27 June 2007

Vacation Frustration or Wounds a Little Less Fresh

When we had settled in Rapid City, SD at the Rodeway Inn for the night, I spent time on the phone with my boyfriend as he helped me book a room for the next night. The whole endeavor was besieged with problems. Firstly, we were having no success finding hotels that allowed pets and that had a vacancy. As John cross-checked cities along my itinerary with listings on Hotels.com or other online search engines, I would call potential locations for the next night's repose only to be told there were no vacancies or that pets were not allowed. The worst was the Holiday Inn reservation line that refused to let me speak with a human being because I was not booking a multiple night stay. Top that off with a rude desk clerk at a Holiday Inn Express that I managed to call after a very frustrating battle with a computer voice and then by choosing options to call the hotel under the pretext of talking to a guest staying there. It was all I could do not to throw my cell phone across the room in anger. Fortunately, my common sense kicked in, and so did the shot of whiskey I swallowed.

While I fought back tears after rejections from more than a dozen hotels and motels, John asked me why I was traveling down to Utah to get to Boise when I could take a more direct route by going across Wyoming along a pair of US Highways instead of the Interstate to the south. My mistake would not keep me from getting to Boise, but it was adding an extra night to my trip that I could ill afford. As frustration mounted, getting to Boise a night sooner than I had planned was very appealing. That's when John looked along the US Routes and found us the place in Riverton, WY that I wrote about the other day.

Booking hotels in advance is helpful for sure, but not enough information is readily available online to make that as easy as it can be. Not all the travel search sites cross reference "pet friendliness" as a criteria for reservations, leaving large sets of lodging resources unchecked or in doubt. It's definitely "call before you book" if you don't want problems during check-in.

Traveling with children and dog while being the only adult driver in the group is a big challenge. At least my children are finally old enough to know when papa has had enough, to plug in their iPods and read rather than to bicker about who's touching whom. With Dramamine at the start of the trip, the dog is a non-issue except to stop for water and to pee, which is something all of us need to do as often as he does. Thank goodness for modern, clean, well-equipped rest areas that dot most of our nation's highways. M&M's do a lot to keep me sane.

Only a week and a half remains in our automobile adventure. There is still family to visit as well as sights to see. Happy motoring!

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