Dick Maynard Column November 12, 2008

B & Bs be a surprise on cross country journey

Alligators, booze, earplugs and robes. All in the name of hospitality. Like Willie Nelson, we Maynards have been “on the road again” the past 30 days. Journeying from coasts west to east, smelling salt air, feeling the ocean breeze, reveling in the changing colors of a coastal fall and experiencing local accents from “ya know” to “y’all,” it’s been a month to remember. But the truly memorable moments seemed always to occur after the sun was below the yardarm in a wide variety of hostelries.

There was no real intent to avoid the lodging chains of our land, it just happened. What a happening it was.

A Lopez Island bed and breakfast in Washington featured a bottle of sherry on a stand beside the bed with a note suggesting a nightcap. This same room’s refrigerator was stocked with bottled water. 

The water was a buck and a half a bottle. Charging for water while booze was “on the house”? 

Forget about chocolate chip cookies at check-in, this was an innkeeper knowing what “customer appreciation” was all about.

Some upscale hostelries feature oversized, fluffy terrycloth robes for guests. One evening was spent in what must have been a “sort-of” upscale B&B. They provided just one robe. I asked Jan, the lady who promised to love, honor and always sleep away from the window, if she would consider sharing. 

“Absolutely not.” How about rock, paper, scissors for the wrap? Wrong again.

Her opinion was a bath towel around the mid-section works just fine for the male of the species.

Ladies deserve a robe. I agreed until discovering the motel evidently blew the entire towel budget on the single robe in each room. Or they assumed hand and bath towels were one-size-fits-all.

Another B&B appeared to be owned by folks not minding your patronage, providing you neither used, soiled or disturbed anything in the house. Hand-lettered signs were everywhere. “Make sure curtain is inside shower before turning on water,” was spelled in all caps. So was “Wash hands immediately after starting fire in fireplace” and “Enter and exit ONLY through the rear door.” One fully expected to return to the room after a day’s bicycling to find the motel “mom” had sewn nametags in your underwear.

Last week’s Hilton Head lodging was a most delightful condo featuring a deck overlooking a pond bordering the golf course. The owner’s manual on the dining room table detailed how alligators can outrun a human. Standing on the deck, an alligator was spotted sunning himself 15 feet from the steps. It was the perfect “Kodak moment,” at least until the gator proved camera shy and headed toward the deck and us. A deck, it should be noted, we used sparingly the rest of the week. Hey, if the gator wanted it, who were we to disagree?

“Chain” lodging wasn’t completely avoided. Driving Interstate 80 across Wyoming to Denver and a Broncos game, (talk about a waste of time), a late October blizzard caused us to pull off for the night in Rock Springs.

Upon opening the door to our room we noticed what appeared to be mints on the pillows. Wrong. A note explained, “We apologize for the constant wind. Please use these earplugs to insure an un-interrupted sleep.”

The motel manager should be told about a bedside bottle of sherry. Drink enough and you’ll sleep no matter how loud the Wyoming wind howls. And you don’t have to put anything in your ears.


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