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  1. #1
    zephyr1034 Guest

    Default Tom's Theory of Motels

    Hi,

    This is my first post. I've never heard anyone comment on this, but it's undeniably true: Tom's Theory of Motels.

    Simply put, it's "The more you pay for a room, the further you'll have to walk from your car with your bags." I look around for old mom and pop motels where you can park in front of your door. In fact, that's why they're called "motels." If I go to a newer place with interior corridors, I'll end up having to schep my bags a quarter mile. These newer places are in fact hotels rather than motels, but without such hotel services as bellhops.

    I realize you might not know what you're getting with a mom and pop. I always give it the eye first. If there's peeling paint, uncut grass or rough looking characters hanging around, I'll go elsewhere.

    But my theory totally defies all rules of economics. Normally, convenience is something that you have to pay for. A house in town will cost you more than one in the sticks. A can of cat food will cost more in a convenience store than it will at Wal Mart. But with lodging the exact opposite is true.

    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It Depends

    Quote Originally Posted by zephyr1034
    This is my first post.
    Welcome to the board!
    I've never heard anyone comment on this, but it's undeniably true: Tom's Theory of Motels.
    Simply put, it's "The more you pay for a room, the further you'll have to walk from your car with your bags."
    I am not sure I buy the thesis -- I would agree that one can find evidence to support that point of view -- at certain price points -- but I tend to choose motels that offer both ease of access (carrying computers & our other working-gear gets old after a while) and have broadband capabilities as well as upgraded amentities -- "Mom & Pop" places almost never have what I require in a room and so I tend to book at higher-priced motels that have all of those criteria.

    I agree that you can find those motels where you have to walk a long ways -- but they tend to be less than the higher priced places where you can drive nearer to your door (and still have all of the electronic services upgrades). But this thread should generate some interesting comments.

    Thanks for the post.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-12-2005 at 11:29 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Well, I'm so tied to my computer that I use roadtrips as a way to escape technology, except for my digital camera. So I don't look for the things that Mark does.

    So I agree that mom and pop's can be quite fun places to stay. As long as they're clean and seem safe (no unsavory characters milling about), I enjoy them a lot. Especially the funky decor you often find in them. :-)

    While I also kinda like parking right outside my door, since I usually only take in a small bag with my change of clothes and grooming kit....and maybe my tote bag of maps, guidebooks, etc. for planning the next day's activities....it isn't a big deal to schlep things at all. I'm simply tight with a buck and look for the cheapest lodging that looks safe and clean, that is if I'm not camping which I my preferred lodging.

  4. #4

    Default Exterior Corridors

    We also look for motels that provide parking in front of our door or, as our AAA guide calls them, "exterior corridors." Rather than a suitcase, our usual clothes packing device is a laundry basket for each of us placed on the back seats. Much easier to get at since we usually mix tent camping with motels and rarely want to carry all our clothes into the room for a one night stay. I also carry quite a bit of camera gear & a cooler for soda, a laptop, etc. Traipsing all this through a motel lobby & up to the 5th floor every night is a pain.

    It does seem that the newer & large chain motels are all switching to multi story interior corridor motels, but we still look for the Mom & Pop stays, both for the ease of moving in & because they are usually more interesting. I have had much more enjoyable conversations with the owners & staff of the small motels than the chains.

    Since I usually update a web page while traveling, we do have to find a network connection every couple of days. If we can't find a free WiFi hot spot the need for a high speed connection is about the only reason for stopping at a chain motel.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Hot spots!

    Quote Originally Posted by vermilye
    Since I usually update a web page while traveling, we do have to find a network connection every couple of days. If we can't find a free WiFi hot spot the need for a high speed connection is about the only reason for stopping at a chain motel.
    One caveat -- I always have to think about -- free Wi-Fi hot spots are never secure and I prefer locations that I can arrange encrypted connections or more-or-less secure VPN services. The reality of managing RTA is that we can rarely be out of touch more than a few hours on any given day -- so our expectations about being "Out There" are different than those seeking holiday road trips! But it is all fun.

  6. #6
    zephyr1034 Guest

    Default Internet Access from the Road

    I've never used anything but dial-up, so I'm somewhat ignorant of wi-fi and such.

    If I take a laptop into a motel room, couldn't I get on line just by disconnecting the phone, plugging the laptop into the phone line and finding a local AOL dial-up number? Are there any problems with that?

    I need to do something, because my email is so out of control that it's a disincentive to travel. If I'm away from my computer for more than a few hours, I'll have 100 messages waiting. After two or three days, God help me. Most of it is Yahoo Groups that I belong to. I'd guestimate that only 20 percent of the mail is spam. The rest have to at least be looked at.

    I've used libraries, but with mixed results. First you've got to find one. Then they might limit access to holders of the local library card. And at some libraries, I can't get into one of my AOL screen names, even though I can access other ones.

    Tom Hoffman
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-13-2005 at 06:26 PM. Reason: Format

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Step into my parlor...

    Quote Originally Posted by zephyr1034
    I've never used anything but dial-up, so I'm somewhat ignorant of wi-fi and such.
    Jon Vermilye wrote a pretty good field report about using Wi-fi here. Our chart is a little of out date -- but the basics of reaching the Web haven't really changed all that much.
    If I take a laptop into a motel room, couldn't I get on line just by disconnecting the phone, plugging the laptop into the phone line and finding a local AOL dial-up number? Are there any problems with that?
    For basic e-mail that is fine. And I have certainly used it from time to time -- but on any given day RTA receives about 1500 messages and so our requirements are a bit more vexing.
    I need to do something, because my email is so out of control that it's a disincentive to travel. If I'm away from my computer for more than a few hours, I'll have 100 messages waiting.
    I know the feeling, if we let a day or so go without checking we are usually looking at 3000+ messages, at dial-up acess --- scary!
    After two or three days, God help me. Most of it is Yahoo Groups that I belong to. I'd guestimate that only 20 percent of the mail is spam. The rest have to at least be looked at.
    Many of us at RTA use MailwasherPro that allows you to preview e-mail without downloading it. The downside is that AOL will have a fit if your e-mail box starts to exceed 2500 messages that you clear in a few seconds. (It triggers their alerts).
    I've used libraries, but with mixed results. First you've got to find one. Then they might limit access to holders of the local library card. And at some libraries, I can't get into one of my AOL screen names, even though I can access other ones.
    Libaries work best if you use one of the web mail programs like yahoo.com.

    Mark

  8. #8
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default First, motels... second... the 'hinternet'

    My philosophy on motels is to try and stick with names you trust. Motel 6 and Super 8 provide cheap, clean, and comfortable rooms. AAA Approved Lodging provides a little more comfort, especially the higher the diamond rating you go.
    Mom and Pop's are okay sometimes, but my personal experiences on the road is that your best bet is stopping at a Motel 6, Super 8, Day's Inn (or subsidiary)... mainly because of price, but you also have an idea of what you are getting into ahead of time (they have to answer to a national office, a mom and pop place... all they have to do is keep enough business to stay afloat).
    And about your email problem... try switching all your yahoo groups so that they don't send you individual emails. Either use thier Daily Digest option, or just choose to read the posts on the group. If you are part of popular groups and have your email setting set up so that if anyone posts a message, it emails you a copy... i can see how you get alot of emails in a short while.
    You may also consider checking your email via cell phone. Some wireless carriers offer internet via an internet based phone. I can access my AOL mail and my Yahoo mail from anywhere in the world on my T-Mobile phone, but for services such as Gmail, which doesn't support cellular internet... you have to find either a wi-fi connection or a land connection.
    -Brad M.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default

    I usually camp, but I have found that when at a motel, it's pretty easy to tell if you'll have to walk far or not. Holiday Inn - walk. Days Inn - not so much. Econo Lodge - doubtful, etc. So, in my experience, the less I pay, the closer to the door I am! When I camp, I'm _right there_, and that's usually the cheapest lodging of all!

    I have been lucky with getting a room, then finding someone else has it booked, and getting upgraded to the suite with the Jacuzzi for free.

    Granted, I usually don't bring computer equipment (though I will this next trip for an online Summer class), and I don't have a large website to maintain, so these services (wi-fi, encrypted connections) aren't a big deal for me.

    If you go to a sketchy mom & pop, and they are surprised when you only want the room for one night, instead of a week or a month - I'd say that's a transient motel (aka 'affordable apartments')! There are two of them in the towns around me.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-19-2005 at 01:22 PM.

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