I never thought I would long for a night in a campground, even in our fancy fifth wheel, but a night spent in a sleazy freeway motel in Flagstaff changed that. We decided to stay in a motel so that we could get an early start and not have to deal with freezing temperatures. Our choices are limited because we need a place that will provide RV parking and tolerate the little dog. Yesterday we found one motel–let’s call it a Super 7.

It probably wasn’t a great idea to read the Trip Advisor reviews, but I’m a loyal reviewer and reader. In fact, if I write one more review I may move into the top 10% of reviewers…in Redding.  But I digress. The reviews were not encouraging; remarks like “you get what you pay for” and “I was afraid of the bedspreads” did not inspire confidence. For my part, I ripped those bedspreads right off the beds as soon as I walked into the room.

The three of us have “go bags”–just the necessities for a night out of the RV. My bag has enough clothes so that I have a choice the next day, toiletries, jewelry, extra shoes– not that much. Fiona’s bag has her blue blanket, food, bowls, a brush, toys, and a change of harness. Mike put underwear, socks and toiletries in my bag when I wasn’t looking. Leaving the high maintenance dog out of the equation, I think the difference between Mike’s and my go bags is telling.

Let’s start with this: Mike found the Super 7 perfectly acceptable. It had a tv, a bed for him and the little dog and another bed for me. And as a bonus, there was a Cracker Barrel next door. Once I’d removed the bedspreads, I was okay with the beds. And frankly, I enjoy the occasional nights when Mike is the sole recipient of Fiona’s quirks. (All I’m saying is never touch her tail while she’s sleeping.) Besides the scarred bathtub and interesting carpet, not to mention the scarily skinny guy at the front desk, I considered the presence of the Cracker Barrel to be a minus. However, we are mature and experienced married people.

Mike happily took himself off to CB for a comfort food dinner, which I’m sure involved mashed potatoes. Meanwhile I ate artisan cheeses from the Santa Fe farmers market with apple slices, crackers, and an unpretentious and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. 😏 The best part is that Mike felt sorry for me.

Today we left our altitude headaches behind in Flagstaff and drove through the good, the bad, and the ugly of Arizona. I was hoping to see some desert bloom; mostly I saw a parched landscape and occasional bursts of cactus flower color. And of course there was the wind, the wind that has plagued us since Michigan. We started calling Barstow RV parks but all were full. Of course that raises the question, why the hell are all these people camping in Barstow? Around that time, the ever present wind picked up, 29 mph of head wind. We were tired and talked ourselves into another night in a hotel.

We drove by our motel, where we had been assured there was ample RV parking in the large lot. And we kept on driving. Maybe it was the 6 spaces at the front and no visible parking on the sides. Maybe it was the post bombing look of the concrete building or the tiny, dirty door to the lobby. For me it was that this motel looked worse than the Super 7 from last night.

We drove on and Mike pulled into a large empty lot that happened to be in front of a nice hotel. I didn’t think we had a chance but they let us park and bring our dog and go bags into the clean and pleasant room I am currently writing in. Yes we lost the fee for the other place. I made a half-hearted attempt to reach the service who had booked us into a hellhole. When I finally worked my way through the labyrinthine automated choices to an actual person, the call started cutting out. Suspicious since I wasn’t moving at the time. But I’m not complaining: I’m warm, I can’t hear the wind, and there’s not a Cracker Barrel in sight.