when we Budget Travel. There have been a couple -- cue the LooneyTunes sound -- DOINNNNNGGS. Not many, but a couple worth mentioning.

The Village Inn, Arlington, Oregon

I asked that we not go there, but here we are.

Under new management. . . Don't be SHY!

If you are of this region and traverse back and forth on Interstate 84 between points east and west in Oregon, you might have briefly noted Arlington on the Oregon side as you whizzed by at 75 miles an hour. For many years, we've stopped here, especially traveling with the younger versions of the Numbers One and Two Sons, because, shhhhhhh, it's got a GREAT municipal swimming hole on the Columbia River and a couple passable burger joints for an after-dip pick-me-up. Perfect on a hot summer's cross-state drive.

I believe it was The Numbers' idea to spend the night in Arlington at the Village Inn on our way to one of our legendary summer get-aways at Arch Cape. What could wrong? they reasoned. A late evening dip, then an early morning splash and off we go.

The heinous 12 hours between these two bucolic events was the What could wrong?

Remember my criteria for acceptable Budget Travel hotels? Being mid-August in central Oregon, it was hot as Hades and the VI's in-room AC was, at best, sketchy. The room all but smoked in the heat.

I woke up around 1 in the morning to the feeling that something creepy-crawly had joined us in bed. In hindsight, it was simply the sweat pouring down my back, but still. . . .

And the smell. Now I realize, at the time, we were traveling with two boys -- about 7th grade and 2nd grade as I recall. And I have traveled with boys' soccer teams well into their teens. I am not a wimp. Male child-rearing is not the most fragrant of experiences, no matter who, what and where you are. But the room smelled of 1,000 7th and 2nd grade boys -- and a 1,000 mangy boys' soccer teams -- plus a few other things best not mentioned in a family blog.

So now, at 1 a.m., I'm wide awake, in a sweltering hotel room, convinced The Thing has taken possession of my body and that I've been buried alive based on the fetid co-mingled smell of little boys, soccer teams and things that bang go bump in the night, and damned if I don't I have the middle-age lady's call to nature.

What. Ever.

I approached the bathroom cautiously. I might have been carrying a big stick, I don't recall. The faux paneling on one wall (only slightly peeling away) was dazzling. As was the only window in the entire hotel room that could be opened. 

I dived at it like a drowning person. Only to find it was strategically positioned above the hotel dumpster. Sigh.

The Americana Inn, Manhattan, NYC

Okay. Okay. This was totally my call. I take full responsibility. But it was only like 90 bucks a night.

On our 2008 trip to Italy, we were scheduled to arrive in NYC about 10 at night, leaving for Italy the next day in the late afternoon. We had a day of sight-seeing planned so why, I reasoned, spend a bazillion dollars on a hotel room that we were just going to sleep in. Enter the Americana Inn.

The Americana Inn hotel in Midtown Manhattan was built with the savvy New York tourist in mind. The hotel is ideal for travelers searching for a value-priced hotel in hip, midtown Manhattan. 

It is actually designed for savvy, hip Munchkins. Willing to share the loo with fellow Munchkins. (Note: We actually have no problem with this as we are veteran bread-and-breakfasters, but the idea of 2o+ guests and three showers per floor was  intriguing. We were glad we had an afternoon flight.)

It was about 11 p.m. by the time we arrived at The Americana Inn, but they were good with that. We were buzzed in, climbed a long set of stairs and tumbled into a reception area right out of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest 

Nurse Ratchet? Paging Nurse Ratchet

Where a most accommodating night clerk checked us in.

Into the smallest room imaginable, basically equipped with a queen bed and sink. And the sink took up about 1/4th of the room.

This is actually The Presidential Suite. Our room was a titch smaller

We were starving, and despite the hype about the "City That Never Sleeps" any and all restaurants along 5th and 38th were closed except for an all-night bodega that served up the most amazing chicken-terragon salad that I've ever had. I'm still trying to re-create it.

And then we went to bed, visions of Venice swimming in our heads. 


2 a.m.

Beep Beep Beep Beep

Ahh, the sweet, sweet call of a truck in reverse. Given Manhattan's obvious transportation challenges, the morning deliveries had begun. And we had a street-facing room. So much for savvy, hip travelers.

3 a.m.

Beep Beep Beep Beep

4 a.m.

Beep Beep Beep Beep

5 a.m.

Beep Beep Beep Beep

Fast forward to 8 or 9 a.m. when we finally staggered checked out of the room, and the front desk  staff cheerfully, and securely, checked our bags until we were ready to launch our Italian 

And graciously promised us a back room on our return. They delivered.

The view wasn't great, 
Photos of Americana Inn, New York City
This photo of Americana Inn is courtesy of TripAdvisor

but we slept well. And I discovered a new Budget Traveler requirement -- bathtubs are a 
really nice thing after traveling for 16+ hours with a head cold.

So there you have it. The good, the bad and the ugly. And the moral of being a Budget Travler? You quickly learn one thing, one key thing to live and travel by:

That which does not kill you, makes you strong.

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