It's a different story… when it's your money!

From the reporter's notebook


Last updated 10/5/2022 at 5:04am

My boss at the Idaho Statesman in Boise told me when he hired me that when his reporters traveled, they went first class.

True to his word, he would always ask me where I was going to stay when assignments took me out of Boise. If he thought of a better place he would ask the lady who made arrangements to change mine. I remember when I was sent to cover the Rose Bowl he changed my hotel accommodations to the Hollywood Hotel, a small but rather luxurious place near Hollywood and Vine. I came to understand that my boss was talking about land arrangements because I always traveled by the cheapest air travel.

I learned a valuable lesson from him, and when traveling and being reimbursed for my expenses, I stayed at the best places.

But when I was traveling on my own, I picked the more economical hotels and motels.

My wife and I liked to travel the back roads and ran into a lot of strange and wonderful experiences.

On a trip to Montana, we decided to take the back roads and stayed over at Headquarters, Idaho, a logging and lumber town about 50 miles out of Lewiston.

It was the only motel for miles around, and dirt cheap. No closet there, but they had a rope tied across the corners of the room where you could hang things up.

We stayed at a place in Texas where one corner of the bed sagged pretty badly. Upon examination, I found that a block of wood was propping up the bed. There was also a Big Mac box and wrapper under the bed.

When returning home from Houston, I had decided to give our children a treat and stay in a hotel in El Paso.

I think this was my last straw with Texas; the place was filthy.

I did return to Texas after that to visit my brother in Houston, but always with an unsatisfactory experience.

On a driving trip to the east coast we stayed at Bridgeport, Connecticut. There were four chain security devices on the door suggesting that this was a dangerous place to be. That produced an early morning exit.

In Vermont, we stayed at a place where one of the windows was missing. There was a curtain where the window was located. This was some wise guy’s idea of air conditioning. When the air lifted the curtain you could look right out to the street.

On a wintry return from Southern California we stayed overnight in Loveland, Nevada. It was zero degrees out, and when we woke up in the morning the door was ajar, and it was ice cold. That produced a fast exit.

We had a similar cold experience spending the last night that Coulter Village, in the Tetons, was open. The small log cabins didn’t have sufficient heat, and we had to take the area rug off the floor and put it over the bed to try to stay warm. It was September 30, and winter had already set in.

The lesson for us was, don’t try to travel cheap or take chances on your overnight stops. Maybe my boss in Boise was right: try to travel first class, even if you are footing the expense.


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