Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Thank you, Mrs. Davis

Please bear with me as I chronicle our most recent vacation.  We shipped our kid to my sister's house five days before we left, so it was just me and the mister on the long, long car ride out east.

We hit a snag before we even left town on Friday the 24th. Mr. M's car broke down. It used its last bit of power to roll into the garage (we were glad for that so that we didn't need to order a tow). We decided to pretend we didn't know the car was kaput and just enjoy our vacation.  We dropped our dogs off (Grover with a friend, Gretchen at our vet clinic), and hit the road at about 1 p.m. We encountered some traffic within the first two hours, but nothing too traumatic. Then came Chicago. If you've ever had to drive through Chicago, you probably know that there's no good time to do it. We attempted to hit Chicago before rush hour in hopes that the Windy City would have mercy on us. Nope. Getting through Chicago took hours. No exaggeration. We lost the will to live before we hit Indiana.

Once we got through Chicago, we hit work zone after work zone, and more traffic, too. We had been pretty chipper up until then. I sang loudly along with Bohemian Rhapsody and tried to get my other half to sing along (I even held an invisible microphone under his chin), but he's no fun at all. He's just a poor boy from a poor family! 

By the time we entered Ohio, we thought we were in pretty good shape. There was a lot of road construction, but nothing like the gridlock we had experienced in Chicago. At about 11 p.m., we started to see ominous electronic signs warning us of an accident scene. We mostly ignored them (ignorance is bliss!). However, it was hard to ignore the fact that the Ohio turnpike was completely closed at one point. We were diverted to another exit, and forced to travel for miles in a single file line behind semis and an alarming number of cars for that time of night. Eventually, we were routed back onto the turnpike. We later found out that a tanker had been burning for hours - hence, the road closure.

We arrived at our hotel at 2:30 a.m., about three hours later than expected. Now, I need to tell you about the hotel. Last year, I left the hotel to chance and ended up at the world's worst Super 8. This year, I made a reservation in advance. I knew we wanted to stay in/near Youngstown, Ohio. I also knew that we didn't want to spend a lot of money because we were strictly there for sleeping - no need for a whirlpool or any amenities whatsoever. One joint kept coming up in my searches: The Davis Motel in North Lima. At first, I just laughed because of the badly photoshopped graphic:

I mean, just exactly who are these people in the picture? They look like they are on their honeymoon . . . at a $49-a-night motel? However, after reading the reviews, I decided to book a room there. And so it was that we arrived at the Davis Motel in the wee hours. My other half, who was so incoherent from fatigue that he was practically speaking in tongues, waited in the car while I checked in. A little old lady (Mrs. Davis) at the front desk handed me an old-school room key (as in, an actual key) and collected my $49.00. She then handed me a paper bag that was stapled at the top. I noticed a largish cross hanging from a chain around my neck. "It's probably Jesus stuff in the bag," I thought to myself. "This is to thank you for choosing the Davis," she said to me. "If you need anything, just let me know. I'll be here all night." I thanked her and headed to our room, which was straight out of 1973. I wish I had taken a few photos.

I opened the stapled paper bag and immediately felt like a royal jerk. It was full of tourism stuff about Youngstown, and included some generic Oreos (and starlight mints to boot!).  We were headed to Pittsburgh and didn't need the info about Youngstown, but I tucked it into my suitcase anyway. I was not about to let sweet Mrs. Davis find that stuff in the garbage can. No sirree.

Mr. M passed out almost immediately, but I decided to take a shower. By the time I went to sleep, it was around 3:30 a.m. As you guys know, I am more of the early-to-bed-early-to-rise sort, so it definitely felt odd to be up at that hour. 

The next morning, we rolled out of bed at around 10 a.m. One of the other Davises called our room at 10:55 to ask if we would be staying another day (since it was almost check-out time). I assured Mr. Davis that we were on our way out the door.

After checking out, we drove to a travel plaza for breakfast. I had brought along some fruit and a granola bar (traveling vegans need to be prepared, ya'll) but the main point was to get Mr. M. some coffee because he gets pretty surly otherwise. I noticed a bunch of people eating ice cream for breakfast, which seemed odd until I remembered that it was lunchtime and I was just waaaaay off schedule.

I'll bore you with more of our adventures in my next blog post. And yes, in case you wondered, I did leave the Davis Motel a positive review online. If you're ever passing through that neck of the woods and don't mind a basic motel that has a lot of, um, character, feel free to give the Davis clan your business.

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