I don’t want to be carrying camping gear and food. My plan is to stay in hotels and hospitality homes over the course of the trip. I am fortunate because my wife will be following me in a car for the first 4 days, leaving me in eastern Arizona, then she flies back to Indy from Phoenix. I will continue on my own, but my brother, Mike will follow me in his car about the time I am leaving Arizona or Utah. He will stay with me at least through the Rockies and maybe even parts of Kansas. The hospitality homes of Warm Showers are meant to be for the cyclist. So those first days with my wife had me lining up hotels.
Right away I was amused by the variations in reservation policies and prices. My first stop will be in Julian, CA. In its heyday, it was a gold mining town. There is no longer gold there, but some of the hotel prices might lead you to believe otherwise. There were a few bed and breakfast places, many being converted from old landmark homes. I chose one of the more modestly priced places to stay, but it was still more than I had expected to pay in other towns along my route. Not only was the rate a little higher, but a refund was only available with a 7 day cancellation notice. Given that it will be my first day, I’m pretty confident of keeping that reservation, but overall, I will need more flexibility in my reservations. My motel in Brawley, CA has the more typical 24 hour cancellation policy to get a refund. The place I am considering in Blythe, CA offers a cheap rate, but this “special rate” has to be secured with a non refundable payment in advance.
My final day with my wife has me stopping in Salome, AZ. There are not a lot of hotel choices in Salome. In fact, Three Finger Mordecai Brown could count them all on his bad hand and still have room for another. Both my choices are pretty inexpensive. One looks like it was built in the late 1950s and according to most reviews, needs significant updating. The other is “a four room motel originally built in 1942 but is fully restored into a refreshing, comfortable and quaint place for a memorable stay.” I am going with the 1942 version. They don’t take reservations online (after all the internet wasn’t around in 1942), so I called their phone number. I got a recording that went something like “Hi, this is Randy. If you want to make a reservation, please call Cindy at 928 -xxx-xxxx”. He sounded so friendly it took me a second to realize it was a recording. By the time I got a chance to write down Cindy’s number, it had disconnected, so I called again and this time I was ready to write down Cindy’s number. With Cindy’s number duly recorded, I dialed again.
“Hi this is Cindy”.
“Yes, I’m calling about making a reservation at the motel.”
“OK, could you hang on a second, I’m driving right now and was just headed back to the motel.”
“ Well I don’t want you to get into an accident. Be careful. Would you like me to call back later?”
“No, I’m good. I just pulled over and I’m getting out my book. When did you have in mind?”
“I was looking for April 27 for one night for 2 people. Do you have any openings?”
“I’ve got one room left. It’s a full size bed, so it will sleep 2. You don’t need to leave a credit card number because we just take cash. What’s your name?”
“My first name is Victor, and my last ..”
“OK Victor, got you down for April 27th.”
“Do you need my last name? What is your cancellation policy?”
“No I don’t need your last name. Since we deal in cash, we don’t worry too much about the cancellations, just let us know 24 hours in advance if you don’t think you’ll make it. We’d appreciate that.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“See you on the 27th, Victor”
It was that easy. Even though it is kind of in the middle of nowhere, I’m looking forward to my stay in Salome. I can’t wait to meet Randy and Cindy. It’s all part of the adventure.
The Lone Rider