Where I am today.

So here we are, in beautiful, warm, sunny Atlanta. For a wedding, but of course we’re staying with J.C. and Sammy. Who have some spectacular neon in their neighborhood.




We drove, and broke it into two days, leaving after work Thursday and spending the first night in Cincinnati. A question for the room: Whatever happened to Red Roof Inn? I recall it as the cleanest and safest of the budget-hotel segment, and given that we were staying for less than 10 hours, it seemed silly to pay for anything more. Alas, it was seedy and smelly and creepy. There were bloodstains — yes, bloodstains, falling well short of shotgun-massacre but definitely WTF-happened-here — on the wall of the bathroom, and the door of the room next door had dents in it, at precisely boot-kicking height: CHRISTINE! YOU BITCH! YOU AIN’T KEEPIN MY KIDS FROM ME! OPEN THIS DOOR OR I’MA KICK IT DOWN!

Well, we got shut of that p.d.q. Friday morning and had breakfast at Bob Evans. Another bad idea, alas.

But now we’re here and dinner last night was far from a bad idea. And it’s not cold, and the sun is out, and everything is groovy. Open thread, and enjoy the pictures. Because I’m a journalist, one more — Manuel’s, the media-hangout bar, doomed-but-not.


Happy weekending, all.

Posted at 9:40 am in Friends and family, Housekeeping, Media, Same ol' same ol' |

73 responses to “Where I am today.”

  1. brian stouder said on May 2, 2015 at 11:12 am

    So, what is the object on the Seed & Feed neon sign? At first, I thought it was a foot, but if it is, it has six toes.

    And if it’s a seed bag, what are the ‘toes’?

    Anyway, when it comes to hotels/motels, on our western trek last year we had two occasions when we were mostly in the middle of nowhere, and Pam used her Pammy-sense to pick a place where we wouldn’t re-enact a scene from The Wire…. but that would be hard near the riverfront, in Cincy!

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  2. Minnie said on May 2, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    You’re in my old stomping grounds. Enjoy yourselves. I’ll be back down there for a visit in six weeks, when the joy of being with old friends will be topped off with a Richard Thompson concert at Little Five Points.

    As for Red Top, it’s been going down for a while. Haven’t stayed in one for 15 years. Though I never encountered one in the condition you found, I recall a formerly adequate motel on I-85. We checked in during an exhausted drive home from a family funeral to discover used towels, pubic hair in the sink, and a big lipstick kiss on the inside of the room’s window. The counter clerk didn’t look surprised when I requested a refund and drove on.

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  3. Joe K said on May 2, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Trip adviser, never travel without it, just saying.
    Congratulation to the Brits, it’s a baby Princess.
    Pilot Joe

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  4. Connie said on May 2, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    So Michigan and Indiana folks did you feel the earthquake? My daughter felt it upstairs, I was on the phone downstairs and didn’t notice. I did experience the 1987 Indy earthquake, and as I know from previous conversations Jeff( tmmo) and I were both in the Methodist hospital complex at the time.

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  5. Dexter said on May 2, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Scariest-if-I-had-not-been-drunk-on Wild Turkey-incident: Sarasota TraveLodge on Tamiami Trail (301)…loud violent knock and screaming at me to “open this fuckin’ door you cunt!” I was stunned and then more fierce banging on the door and a woman’s name was yelled …this guy was sure a woman was in there with me or without me. I got as gruff as I could muster and yelled back that she was not in there. I never had time to call 9-1-1 or the desk, and it ended. The man left.A few minutes later I flushed the john and a “The Conversation” vignette came to life as the bowl overflowed back at me and kept doing it until the whole damn room floor was covered in foul sewage. I packed quickly and demanded another room pronto. What a night.
    The last Bob Evans breakfast I had was the morning of my retirement, late 2002. I ordered biscuits and gravy and the gravy was so salty I could not eat it, so I re-ordered and got eggs . The eggs arrived drenched in salt too.
    I have no idea if the place is still around, but up until about ten years ago there was a place on Reynolds Road in Toledo called Johnny’s Steak House and they served the best biscuits and gravy I ever had . 24 hours a day serving breakfast. I loved eating there off those gigantic platters.

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  6. Deborah said on May 2, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    We usually try to find a Hampton Inn while on road trips. They usually don’t disappoint. We call ahead and reserve a room because they fill up fast. The worst experience I ever had was at the Chelsea Hotel in NYC where we stayed one night just for the heck of it.

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  7. Little Bird said on May 2, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    The worst? The Super 8 in Glencoe, MN last summer. Disgustingly stained chairs, a few of those clunky room de-odirizers, and ZERO hot water. There was duct tape on a few of the holes in the window screen too. F-

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  8. Deborah said on May 2, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Oh right, LB, I forgot about that place, I think I blocked it from my memory on purpose. We were there for my niece’s wedding along with the bride’s family (my sister and her other daughters etc). We all had to take cold showers the day of the wedding because there was no hot water. I complained mightily and we all got some $ knocked off of our bill, but not enough.

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  9. jcburns said on May 2, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    The Seed and Feed Marching Abominable is “Atlanta’s wildest community band,” and the foot, therefore, has that many toes.

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  10. Dave said on May 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    You probably missed us waving, Nancy, as we undoubtedly passed you while heading north on I-75 yesterday. We had the worst traffic we’ve ever had in the many trips we’ve made. It was stop and go all the way from I-285 north to Dalton and a little extra excitement when we narrowly missed hitting a construction-sized wheelbarrow standing up on end in the middle lane of I-75 about milemarker 282.

    Our daughter and her family are now living in Knoxville so we’re there for a couple of days. Then it’s on to Fort Wayne, which we’ve not seen since November.

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  11. brian stouder said on May 2, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    JC – I hit Uncle Google and kept seeing about a marching band, but didn’t think it was related and gave up the quest.

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  12. kayak woman said on May 2, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    We recently took a rocket trip to Fla and we experienced the same kind of hotel thing at a Days Inn near Knoxville. No blood stains or anything like that but I decided I was just done with ultra-cheap chains. Still, I don’t like to spend $150 or whatever to stay at a fancier place if I’m going to be there for fewer than 12 hours… But then there is Sam and jcb’s lovely “b&b” in Atlanta, where we also stayed for two nights on the way down. Azaleas in full bloom when we got there!

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  13. BethB said on May 2, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Did not feel an earthquake at all; didn’t even know there was one.

    The last time I stayed at a Red Roof was in 1990 on the return move to Indiana from California. It was on the northwest side of Indy somewhere, and I remember it being kind of run down. We now usually go for a Hampton Inn or a Holiday Inn Express if we are simply on the way to somewhere else and need a layover stop.

    The worst hotel experience I ever had was at the Piccadilly Hotel (now demolished) in downtown NYC near Time Square. It was in 1978. There was a used condom in the ashtray when we got to the room, and the room they gave us after that had no hot water the second morning.

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  14. beb said on May 2, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Our worst hotel experience was on our honeymoon. Stopped at the North American SF convention, which I believe was held in Louisville. We booked into a cheap HoJo not knowing that it was where soldiers on leave hung out at. I can’t recall now whether we literally stuck a chair under the door knob, or just thought about it.

    Gorgeous day in Detroit, pity I’ve been fighting a cold and couldn’t really enjoy it.

    Earthquake? I felt the one in Canada a couple years ago but not today’s. Probably just as well. The idea that the earth can literally move alarms and frightens me.

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  15. Deborah said on May 2, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    I had a bad experience once in Georgia on the way down to Miami to visit my Dad when he still lived there. We had dinner at a Waffle House, which forever after we referred to Waffle Houses as Awful Houses. I ordered chili which was served to me with the waitresses thumb in the bowl, dipped right into the chili which she sucked off after she put the bowl in front of me. I don’t think I ate any of it. I wasn’t really hungry anyway. I think it was around the Christmas holidays and it was on I75 so they had a lot of customers to deal with, but still.

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  16. beb said on May 2, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Speaking of neon. When we moved into out house, some 30 years ago, there was a near-by bar named “Whitey’s” This was back when the area was still predominately white. I never went inside but I always admired the neon sign in the window. Letters spelt out the name with the “W” done in large cursive style that became the buttocks of a silhouette of a sitting woman. Really clever and attractively done.

    Time passes and I think the original owner retired and the bar was renamed “Pharoah’s” or something like that. Then closed a few months later. I still wonder what became of that sign.

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  17. Deborah said on May 2, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    A glorious day in Chicago too. At one point the high was predicted to be in the 70s but I’m not sure it made it to that, at least not by the lake anyway. I went to the green market at Lincoln Park this morning which just opened at thier outdoor location. They don’t have asparagus, strawberries or rhubarb yet but I did get my favorite ciabatta rolls. I then walked over to the Lincoln Park Whole Foods, thought I’d check on morels which they had for over $90 a lb. No thanks. I got asparagus instead to make my favorite meal which is asparagus sautéed with a bit of garlic served over toasted ciabatta rolls (in the broiler with butter) topped with 2 poached eggs and shaved Parmesan. That with some good Italian wine (Nero D’avola, which I love for the plummy taste). Yum. I do love morels but not for that much $$$$.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on May 2, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    No quaking felt here.

    I think Red Roof has fallen to meth lab status, not a place I’d stay. I’m picky though, and won’t go below the level of the Hilton and Marriott chains. Trip Advisor is usually on target, and it can help find a gem as well as rule out the bad ones.

    Gorgeous day here, planted some flowers and shrubs. So grateful for spring.

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  19. Dexter said on May 2, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Nicest cheapo-hotel by far: Fairfield Inns.
    Worst, Motel Six and Red Roof Inns.

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  20. Ann said on May 2, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    I stayed in a Red Roof Inn in Madison last weekend. Not perfect, but worth my $58 and certainly not frightening or gross. There’s a Red Rood Inn Plus in Ann Arbor that’s actually fantastic–includes a free breakfast at the adjoining Big Boy and has a regular shuttle to the medical centers. And they take dogs and don’t charge extra for them. But yes, TripAdvisor would tell you which are safe and which are to be avoided at all cost.

    Fun story here of a redditor who accidentally booked himself for a week in a Japanese Love Hotel. http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/34j58h/i_accidentally_stayed_in_a_japanese_love_hotel/

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  21. Dave Kobiela said on May 2, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Wow. At first glance picture of Manuel’so looked just like O’Sullivan’s in Ft.Wayne.(Scene of many rugby parties and related debauchery).

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  22. brian stouder said on May 2, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    When Pam and I were very first married – we rolled down to Nashville, and stayed in a nice place (maybe Ramada?) in sight of the OpryLand hotel.

    After spending a few days seeing stuff in Basset’s town, we rolled west and south to the Shiloh battlefield – which is a hauntingly beautiful place, which is literally in the middle of nowhere. We spent the night a bit south, in Corinth, Mississippi…can’t remember what the chain was – but they were tarring the roof, and it was precisely like sleeping in a diesel fuel tank.

    And yet – Pam stayed married to me

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  23. Joe K said on May 2, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Ya, it does kinda. Worse hotel? Acres motel, some where in Chicago, all I’m saying is the Fort Wayne Rugby Club thought it was bad.
    Pilot Joe

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  24. basset said on May 3, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Brian, I know the place… a Ramada right across the street from the Opryland, with a strip of cheaper motels and tourist junk shops right behind. They had some kind of ventilation problem that killed a guest or two a few years back, assume it’s fixed now.

    (a little Googling shows that it was one guest and more than a few years: http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1986/Carbon-Monoxide-From-Pool-Heater-Blamed-For-One-Death-Four-Injuries/id-08019d6ad908eb466d9fe2eef009effc)

    We are experiencing enormous growth and its related challenges here in Nashville, looking at a predicted 1-million population increase in the region by 2040, Nashville’s just over 600-thousand right now and the region’s about a million six. That million figure is the one that really grabs people, and the next thing we hear when we say that is usually “How can we stop them?” My stock response for that is “well, we could become Fort Wayne…”, i.e. someplace not as alive and attractive… sometimes I use Flint, you get the idea.

    So… am I being too hard on the Fort? Seems like a pretty rundown and depressing place just from the times I’ve been there, never really taken a good look around though. Surely it has something going for it.

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  25. ROGirl said on May 3, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Bob Evans is the worst. When you’re on the road and the only places to eat are Friday’s, Applebee’s and Bob Evans, it’s kind of a toss-up.

    There’s nothing like the Day’s Inn in Bucyrus, Ohio (home of the bratwurst festival). The truck drivers start up their big rigs in the parking lot next to the rooms at about 6 in the morning.

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  26. brian stouder said on May 3, 2015 at 11:11 am

    basset – I’d say Fort Wayne is ‘on the go’ right now; downtown is lively and populated, and a new ‘high-rise’ (20 floors counts as a high-rise, hereabouts!) is now going up.

    Your comment about Nashville presents an interesting echo to an article I just read about Baltimore, by Eugene Robinson. In it, he points out that Baltimore has transitioned downward over the past several decades, from an industrial city of more than a million people, to a modern city of 600,000


    and that there are empty row-houses and abandoned buildings all over the place, that need to be torn down.

    Fort Wayne has been on such a campaign for the past decade or two, and many old neighborhoods are interspersed with green spaces where houses used to be

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  27. Deborah said on May 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    St. Louis used to be a city of despair not that many years ago but it has really come back to life lately, at least the central corridor has. It took a long, long time to turn it around. Washington University and St. Louis University put tons of money into the effort of coming back to life. I lived in St. Louis for 23 years and the whole time I lived there it was pretty dismal. We moved to Chicago 12 years ago and every time I go back to St. L I’m amazed at how much better it seems. North St. Louis is still pretty blighted though.

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  28. Bob (not Greene) said on May 3, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Well Joe K., you’ll be relieved to know that the Acres Motel at 5600 N. Lincoln Ave. (part of a motel row that sprung up after WW II) was demolished in 2000 and replaced by a library.

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  29. Joe K said on May 3, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    I Remember reading about that in the Trib, there was a restaurant in the same parking lot that actually was very good, but man, that hotel and the ones around it, hooker city. Glad to hear there is something worth while there now.
    Pilot Joe

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  30. Dexter said on May 3, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    weird night…searching for motel in Da Region one summer night in 1976…no rez, no luck…neon buzzin’, bright lights, lured me and my GF in…approached office, girlfriend waited in car…scantily clad lady asked if I wanted a blonde or brunette and if I wanted an hour or a half hour. 🙂 Several ladies then appeared wearing little , very little. I had to decline, but we had a good laugh over that one. It was a Friday, all motels sold out, we left Calumet City and had to drive back to Walkerton to find a place, totally exhausted by then.
    Old timers told me Cal City used to be the biggest whorin’ town east of Vegas.

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  31. Dexter said on May 3, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Every time the weather breaks in the spring I recall all the great times and adventures I had in my three Volkswagen Microbuses, gallivanting all over hell, hitting the rock concerts and baseball games, driving to new campgrounds and big summer vacations , driving the bus out to Cape Cod . Lately I have settled down but the wanderlust is back and the ocean beckons. If things progress and I actually do get a hip replacement (I must be patient, I am in the pipeline now) , I hope to garner more adventures…”I ain’t dead yet”, as Carla Lee says.
    Right now the worst part is being grounded off my bicycles. But next year I betcha I shall be back in the saddle again. Gettin’ old but it’s better than the alternative.

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  32. MichaelG said on May 3, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Jeez, Dexter. Have you checked out the prices for old VW buses lately? Some of them are into six figures.

    Haven’t really had any bad, bad hotel experiences. I let L., my CHP counterpart at that time, talk me into some supposedly famous, all the Hollywood stars stayed there in the Twenties and into the Fifties dump in Joshua Tree. I knew what was coming and wasn’t disappointed. A hundred years old, no hot water or heat, TV inop, on and on. Fall in the high desert can be cold. Oh, well. I had that one on her, like the time she detoured me to Barstow on the way to Mojave. One time we booked into a motel in Mariposa and when I arrived and went to check in the motel lady told me she had booked us into adjoining rooms with connecting doors. Wink, wink. Fuck, did I blush. I love Lagaya dearly but not that way. She’s a little Filipina grandma, older than me, five feet tall and five feet wide with a CHP officer for a boyfriend. Scary smart and has an incredible memory. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen her in a year or two. Time to call her for lunch.

    On the other hand, I’ve had tons of great hotel experiences. I traveled very heavily for years before I retired. The State has a flat rate of $84 that it will pay for hotel rooms. You can’t stay everywhere everyday but I stayed in a hell of a lot of three and four hundred dollar rooms for that $84. Life was good.

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  33. brian stouder said on May 3, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    We’ve had the hotel walls rattling because of the unbridled passion of the people in the next room. Turning the TV up a bit seemed to help that.

    Another time, we had a nice room at a Hampton (we, too, tend to gravitate their way) – I don’t remember where – and there was apparently a big dog show coming up, so lots of folks had their pups (of all sizes) and there was lots of yipping/woofing/barking/clickety-clak of paws. (They gave us a discount that night)

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  34. MarkH said on May 3, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    RIP, Yeoman Rand. You had a tough life, Grace Lee Whitney, but you were gorgeous.


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  35. alex said on May 4, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Bob Not Greene,

    I used to go up North Lincoln daily in a carpool on my way to work. We always referred to that stretch between Balmoral and Peterson and Whorehouse Row. Haven’t seen it in years but I’m sure it has changed for the better.

    I haven’t done much motelling in recent years, but my partner was on the road a lot in his last job and from what he tells me, even the best places can have some dismal rooms. He and his colleagues always looked between the mattresses and box springs for any evidence of bedbugs, but were more likely to find used syringes and befouled sex toys. From the stories I’ve heard, I’d almost rather sleep in my car.

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  36. Suzanne said on May 4, 2015 at 8:13 am

    We stayed in a hotel years ago somewhere in Virginia that was listed in the AAA Tour book as a super bargain or something like that. This was long before Yepl or Trip Advisor or anything like that. The room was ok as far as cleanliness but had what appeared to be crowbar pry marks on the door frame. The complimentary breakfast consisted of toast, English muffins, and jam served with a side order of rednecks who had parked their converted school bus/camper in the parking lot and seemed unable to speak in any volume but loud and shrill.

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  37. Danny said on May 4, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Weird, weird funny dreams last night that I attribute to too much chocolate cake. Me, Stouder, Cooz and MarkH were roommates renting a two story house I used to live in in my college years. All the rest of you were having a NNC get together in Chicago, but we couldn’t make it because we were poor college students. Yet, somehow we knew that you guys were envious of us because we were core regulars of the blog who got to hang out together all the time in Cali.

    Too funny.

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  38. Danny said on May 4, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Almost sounds like the cast of the BBC series, “The Young Ones”

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  39. Dorothy said on May 4, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Charlotte Elizabeth Diana is the new little princess’ name. I like it.

    We are Hilton Honors members so we usually use Hampton Inns, too. I don’t mind paying a little extra for it because (1) I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen blood stains in one and (2) we get the points, which add up fairly quickly since we go to Pittsburgh about 5 times a year. I’m hoping to use the accumulated points towards a beach stay since I’m really DYING to see blue water.

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  40. Dorothy said on May 4, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Forgot to say how much we love Panera for breakfast when we’re on the road, and they are practically everywhere. SO much better than a Waffle House (which I’m proud to say I’ve never eaten at, mostly because of what I’ve heard second hand). The bacon, egg and asiago cheese sandwich on ciabatta bread with a chai tea at Panera is my go-to.

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  41. Basset said on May 4, 2015 at 10:26 am

    We tend to look for Baymonts, a little downscale from Hamptons but generally clean and well kept in our experience.

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  42. Deborah said on May 4, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I could eat breakfast for every meal every damn day of the week. I love eggs (almost any way) and all the rest. When we road trip we either try to bring our own food, for the first day anyway and the rest of the time stop for sandwich fixings at a grocery store, or try to find a place where you can get breakfast all day long, like Perkin’s or someplace like it. We find that roadside restaurants are pretty iffy for regular things so we stick to breakfast foods where it’s hard to go wrong, except for the grease. Well, on second thought, I do remember stopping at a Cracker Barrel once and ordering breakfast and it was horrible, so it is possible to mess it up. I have avoided Cracker Barrel from that day on.

