Riding the blue highways, not a care in the world…you say, live on the wild side, ride until your ready to stop for the night and get a room wherever, no plans. Sounds wonderful…just not our style.
At least not since the first road trip we took when we were dating back in August 1990. We learned our lesson on that trip. We stayed at a quaint little bed and breakfast in Galena, IL. Then we were headed on to Dubuque, IA to watch greyhound racing. We got into Dubuque and started looking for a hotel. No room at the inn…college students were coming into town to start school, lots of parents in town moving their kids into their college dorms. Ok, we’ll go out a ways up around Platteville, WI…no such luck. The Bears were holding training camp there…no rooms to be had. Let’s go with the flow, we’ll head up to Madison and hang out there instead, not a room to be had, don’t remember what it was, but Madison had a central clearing house number for hotel rooms…not a room in town. It was the anniversary of Elvis death, so we were listening and singing along to Elvis tunes on the radio and laughing somewhat hysterically as we searched in vain for a place to stay. 8 hours later…around midnight, we finally found something in Wisconsin Dells! Yep, that’s 120 miles from Dubuque as the crow flies…farther if you are wandering around trying to find a hotel room! We got the last room the guy had and it was actually being held for someone, but it looked like they weren’t going to show, so he reluctantly let us take it after much whining and begging on our part, LOL! We made a pact on that trip we would never take off on a road trip without hotel reservations again. We ended up having a great time and even found a Norman Rockwell art exhibition (one of my favorite artists) in a little town in WI. That trip was also a realization that if we could still be happy together after that ordeal, this relationship might be going somewhere.
Anyway, our pact still stands and we never head out without hotel reservations. We may change them along the way…but we ALWAYS have a reservation somewhere. We are fairly loyal Marriott patrons. With all the traveling Marj has done consulting over the last 13 years we’ve racked up some great points and status with Marriott. They are our go-to whenever possible.
Now it’s time to answer that important question, how far do we want to go each day. 500 miles is an absolute maximum for us, preferably under 300 would be good to be able to stop and enjoy the scenery along the way. Planning where to stop for the night was based on where we could find a Marriott property if possible. We managed to find Marriott properties for most of our stops. In a few places, we had to go with alternate options, like in the Minnesota Arrowhead region and along the Pacific Coast, not a lot of Marriott properties on the coastline.
With each night’s stop figured out we were able to refine our routes to maximize riding on scenic highways as much as possible. We can rest easy and enjoy the ride…knowing there will be a light on and a nice soft bed waiting for us when we get there.
Oh yeah…Marj still has not been to a greyhound race…ha ha!!!