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Old 07-30-08, 12:58 PM   #1
MikenBike
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Traveling horror stories?

I don't know if you guys like to take extended trips, but if you have, you know that sometimes the places you stop at aren't always five star resorts...I remember this one time I was completely exhausted from a looooong day and all I wanted to do was crash. Instead of camping out, I found a random hotel on the side of the road and even though the toothless guy at the front desk creeped me out, I brushed it off and headed to my room. Actually, now that I think about it, "room" is probably not the right word, more like "holding cell". This room was literally the size of a cubicle, with a tiny twin bed, stained bedspread, and the whole room smelled like Bengay. I even found an old toothbrush under the bed! Hooray!

I bailed at 5AM the next morning.

I work with Hampton Inn, and you gotta check this video out about similar experiences; poor guy knows what it's all about!

"Ballad of a Traveler": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2tgnUsj8NE

Anyone else have a traveling horror story to share? This always elicits some interesting conversation...
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Old 07-30-08, 02:04 PM   #2
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After a few long dirty days of touring and camping in the desert I was looking forward to getting a cheap hotel room, cleaning up, drinking some beers and sleeping in a bed. Finally got to the hotel/restaurant, got a room, cleaned up in the gnarly dirty bathroom! and then went out for for a few beers only to find the restaurant [and rest of town closed]. So a decided to turn in early and shut the lights off - that's when the giant flying cockroaches came out......so I hastily assembled my tent and slept in it on the bed....

Let's just say I left the next AM not quite as refreshed or satisfied as I had expected I would feel...
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Old 07-30-08, 04:10 PM   #3
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How about following the 29.99 a night signs an extra eight miles to a motel, then being told, "So veddy sorry sir, that room is taken". no cars in the lot. they then remembered an extra room at that price when I started to leave. tub would not drain, sink falling of the wall, dirty and stank of old curry.(fresh curry I could have handled)

then there was the campground outside Quincy IL that gave me a spot over the cess pool, would not allow me to move though the campground was fairly empty. rode into the city and the Elgin Hotel gave me a room on the fourth floor. there was no working window or air, and there were cigarette butts in the pillow case. Good water pressure though. when I went out to find a place to eat several guys tried to sell me crack, meth or whatever. cooked in the room.

Then there was the time I had set up camp in the very isolated city park and rode up to get some water and bug spray, this guy got out of a car and walked up to me with a little dog in a pink sweater and started asking how many of us there were, where we were staying, even if anyone knew were I was, not to unusual but he had about three teardrop tats on his cheeks, all of jailhouse quality, and a shifty sort of look. the sweater on the dog freaked me out the worst though.
I was solo but told him that I was
with a group of Marines on leave, and I was the only one allowed to go to the store after several violent stress induced encounters early in the day...

Spent one night on the front porch of a funeral home, rain, hail, lightning, and sixty to seventy mph wind gusts keeping me from traveling the 3/4 mile to the campground. that would not be so bad but for my deeply ingrained and quite rational fear of the undead. I mean I hate effen zombies. I was out of there before first light.

dogs and raccoons while stealthing, drunks on harleys in parks, drunk teenagers messin with the "homeless bum", its an interesting list.

one thing, no matter how nasty the motel, I always clean my bike off real well before taking it in just like I would at a nice hotel. good exuse to keep your ride clean, and its polite to the cleaning staff, no matter what they may deserve.
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Old 07-30-08, 05:41 PM   #4
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At the end of a biking day I stopped at a motel near Palma Soriano in Cuba. At the reception desk they told me that the motel is exclusively for Cubans unless el Cheffe decided in my favor. Before taking the decision he called several persons and finally allowed me to stay for the night.
The room looks Ok and the price was dirt cheap: 75 cents in pesos, local money.
Only then I discovered that the water was not running: I have to go to a nearby cistern and carry the water myself. The toilet mechanism is out of order. The working fan has two wires connected to the plug, no prong.
The only lamp was the ceiling bulb. The bed mattress was in a terrible condition.
At nightime I found a man standing in front of my room I asked him why? he told me that he is the night guard: He disappeared as soon as he was tipped.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:39 PM   #5
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I wasn't bike touring, but did spend one nite in a Motel 6. Pulled back the covers and there were short black hairs all over the sheets. I was able to get another room, not short hairs either, made sure they changed the sheets while I watched.
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Old 07-30-08, 08:18 PM   #6
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One of the more "interesting" I've stayed at:

A hotel in Malko Tarnovo Bulgaria (Near the Turkish border) was actually a floor in the town Hospital/sanitorium. The guest entrance was also the patient/ambulance entrance, and check in was by a nurse who was crazy busy. The room was obviously a standard hospital room-but done up nicer. The hospital and grounds/garden were probably gorgeous 40 years before, but had zero building or grounds maintenence since. Very strange...
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Old 07-30-08, 09:12 PM   #7
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I've cycle toured India and stayed in a huge range of places from $2/night to $150/night - some clean and some quite squalid.

However, one of my more difficult overnights was actually in the USA. I went to college in the Boston metro area and one of my preferred mini-tours was to cycle down to Cape Cod and take the ferry back from Provincetown. It was a ride of 136 miles and the ferry left at 3:30pm. This meant it was usually a two day trip.

One weekend I decided to ride down and stay in a youth hostel in Orleans, approximately 100 miles from my start. It was a hot day but I made excellent time and was at the hostel shortly after 1:00pm. I waited there a bit, but a sign on the door indicated the hostel wouldn't open until 5:00pm. Rather than wait there in the heat, I decided I'd head towards P-town and see if I could stay there overnight - perhaps staying on the beach.

I wasn't pushing myself arrived in P-town after the ferry had left. At the city limits were big signs saying "No sleeping on the beach, $50 fine". As a college student, I had around $29 on me, but $15 needed to be saved for the ferry. I went to find an ATM and somehow it was out of order. I only had my silk sleep sack and no tent but decided I needed to find a campground to stay legal. There were two campgrounds in town. I cycled into the first. They told me something like $12 and I said ok. Then they asked, "do you have a tent?". I'm not sure why they asked, but I answered truthfully, "no". So they told me, "well then we can't rent to you...".

Without much other choice, I found the second campground. I was very careful not to mention anything about tents and fortunately they didn't ask me. However, when they asked me to pick a site, I decided to pick one way on the edge of the campground. I walked my bike there and then decided to head into P-town so nobody would see me in my sleep sack. I spent my $2 on two bananas and the cheapest food I could find. I came back after dusk and snuck back to my campsite and spread out the sleep sack.

Then the mosquitoes came. My carefully picked campsite away from everywhere else was surrounded by swamp. The thin sleep sack provided no protection from them. I sort of tried to sleep anyways. I got a nap or two between being bitten. By 4:30am it was starting to get just a bit light and I had had enough. I got up and decided to ride my bike our of there.

I rode north away from P-town to northern tip of Cape Cod. When I got to the beach, what did I find? Half a dozen folks out there sleeping on the beach! If only I had known! I hung out the rest of the day waiting for the ferry to came. I did catch some naps underneath a pier as I was still somewhat sleepy from the night before.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:11 PM   #8
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Well there was the hostel with the 3" dead cockroach in the hallway ...
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Old 07-31-08, 09:00 PM   #9
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IN my job I spent a good 10 years living in motels,,, to yall,, been there done that,,,, Woke up at 2 am freezing, heater no worky, so I stripped and turned the hot water on in the shower, ice cold, I loaded up and went to work.

Stayed in place in Wyoming, door would not shut,,,,,Roaches, mice, dog crap, dirty sheets, cafe's closed, Maids that fold my underwear,,,,,
I WILL TAKE THE TENT WHENEVER POSSIBLE.
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Old 08-01-08, 12:32 AM   #10
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The first time I did a tour by bike, it was an overnighter. I had a rack on the bike and I had a sleeping bag but I didn't have any other gear. I borrowed a frame bag from a friend and stuffed clothing into it. I picked up a small and cheap tent at my parents' place. The tent had seen better days, but it was shelter.

When I arrived at the campsite that evening, I proceeded to set up the tent. The poles were there but I had no tent pegs. Fortunately the ground was soft and there were a bunch of twigs which I used as pegs.

On another trip a few years later, I rolled into a town in the Ozarks as it was getting dark. The town was a tourism centre and, although it was mid September, every campsite and hotel room was full. The next place was a good distance down the road. I was tired and I didn't have a good light. While I was trying to figure out my options, a man walking down the street asked if I had a place to stay. He then invited me to camp at his place.

I haven't had any awful hotel or motel rooms while cycling. The worst have been a few where the beds have been uncomfortable, but nothing more serious than that.
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Old 08-01-08, 06:34 AM   #11
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A couple of motels that I have stayed in were so bad I used my sleeping bag on the bed. But the water was warm and clean. Certainly those were not Hampton Inns.
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Old 08-01-08, 06:40 AM   #12
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It was well after midnight. We got into Long Beach and was to catch a boat for Catalina in about six hours. The only hotel with an opeing and not over about 250 dollars was in a shady part of town. The hotel room had mirrors over the bed. We need tell no more.
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Old 08-01-08, 07:41 AM   #13
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Well there was the hostel with the 3" dead cockroach in the hallway ...
Well, at least the cockroach was dead. When touring India I stayed at a hotel full of live cockroaches. I had the runs that night. There was a cockroach in the squat toilet, which I washed down the drain using the ladel of water beside the toilet. But everytime I was squatting on the toilet that night, the cockroach would climb back up the drain, and I'd wash him back down while squatting there.
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Old 08-04-08, 12:09 PM   #14
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Spent one night on the front porch of a funeral home, rain, hail, lightning, and sixty to seventy mph wind gusts keeping me from traveling the 3/4 mile to the campground. that would not be so bad but for my deeply ingrained and quite rational fear of the undead. I mean I hate effen zombies. I was out of there before first light.
You've had some, um, unfortunate occurrences! Quite bizarre, too.

I feel like a baby after hearing some of your stories!! Cockroaches seem to be a horribly common theme...yikes.

If you guys have any other trips coming up and don't want to end up with large nasty bugs in your last minute hotel room, Hampton Inn is offering 10% off the best available rate until 9/1/08; not too shabby, eh?

You can check it out HERE.

Aaaaaand they're giving away bikes and vacations, leading up to the Olympics! Just thought I'd throw that in there

Now let's hear some more stories! I know you've got 'em...
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