Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Decadent, and Loving It

Now back in the Chicago area for medical follow-up appointments and family visits in between, I’m staying in a motel called Comfort Inn for 5 days before I depart for Arizona. On the way here from Indy, I stayed in a roadside motel called Family Inn in Watseka, Illinois for $45. I was surprised to find the Family Inn to be a very good deal for the low price, with a quiet, clean, good-sized room with a decent mattress. TV, microwave and mini-fridge. I had tried to book a motel at my destination, a good family-run one I came across when I used to work in town, but alas, they are constantly booked and don’t take reservations because the work crews that typically use the place don’t leave until they are done. Room availability is only known at the moment, not the future, and those already staying there have precedence. $275 per week. Dang.

I don’t think I’ve stayed in a motel since the 1980’s when I traveled now and then for work. There was no excitement about it, since travel consisted of flying to the customer’s city, renting a car, driving to their plant to watch an injection molding machine spew out bad parts, then heading to the motel, hopefully catching a cheap meal just before the restaurants closed. The next day was an early start, once again surrounded by painted cinder blocks, until the parts could be made to conform to spec. Once done, return the rental car, hop on the plane, and circle O’Hare Airport until you’re ready to go postal. I don’t mind flying, but I have a deep and abiding aversion to airports, O’Hare in particular. Today’s “security” measures decrease the appeal even further, assuming that there’s any room left at the bottom of the scale. There is no joy in the journey, at least from the larger airports.

The Comfort Inn doubles little Watseka’s price (ouch) but the room is almost 3 times the size, and it’s a place that’s easy to spend a short week in. This place tips in a couch, desk, big screen TV, a 6-foot sink counter, coffeemaker, hairdryer, iron and full-size ironing board, and a very, very good shower. In the facility is a pool that I don’t use, a washer and dryer that I do use, and a “free” breakfast with an exceptionally wide selection of choices. There’s also a small “fitness room” with a few machines, among which is a treadmill so I can get in my numerous short walks without freezing outside. I could get used to this, but the financial aspect quickly causes a frowny face and an empty bank account in very little time.

I’d considered staying well outside the area for the cheaper rates, but the daily fuel and combined wear and tear commuting costs on the Mighty Furd tended to cancel out the up-front savings of remote motels. It’s a common tendency to feel that once a vehicle is paid for, that its ownership costs are limited to fuel, oil, tires, and brake pads. It seems almost free, and we use it as if it were free – at least until the trans blows or the worn-out vehicle must be replaced. It costs substantially less not to treat it as if its service life is infinite, which means self-discipline about “vanity mileage” as well as staying on top of recommended maintenance. Yep, this rather Teutonic approach kind of takes the steam out of impulse errands and does not make for good party conversation, but the miles do add up more slowly over the long haul. None of this matters when you’re making plenty of money – any excuse for getting a new vehicle will do – but the closer you are to running on financial fumes, the more impressive (and oppressive) the true costs of wearing out and exchanging vehicles becomes. It literally pays to do everything you reasonably can to preserve your existing ride, if it meets your needs.

Because I don’t yet know the physical effects of 6 hours per day behind the wheel on my superb physique as recently readjusted Mayan-style, the rushed trip out west should be interesting, personally and financially. At this stage, 3-4 hours has proven wearing, so the issue about 6 is merely whether it will be too wearing to sustain. If I can hold to the planned motel stops, several of the overnights should be cheap, and the rest not. In any case, it’ll be a far cry from camping in rest stops or city campgrounds. At gut level, pushing the daily miles and moteling it feels weird and askew, as if my lifestyle has been derailed. But, in the bigger view, it’s all part of the adventure.

Single Post Navigation

23 thoughts on “Decadent, and Loving It

  1. Rod Duell on said:

    Great to find you adapting to your evolving circumstances with your usual positive outlook and great sense of humor! Being around the same age, I too find that gradually and cheerfully accommodating myself to the process of letting go of my former capabilities seems to be the best way to continue to enjoy the ride. It’s not an easy process, but as they say it sure beats the alternative.

    • It do, Rod. I accommodate myself more haltingly and grudgingly, but it gets there just the same. Testing long ago identified my personality as “melancholy”, so as a glass-half-empty person, I’ve found that humor and taking a moment to step back for the bigger picture often helps me appreciate the good side. Frustrating circumstances more resemble inconveniences, and I find that when I hear the issues that other people are dealing with, I’d rather have mine, thanks!

  2. Gmornin Doug, feel for you in the cold northland. I too haven’t been able to leave for Az. I developed a really horrible sciatic nerve problem back in June. I am stuck here on my farmette and even tho it’s in southern NC it’s COLD!!! My back issue will resolve and then I intend to leave for Quartzsite!!! Pow Wow is coming!!! Prayers for you and your upcoming trip my friend . Bill

    • I’ve had just touches of that in my prior life, Bill, and a little goes a long way! Staying put kinda makes one appreciate the comforts of following the good weather, doesn’t it? Thank you, and my hope for you is that your sciatica will heal well enough for you to be able to traumatize other parts of the country soon.

  3. Doug, have been following your medical adventure. Sure hope this will be the end of it all and you can return to the Defiant & a winter in the desert.

    I found your “toilet” post particularly fun & fact filled as well. PamP

    • Thank you, Pam. All I need to do is make it to Yuma without going off either end of the blood clotting scale, then hook up with a monitoring clinic and an electrical specialist in Phoenix once I get there. The upcoming holidays and length of the trip extend that unmonitored exposure time while the clotting factor drifts, but I should make it as long as the trip doesn’t drag on too long.

      It does feel weird writing about toilets, but hey, I see them as the hallmark of civilized man. It’s not the development of agriculture, it’s toilets. Yeah. 😉

  4. Hang in there. You’re on the mend. Don’t overdo it.

    (Much easier advice to give than to follow, I know, )

  5. Hey Doug,

    So good to know you are free to head for Arizona! Take care of yourself, which really does mean, taking it easy on the ole bod, even if it means your wallet ends up pinched a bit. I too, have learned that taking it easy is necessary for my ole bod, and acceptance of that fact, as difficult as it is, does indeed make life easier. Safe travels!

    • Safe travels, as in change my whole driving style? I don’t think so! Thanks Rachel. There is a wandering balance point, though. Taking it too easy to avoid another blowout risks slowing the recovery rate and forming more clots to float around, so I’m kind of dancing a line that can’t be seen clearly. But I’m trying!

      However, as Billy Crystal used to say on SNL in his “Fernando’s Hideaway” segment, complete with Spanish accent, “It is more important to look good than to feel good. You know what I am saying to you?” That’s humor.

  6. jr cline on said:

    Good luck with the doctors and safe travels. I’m currently broken down in central Alabama. I’m still in the RV but the repair attempts begin today maybe. 😉

  7. Comfort Inn is our chain of choice. Their beds work for us and a good night’s sleep is important when traveling. The free breakfast is a bonus. They almost always have sausage gravy which is pretty much the only place I get that nowadays. I don’t eat biscuits but the gravy is good on scrambled eggs, too.

  8. Good to hear you are up and running Douglas. Be safe!! Take it easy!!

  9. del day on said:

    Doug…..Happy Thanksgiving

    Been a long time since I touched bases with you.

    Sounds like your doing what the doctor orders.

    I’m in Yuma this year hppe to see you again.

    • Hi, Del! Staying in the LTVA? My cardiologist in Illinois is a bit freaked out by tests she did while I was there, and tried fervently to talk me out of driving to AZ. So I’m afraid I’m falling down on that doctor’s orders thing. It’s working fine so far, though!

  10. Congratulations on getting well enough to travel! Have a safe and pleasant trip (as much as possible) and enjoy those luxo accommodations.

Leave a Reply! Note that all first-time comments are moderated, so there will be a delay before it will be posted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: