How to Choose a Lodging

So many places to stay. How to choose? Steven and I have a very scientific method: a complicated algorithm that combines price, location, intuition, and search fatigue. We like to stay in off-beat or unique places (Mt. Peale Animal Sanctuary or Monument Valley Tipi Village). Sometimes we get a little practical. Here’s how we think about it:

We understand there’s a quality difference between the Baymont Inn and the Four Seasons, or even the Holiday Inn Express, but if we are arriving in North Platte, Neb., at 8:30 p.m. and leaving at 6 a.m., all we need is a clean place to sleep. So what if the shower fixture is pulling away from the wall as long as the water is hot? Do we care if we get a $3.50 breakfast credit to the diner across the parking lot? No! North Platte is a place that makes Starbucks look fabulous. We’d rather save the $60 or so. No frills, no worries.

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The pond at Red Moon Lodge

If we’re planning a trip of longer than a week, we try to find a place with laundry and some privacy in the middle of the tour. That usually means AirB&B. If you’re staying at least a week, you can find many owners who give a discount. Plus, the cleaning fees are spread out over a longer time and you can do a bit of your own cooking. We like to have the whole place to ourselves and getting to do laundry mid-trip without spending time in a laundromat makes packing so much easier. Another benefit is that many are in neighborhoods, so you’re away from the most touristy areas and get a more realistic vision of the places you’re visiting. We’re not looking for new friends, but if you are, you may find some this way. Unless you find one that’s considerably cheaper than a motel, I wouldn’t stay in one for one night. The fees end up making it less than economical.

I am not a big fan of staying in motels on the main drag. I try to look for one or two unique features or experiences I can’t have at home. That’s how we ended up at Mt. Peale and Red Moon Lodge. Neither is within walking distance to the strip in Moab, but both were beautiful, contemplative, and full of friendly people. Monument Valley Tipi Village just seemed like someplace silly to stop for a night. I don’t know that I’d recommend it, mostly because the owners are very disorganized, but we got a strenuous and informative hike on Navajo land and got to talk to the young man (our guide) whose family owns the land plus several of the other folks staying there. I like to have at least a few lodging experiences that offer the opportunity to meet people I wouldn’t encounter in my daily life.

There’s nothing wrong with a regular motel or hotel room; I just find them confining. I would much rather relax on the beautiful grounds of a bed and breakfast, or have a two-bedroom home on a hill for just the two of us.

Most of the places we stayed, I found either through AirB&B or Googling it. George at Red Moon Lodge said that they are listed on AirB&B but also have their own website, where you can book without paying any extra fees. That’s a helpful hint: If you find a place that seems more lodging than true AirB&B (which I think of as more of a single space as opposed to a space with multiple rooms), find its website and look for a price differential.

We do our homework and haven’t had a bad experience, but some of that is our attitude about it all. It’s an adventure!

We Made It To Moab

A couple of days ago we lost our connection to the outside world and boy was it peaceful. (Fill img_20180624_175254676_burst000_cover_topin the blank with a word that describes how you would feel about it.) We drove from Kanab past Moab and up Mt. Peale to spend a night at the lodge at Mt. Peale Animal Sanctuary. We should have gotten there before we hit Moab, but we decided to go around the other way because Steven wanted to avoid scary roads.

The accommodations were basic, just a bed and bathroom, but they were comfortable. The WiFi was spotty, but we didn’t care because our deck overlooked more spectacular views (seeing a pattern here?). We could also see the animals living at the sanctuary plus deer leaping in and out of the yard. In addition, ouimg_20180624_161005564r deck-share neighbors were a couple from The Netherlands who were living in Golden, Colo., and were doing a last U.S. hurrah before they moved to Germany. They were good company. I love Steven a lot, but sometimes it’s nice to talk to other humans.

I asked about volunteering to help with chores, so I got to feed the horses and ride on a tractor, something this city girl has never done. Steven watched from the deck. They are always looking for volunteers and if you happen to be out that way, you should give it a try. Let them know you want to volunteer, and they will cut the cost of the lodgings. Oh, there’s also a full kitchen anyone can use and breakfast food. The sanctuary takes special needs animals (for instance, Willie the horse is blind in one eye) and take care of them in the hopes that they may be adopted. They also have a healing center, but I don’t know much about that.  We turned in relatively early as we had to get up at 6am to start our white water rafting tour.