“Reservations?” the desk clerk snapped at us as we walked in, and almost speechless, we said ‘no’ and he machine gunned “the-rooms-are-one-twenty-nine-a-night-plus-tax.”
No smile. No welcome.
We mentioned we are seniors, military, AAA and lots of other things and he sighed and said the lowest rate was $125.
There isn’t a lot to choose from in Rawlins, Wyoming, and Laramie is another hour and a half down the road. We agree to take the room, but we are appalled at the clerk, and his idea of “Welcome” to the Hampton Inn, part of the Hilton Hotel Family. We are particularly astonished because we have had great experiences in other Hilton Hotels, and we have friends who swear by the Hampton Inn.
Our room is nice, but . . . somebody has smoked in this room. The pillows reek, the linens reek and the bathroom reeks, while the hotel appears brand new.
We had seen a sign for a barbecue restaurant, so we asked the clerk how to get there and he wrinkled his nose, waved his hands in front of him and frowned. He told us that many people had gone there and found it unclean, hairs in drinks, etc. He recommended the Aspen, and told us how to get there, but . . . it was closed.
Just down the street, however, in Rawlins, Wyoming, was Anong’s Thai Cuisine.
The food was wonderful. We had hot tea and salad rolls, which came with a thick, spicy peanut sauce. I had the tofu in spicy basil sauce, and AdventureMan had spicy vegetables and cashews, and both were excellent. The service was prompt, courteous and helpful. It was a total surprise to find such excellence. They were doing great business, too, and we know why! The food was delicious!
The great food cancelled out the shock of our disappointing welcome in the Hampton Inns.
Update: AdventureMan talked with the day manager this morning who laughed and said that ‘Nate’ had put in his 2 weeks notice the night before and was unusually surly, but that at his best, he was always shoddy and unprofessional. We believe it is a very good thing that he find work elsewhere, and not in the hospitality industry. So don’t hold our experience against the Hampton Inns – it was a disgruntled employee we were dealing with, with many, many complaints against him.
We drive. We trade off driving. During these long days, we do see some dramatic scenery, but we are driving for hours, and the best part of our day tends to be finding our hotel and settling in. We were lucky to find another Marriott Residence Inn in Boise, with a wonderful pool, a warm welcome, popcorn in the room to be popped in the microwave in our little kitchen. After lunch at Mazatlan, even though it was very salad-y, we were really sort of restauranted out, so we popped by a grocery store, bought sandwiches and salads, and took them back to eat at our own breakfast bar. After having a swim, of course.
The beds at the Marriott Residence are SO good. We sleep hard, and get up ready to start another day, the hot breakfast even includes oatmeal. I choke it down, thinking of how my sister Sparkle calls it ‘spackle’. Can you believe there are people living on this earth who LIKE eating oatmeal??
By seven ten we are on the road, by seven twenty we are back at the hotel. I was going to take a photo of the sunrise and discovered I had forgotten my camera at the hotel. I am thinking (glass half full) how very lucky I was to find out right away, and we were back on the road by seven thirty.
Here are some of the sights we saw – and only in Oregon and Idaho have I seen so many dogs in the back of trucks:
We saw so many wonderful crops growing in Southern Washington, cherries, peaches, apricots, apples, beans – and in Idaho, we saw a lot of cattle, and sheep, and . . . we think these are potatos:
This was an unspeakable toilet I encountered in Southern Idaho, exceptionally bad.
Traffic was light through Wyoming, but heavy coming in the other direction: