Stops that are pits

I'd like to hear some advice on places to avoid staying. Last year, following a bust in central NE and wanting to set up for 6/10 near North Platte, my chase partner & I settled for the first town we hit at I-80: Lexington.

At the risk of offending, Lexington is a pit. Taking the extra hour to go to NP for the night would've been worth it.

What other Alley small towns may look OK given their font size in your DeLorme but are best passed by? Or, what places are worth that extra drive if you're in range at the end of the day?
 
Tucumcari, NM is pretty creepy.

In June 2003, Eric Nguyen, Scott Blair, and I ended a day in Tucumcari, settling for a non-chain motel on the edge of town (that was our first mistake...we had a coupon, though). The place looked nice from the road, but after checking in, we found our room to be in a separate building - or, rather, bunker - in the back. It was like something out of a horror movie. The room looked as if it hadn't been updated since the 70s. I seem to remember the walls being covered in some sort of red velvet.

Worse yet, the building looked to be a temporary home for some folks - and not the sort of folks you'd want to tangle with. Honestly, it felt like we were being watched, and with two cars full of equipment, we were pretty nervous.

Still, we decided to stick it out, heading into town to find a bite to eat. The only place that looked trustworthy was a Denny's on the interstate. That was quite an experience in itself. The food and service were both equally terrible, but the real kicker was that the restaurant was full of some extremely creepy people. There was a "family" sitting in the booth behind us - two aged drifter sorts, and a young kid that insisted on having an ice cream sundae for dinner. The thing is, the way they spoke to the kid and each other made it seem like something funny was going on - as in, they kidnapped the kid and were on the run from the law.

Upon finishing dinner, we gave each other a "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" look. Yup, we were getting the hell out of Tucumcari.

Since we had to return to the motel to return our key, we figured we'd might as well see if we could get the credit card charge for the room reversed. So, we concocted a plan...

Eric and I come screaming up to the hotel lobby in the van, the orange strobe on the roof flashing. Eric jumps out, runs in, and tells the receptionist we're severe storm researchers, and have to get to Amarillo pronto for work. Things are going crazy, so we'll be out all night...probably won't get any sleep. I come running in, frantically spewing some crap about mesos to 40,000 ft. or something equally ridiculous. Then, Scott (who is waiting outside) calls my cell phone, and we start bantering back and forth about explosive hail cores and so on.

By this point, the receptionist has gone all wide-eyed...and completely falls for it. What's funny is that it took a good 10 minutes to get the charge reversed (required a phone call), so we had to keep this act up for awhile.

Then, we busted it out of Tucumcari, not stopping until we hit the Super 8 in Amarillo.

So, yeah, I'd avoid Tucumcari. Or, as we've come to call it, Tucumscary.
 
Stratford Inn, Wichita, KS...... not good at all....


Along the lines of what Jeff wrote, yeah get those travel books with teh coupons. they help alot. but always stay in a chain.... well unless the non-chain place looks really great.

I prefer super 8s ...
 
The Super 8 just east of the state line in Council Bluffs, Iowa (Exit 1B or something like that) is a dingy old hole in the wall. It was right next to a truck stop, so that should have been our first clue.

For that matter, much of that entire town seemed to be the armpit of the universe. We saw bounty hunters (pardon me, "extradition specialists") in the Wal-Mart, and all merchandise on the endcaps was tied down with zipties.
 
The Super 8 just east of the state line in Council Bluffs, Iowa (Exit 1B or something like that) is a dingy old hole in the wall. It was right next to a truck stop, so that should have been our first clue.

For that matter, much of that entire town seemed to be the armpit of the universe. We saw bounty hunters (pardon me, "extradition specialists") in the Wal-Mart, and all merchandise on the endcaps was tied down with zipties.

D00d--It's COUNCIL BLUFFS! Around here we call it Council Tucky. If you're ever feeling sorry for your station in life, just head to the Mercado De Walton in Council Bluffs and you'll walk out feeling like Don Trump.

Council Blufffs is a casino town. That Super 8 is where the losers stay. The winners stay at the casino hotels, but when you're gambling, 'winner' is a relative term...
 
Tucumcari, NM is pretty creepy.
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I second that!

I drove through there back in 2001, I even stopped there and ate at some cafe... I didn't have one good feeling while there. I couldn't wait to leave that town.
 
Council Blufffs is a casino town. That Super 8 is where the losers stay.

Maybe that explains the ridiculously excessive number of fire doors in the hallways. We had to get through something like 8 fire doors to get to our room. Maybe they have a problem with despondent gamblers setting fire to their rooms.
 
Never stay at the Airliner Motel in Salina, KS!

The Budget Inn in Salina. I pulled up there to check in. A cop car pulled up next to us and told us that we didn't want to stay there. I came out of the office to see what was going on. Other people in the van told me something was going on and lets go find another place.

We went to the Airliner Motel. That place is straight out of the 60s same beds, same carpet, same dust...


I have eatten at the Denys in Tucumscary. They had the rudest hostes I have ever seen. avoid it.

Also avoid an independent place in Pratt, KS (Delorme had it listed as Red Roof Inn so I called for reservations) One room was located under the office. You had to go oround back and down some stairs. There was no light and there was a pipe across the steps. I tripped and nearly killed myself. While we were there, there was a domesic disturbance going on outside my room. Some guy pulled a gun on another guy.

I have had many other (Interesting) stays, but these I remember off hand.
 
I about aged 25 years and had to clean my pants after having a Topeka Police Officer pull a gun on me at a Motel 6 in Western Topeka when I came downstairs for some ice for my girlfriend and I and there was apparently a drug-bust going down in a room nearby. When I turned the corner, I guess I spooked one of the officers and he pointed a gun at me. I quickly fired my hands (and the ice bucket - not filled) over my head and exclaimed in a near panic "I'm just here for some ice!" A quick check on me indicated I was not involved nor a threat and I was able to fill my bucket and return to my room upstairs.

Stay there at your own risk! :lol:
 
The Super 8 in Ardmore, OK.

It caught on fire the night we were there, and the lady refused to refund the 6 rooms we had got. :x

We had to drive all the way back up to OKC before we could find a vacant hotel!

I am sure Ardmore is all right, just dont stay at the Super 8
 
The Days Inn in Altus, Ok is a nasty death trap. We stopped there one night back in 2002. It seemed ok. national chain but when we got to the rooms..wow. The sheets hadnt been changed in what looked like weeks. You could actually see where other people had slept. the light fixtures had black smoke trails above them from where they had shorted out before. the bathroom was a true hazardous waste dump. There was black mold on the walls and all over the shower. The towlethadnt been cleaned in forever and wouldnt stop running. The light fixture was hanging by its wires. If there would have been another place to stay within 60 miles we would have left but it was memorial weekend and this was it. I got my emergency blanket out of the truck and slept on it. there was no way I was getting under those sheets. I skipped the shower until the next day. drove to a truck stop on I-40 and used the truckers showers. we sent a letter to Days Inn headquarters with pictures a few days later. we got a free night at any of their hotels. I dont know if they contacted the owners of that days inn since it was franchised but I will never stay there again.

I wont even go into the the details of the Double wide trailer strip club we found in Altus!!! :eek: Just glad to still be alive
 
I quickly fired my hands (and the ice bucket - not filled) over my head and exclaimed in a near panic "I'm just here for some ice!" A quick check on me indicated I was not involved nor a threat and I was able to fill my bucket and return to my room upstairs.

Sounds crazy! I'm glad they let you fill your ice though.
 
Here in Grand Island, there are two places to avoid like the plague: The Days Inn, on Diers Ave (basically a frontage road off US281) on the northwest side of town and the Conoco Motel on US30 as you come into southside of downtown.

You have been warned!!! :)

Regards,

Mike
 
The Days Inn in Altus, Ok is a nasty death trap.

I've stayed there twice now, including once in 2002. While it was no five-star hotel, my experiences were not nearly as bad as yours. In 2002, I do remember that my room had lots of dead crickets on the floor...

Other places to avoid: Super-8 in Garden City, KS - next door to a large livestock farm. Additionally, there were problems with the plumbing in the room.

- bill
 
You got lucky Bill. We had a total of 4 rooms amungst us and all were hellish to say the least.

Dead crickets all over the floor to me would mean that they hadnt cleaned or vacuumed the room. Not the kind of place I room I would expect for $70 a night which was crazy in itself. this isnt a Ramada or Luxury Suites. I prefer best westerns since most of them now have Wi-Fi. that is one of the 1st things I look for when choosing a hotel now.
 
ANY motel within walking distance of a truck stop.

Give Priceline.com a try. Many times you can get a really nice hotel for $40 -$50.
 
On the other hand, I have nothing but compliments for Fairfield Inns. Clean, large, comfortable rooms, polite service, and reasonable at around $70 a night, which is great when splitting expenses.
 
Here in Grand Island, there are two places to avoid like the plague: The Days Inn, on Diers Ave (basically a frontage road off US281) on the northwest side of town and the Conoco Motel on US30 as you come into southside of downtown.
Mike, I'd be curious to know what the problems are, as I've stayed at that Day's Inn twice (last time in 2003) and had a good experience.
 
I prefer best westerns since most of them now have Wi-Fi. that is one of the 1st things I look for when choosing a hotel now.

Best Western in Chillicothe, Mo is the suck. Had made rez's beforehand, wanted non-smoking and got smoking. Travelling with mom-in-law, needed ground floor and got second story. Mentioned this to the desk clerk and she said "This is the only hotel within 40 miles with rooms" with a smirk in her voice...
 
On the other hand, I have nothing but compliments for Fairfield Inns.

Roger that. Stay there whenever I can. Neat, quiet, and backed up by a company that has shareholders to answer to, so they will at least listen to any concerns. (In the interest of disclosure, I own Marriott stock...:))
 
I agree with Jay about Best Westerns. They have either WiFi or hardwired high-speed network connections almost anywhere in the country, even Helena, Arkansas on the Mississippi River.

Most of my chasing life I've used Motel 6 or Super 8 only. But I've found that having the speedy internet like Best Western saves me a lot of time (don't have to go find a connection after checking out of the room) and the smallish free breakfast they serve has become essential for me. I can handle snacking on whatever is around for the rest of the day and into the night if I've had something in the morning. Skipping coffee is not an option anymore, and grabbing some free breakfast in the lobby is cheaper, faster, and usually much healthier than going the McD's drive through. For those who live on the road during chase season, this is important because of the cumulative effect of Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits over several weeks. Not pretty.

What makes it possible is that Best Western's rates have dropped. Or at least it seems as if they have. They are typically about $5-9 higher than nearby Super 8s, and for the reasons mentioned above, I'm willing to pay the extra. I think I get more than $10 worth of value from the time saved in the forecasting process and the free food.

PS: The Super 8 in El Reno is a disaster.
 
Henryetta, OK will forever be stuck in my brain as a bad place to stop. There may be some fans here of Huckleberry's Pig Out Palace Restaurant, but I'm not one of them, and the accomodations are pretty scary. I think there is also a Super 8 on the west side of town near the interstate that I've not stayed in, and it might be ok, but other choices more in 'town' are pretty shabby joints, but reasonably priced for those on an extreme budget (sub $30 a night).

While it would be nice to avoid them, pick just about any town on I-70 through KS and expect to have serious trouble finding an available hotel room. Parts of I-80 can be tough too, but the stretch from Hays to Topeka can reliably run out of rooms by late afternoon on a weekend, early evening an other day of the week for most of the chase season.

Grand Island is another place I try to avoid staying - unless I can get a room at one of the few places by the interstate (where food choices are extremely limited though - I only recall an Arby's), because otherwise it is a healthy drive from the interstate to the main part of town.

Also, watch out for the annual World Pork Expo in Des Moines, every decent hotel within 80 miles will be booked in advance. This year it runs 9-11 June.

Glen
 
The Days Inn in Altus, Ok is a nasty death trap.

I've stayed there twice now, including once in 2002. While it was no five-star hotel, my experiences were not nearly as bad as yours. In 2002, I do remember that my room had lots of dead crickets on the floor...

Other places to avoid: Super-8 in Garden City, KS - next door to a large livestock farm. Additionally, there were problems with the plumbing in the room.

- bill


thanks for the heads up as i'm taking family on vacation to Dodge City/ Garden city and a few other place in kansas and western missouri Memorial week.
 
I prefer best westerns since most of them now have Wi-Fi. that is one of the 1st things I look for when choosing a hotel now.

Best Western in Chillicothe, Mo is the suck. Had made rez's beforehand, wanted non-smoking and got smoking. Travelling with mom-in-law, needed ground floor and got second story. Mentioned this to the desk clerk and she said "This is the only hotel within 40 miles with rooms" with a smirk in her voice...

For future reference. The Super 8 in Trenton is a pretty good place to stay, or so I hear.
 
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