    I love road trips, they’re my favorite way to travel, although the part when you drive back home is often anti-climatic and boring. Best trick is to drive there and fly back, but then you have to drive a rental out or something.

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  43. Connie said on May 4, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Fairfield and Hampton are pretty upscale compared to Red Roof Inn. I tend to use Choice Hotels – Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn and several more. Reasonably cheap and always decent.

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  44. Deborah said on May 4, 2015 at 10:49 am


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  45. Dorothy said on May 4, 2015 at 11:30 am

    High five- Deborah. I can’t stand Cracker Barrel. I think we’ve tried them twice and both times the meals were underwhelming and service was poor too. Our daughter’s boyfriend loves them – he can have them.

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  46. Bitter Scribe said on May 4, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Hope you all don’t mind me going OT, but I have a professional interest in this…what do you Detroit-area people think about Kroger buying Hiller’s supermarkets?

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  47. Dexter said on May 4, 2015 at 11:54 am

    My wife insists on eating at those damn Cracker Barrels and I loathe them fiercely. But…if you get to Tennessee they get better and the farther south ya go, the better they get. My beef with them centers on the northern ones, like around Auburn , Indiana and Fort Wayne and Toledo. God they suck! I HATE cold okra and collard greens. Anywhere but Cracker Barrel.
    And I love Waffle House, always have.
    The one in New Bern, NC was filthy, but the rest I have eaten at are great.
    The cook in New Bern shoved the egg shells off into a bucket , but sometimes they missed and there were grease and egg shells all over the floor at his work station. I had a pal who went to Bike Week in Daytona and they ate every meal there…the manager cordoned off a table for them because those guys always tipped so well…they never had to wait, VIPs. Mickey said all you have to do is take care of the staff and you will be treated like kings.

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  48. brian stouder said on May 4, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Yet, somehow we knew that you guys were envious of us because we were core regulars of the blog who got to hang out together all the time in Cali.

    Let me just say that, as beautiful as San Diego truly is – today here in Fort Wayne it has been raining cats and dogs.

    So I saw your post, and thought of the epic California drought….and muttered “nyah nyah nyah!!”

    Anyway, give a thought to what happened 45 years ago, today, in Oh-Hi-O

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  49. Connie said on May 4, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Oh Bitter Scribe, we’re horrified. While we don’t shop there often, other than Walmart and Meijer’s, Hillers is our only option to Kroger. We have 3 Krogers and 2 Hillers within 4 miles of home.

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  50. alex said on May 4, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Cracker Barrel’s anti-gay reputation has been eclipsed by that of Chik-Fil-A but it’s the other reason, aside from its mediocrity, that I avoid it.

    BitterScribe, I’m not a Detroiter, but I live in a place where Kroger bought out the last independent local grocer, though one not as upscale as Hiller’s appears to be. Overall they’ve done a lot of upgrading and expanding of facilities. Though they promised that the acquired stores would maintain their old brand identity, that has pretty much fallen by the wayside and almost all of the stores now wear Kroger signage. In this market at least, Kroger seems to be poising itself for battle with the big boxes and has become just like another Walmart.

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  51. A. Riley said on May 4, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I stayed at a Red Roof Inn just north of Iowa City last year — it was the closest hotel to town that had any rooms available (football weekend) — and it was fine, even for a woman traveling solo. Clean and reasonably quiet, and I felt safe.

    When spouse and I are traveling, we like Courtyard Inns (Marriott). They seem to be designed for traveling software engineers. They’re usually close to office complexes and they have good wifi.

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  52. beb said on May 4, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    I confess I never heard of Hiller’s before reading that Krogers was going to buy them out.

    “Charlotte Elizabeth Diana” My first thought was to this line from “The Producers: “Adolph Elizabeth Hitler!” “…Elizabeth?” “Yes, he comes from a long of English queens.”

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  53. Julie Robinson said on May 4, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Anyone ever stay at an Embassy Suites? They used to be very reasonable, and when the kids were little we could squeeze into one suite-bedroom plus living room with pull out sofa, microwave and frig. They have happy hour in the evening with alcohol plus a tankful of Shirley Temples, a breakfast buffet with cooked-to-order options, and a pool (indoors in northern climes). They’re usually built around an indoor courtyard with lots of trees and vegetation. I’ve stayed at a Ritz and didn’t like it as well as Embassy Suites.

    They don’t seem as competitive on price anymore, but they sure made for a lot of happy family trips.

    Last trip we were on we stayed at a fairly upscale place, can’t remember which one, where you couldn’t adjust the time on the clock, which was wrong. When I asked how, I was told it all came through a satellite, so they couldn’t change it either. Have you every heard anything so ridiculous? I complained, nicely, about that and a couple of other fairly minor problems at check-out, and they gave me half off.

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  54. Connie said on May 4, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    I’ve stayed at several Embassy Suites. They are way too upscale for overnight road trips. I think of them as conference hotels.

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  55. nancy said on May 4, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    We started doing suite hotels when traveling with Kate — Embassys aren’t bad,but mainly what I found was that there’s a lot of definition inflation around the word “suite.” To me, it means two rooms with a closable door between them, period. We considered and rejected many that were basically larger rooms with a shitty loveseat and microwave.

    And hey, we’re back, but arrived late. Full post tomorrow.

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  56. MarkH said on May 4, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Nancy – the bottom photo: Is that Alan approaching the camera followed by j.c.?

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    • nancy said on May 4, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Yes, it is.

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 4, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    I like to stay in Tarptents. http://www.tarptent.com/double-rainbow.html

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  58. MichaelG said on May 4, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I stay at Embassy Suites a lot. I like them. I never worried about the “suite” part since I travel alone (or at least always book my own room). I used to love the one in Palm Desert. Talk about an upscale neighborhood. I screwed up once about two years ago and booked myself into an Embassy Suites on Harbor Blvd in Anaheim just down the street from Disneyland. I had a job in Fullerton and wasn’t even thinking about Disneyland. The place was full of screaming children of all ages. It was awful. I’m staying at an Embassy Suites in Miami in December the day before and the day after my trip to Cuba.

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  59. Julie Robinson said on May 4, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I operate under the belief that camping means bringing your own food to the hotel.

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  60. Sherri said on May 4, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Living on the west coast and traveling with a kid, we tended to fly rather than drive to a vacation, things being so far away, and then rent a condo or apartment so that we had separate bedrooms and a kitchen. Being able to cook breakfast in the morning makes it so much easier to get started in the mornings, and having a separate bedroom for the kid means being able to put her to bed and get her to sleep at a reasonable time without everybody having to sleep then.

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  61. MarkH said on May 4, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    A brief history of Red Roof Inn: Started by Columbus businessman Jim Trueman in 1972. He and his hunting buddies were at a lodge in the UP (Crystal Falls, I think), lamenting the lack of good, basic quality motels at an affordable price around the midwest. They looked around the lodge and pointed out how it was a perfect example of what was needed: solidly built, clean, fully functional, no frills, good rates. AND it had a red roof! Trueman took that name, and the ideas home, went to work and the rest is “Sleep Cheap!” history. After a time, the low rates were untenable, so that slogan had to go, was replaced by “Hit the Roof!” No irony there, eh? How do I know all this? Jim Trueman was also a racecar driver, and during my time as a motorsports stringer for the Dispatch, ’79-’81, he was the champion of the SCCA Sports2000 class. Also during that time, he gathered capital and purchased Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington. It was in terrible need of repair and being broke, previous owner Les Griebling needed to sell. Trueman immediately embarked on significant upgrades (particularly safety related) in order to bring in more racing series, starting with the first IndyCar race there in July, 1980. I was assigned to interview him and got his whole story up until then. He was a great guy, a true gentleman, always accessible to the press for background. Trueman also started his own IndyCar team with fellow central Ohioan, the great Bobby Rahal as his driver. About 1985, Jim was hit with cancer and in spite of that battle, took his team to success, culminating in victory at the Indy 500 in 1986. Visibly ill in the winner’s circle that day, he passed away within a month of the win. Anyway, the company soldiered on without him, likely with spotty upkeep of the facilities until the chain was acquired by Accor, the French company that also owned Motel 6, in 1999. They added new facilities, some of which were to be re-branded as Motel 6. Red Roof Inn is back, however, now owned by Blackstone Group along with Motel 6. I always found Red Roof Inn to be clean and comfortable, last stayed at one about 15 years ago. Wikipedia has further details.


