(Pasco, WA) — One of my favorite times during these cross-country school bus delivery trips is going to sleep. I check into a motel, have some supper, crank up the A/C and hit the sack. After a 600-mile day, frequently in a non-air-conditioned bus, I love to crawl under the comforter, and read for about an hour before drifting off.
At the end of this trip, I delivered the bus, and since my flight home isn’t until tomorrow, I found myself in the Motel 6 in beautiful Pasco, Washington. I checked in a bit earlier than usual, and immediately cranked up the A/C. And out poured hot air. Not uncooled air — HOT air. This isn’t one of those usual under-the-window units found in most rooms. It has an actual thermostat on the wall. So I called the front desk and explained the situation. The nice desk lady said she’d find me a room in which the air was properly conditioned. She checked 3 or 4 rooms and they all had the same hot-air problem. Finally, though, she located a room on the other side of the building in which the air conditioner was actually conditioning the air.
But then, she decided to test the TV remote because, she said, they’d been having problems with the remotes. It worked fine. But the TV didn’t work. The only channels that were even watchable were the local ABC affiliate, and Univision. So the maintenance guy came up and jiggled the coax in the back of the set a few times… and said he couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t work. Nice desk lady then offered to move me to yet a third room. But I declined. I figured I could either see what’s on ABC, or try to figure out what they were saying on Univision. But I don’t care anyway. Nice desk lady asked me at least four times if I was sure I could get along without the TV. I kept hoping she’d knock a couple of bucks off the room rate, but no such luck.
It occurred to me recently that since the end of last year, I have spent very few nights sleeping in an actual bedroom. When I’m in High Point, I’m still living — temporarily, I fervently hope — in my sister’s den. Probably an equal number of nights have been spent in hotel rooms. I generally read some travelers’ reviews, but don’t put much stock in them. I usually have the feeling that the people who write most of them are probably naturally grouchy, and get the kind of treatment they dish out. Many reviews talk about the “rude” staff. But I can say that never once has anyone been rude to me. In fact when I arrived quite late at a hotel in Laramie, Wyoming a few months back, and after a little normal banter, that nice desk lady invited me to come back to the lobby later to sit and talk. Which I did. We sat in a couple of nice leather chairs, and learned each others’ stories. It was great. Of course, being on the road all the time gets pretty lonely, and I’m starved for conversation.
Sometimes the reviewers come up with legitimate complaints, but I think that, by and large, they’re people who are never satisfied with anything.
I generally stay at the lower-priced chain motels: Motel 6, America’s Best Value Inns, Rodeway, Red Roof Inns… places like that. And I rarely have a negative experience. And if I need to call about something — like an air conditioner that just spews hot air — I’ve always been met with a quick response, apologies and courtesy. But I think that has something to do with the way I treat people myself… do unto others and all.
Early next week, I’ll be taking a bus to Maine. Haven’t been there for years, and I’m looking forward to it.
So despite the AC and TV issues here, I’d stay in any Motel 6. The price is certainly right And they left the light on for me.