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  62. Deborah said on May 4, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Where I am today: we drove down to Sprinfield, IL to drop off some digital files and meet with some people for the playground project we’re designing. I’m sitting in a conference room in a building that’s down the street from the Lincoln library and museum. There are Lincoln images on everything around here. Have you ever been here, Brian?

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  63. brian stouder said on May 4, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Deborah – I love-love-love Springfield, and their museum is (of course!) TREMENDOUS!!

    I’ve only ever been in there three times, and I will always remember, first, seeing one of the only five hand-written Gettysburg Address drafts in existence (under glass, with an armed guard next to it), and one of Abe’s personal data devices (aka – stovepipe hat), with worn-out section on the brim, where he’s have grasped it as he tipped his hat to one and all, when ambling down the street.

    Come to think of it, another very neat place is the Lincoln/Herndon law office, right off the main square; and the old state capitol was worth a look; and you HAVE to go to the cemetery, and see the gravesite. (as the Springfield people will say – “We have the bones!”)

    Y’know – come to think of it, we’ll have to head back to Springfield, this summer!

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  64. brian stouder said on May 4, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    …and come to think of it further

    Y’know that big hotel in Sprinfield – the one that looks like a twentyfive-story golf tee?

    One year, they had the Lincoln Colloquium in a hall in that building, and I stayed the night – maybe 20 floors up.

    THAT was one time where the people in the next room were getting carried away, and had everything in our room rattling.

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  65. Deborah said on May 4, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Brian. I’m still in the conference room, so I have time to comment. The Lincoln library and museum buildings were designed by the company I worked for in St. Louis. I remember seeing the drawings around the office back then. The museum exhibits were designed by a company out of LA, they’re very theatrical as I remember. I’ve never been to the grave, we’ll have to do that before we head back to Chicago.

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  66. brian stouder said on May 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    It is a solemn, place, indeed – and as Jeff tmmo will attest, there’s an interesting book about a couple of chuckleheads who very nearly stole Lincoln’s remains from the crypt!

    And, more amazingly (to me), thereafter the president’s remains were in the basement of that memorial building, buried in a pile of lumber(!!) – the better to throw off any other would-be grave robbers.

    The, in the very early 20th century (maybe 1902, or so?) they finally completed a renovation of the memorial, and re-interred the president’s remains….but not before opening the box and taking a last peek.

    One of the workers called his young son out of school, so he could see* – and I believe that guy lived to be a guest on To Tell The Truth… but we digress!

    *He said Lincoln’s remains were intact, and the famous visage looked like porcelain…so the embalmer earned his money

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  67. Joe K said on May 4, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Brian, one of the neatest thing I got to do in my flying career was to be in Gettysburg on the spot of the speech and less than 24 hr later visiting the Gravesight.
    Pilot Joe

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  68. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    “Stealing Lincoln’s Body” by Tom Craughwell. Fascinating read. (Make sure to order thru the Proprietress’ sidebar link!)

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  69. Dexter said on May 4, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    geez…I never knew a husband’s neglecting Mother’s Day could steer his wife to Ashley Madison. Better get those flowers ordered, and throw in a box of candy…and according to this story, new jewelry is a must—or else! She’ll be doin’ the horizontal bop at the Red Roof Inn soon.

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  70. Julie Robinson said on May 4, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    BTW, tech wizard Carly Fiorina forgot to buy all the domains associated with her name, and carlyfiorina.org takes you to a page with HP layoff numbers. Make sure to scroll all the way to the end.

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  71. Sue said on May 4, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Having a Princess Charlotte in that very popular and reported-on royal family will result in one very good thing:
    People will finally learn how to spell Charlotte. Finally.

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  72. Dorothy said on May 5, 2015 at 6:17 am

    I hope I haven’t been a pain in the a** mentioning my niece’s bookstore on several occasions here. I can’t resist sharing this article since her shop, Avid, is the first one mentioned:


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