Stories From the Road: The Hotel

“RUN! HIDE! GO GO GO!!!!” Yelled another.

I ran about flapping my arms and yelling nonsense in the most helpful manner, when someone opened the door and a silence fell over us all.

……what would he do? Was he going to throw us all to the curb? Would he fine us? Make us buy two rooms?


The day had started out blissfully enough. But don’t they all? We hit the road on time -and we were making good, solid time. Our trip averaged out to us driving about six hours a day -without stops. It made for long drives, but this day was our ‘short day’ -if all went right, we could even stop at the hot springs. We were feeling good about our journey when the phone rang. We ignored it. Being in Canada, where answering the phone meant extra roaming charges -we decided to forego the call.

It wasn’t until we were three hours in, did we decide to check the message…it was the clerk from the previous motel – informing us that we had left our passports in their top secret hiding place from the night before.

This meant we would have to backtrack the three hours we had just driven -collect our passports and drive the original three hours again (for the third time in one day!) and then finish our original trip.

In the meantime -David had picked up the stomach bug that was being passed around the vehicle, making the rest of our trek even longer.

By the time we arrived at our destination – it was 2am. After driving around for a good fifteen minutes -whining, complaining and arguing -we gave up on finding the motel we had previously booked and opted to instead book a new motel for the night.

We pulled into the new motel parking lot and I ran in to secure us a room. Which is when I realized our dilemma.

I was booking a hotel, not a motel.

Let me explain.

When we had originally booked our journey -we ran into a problem with having 6 people. Most motels and hotels only allow up to five people. They don’t charge for extra people -but the fire department only allows up to five people in one room at a time. After talking with multiple friends (who travel with multiple kids) we decided to book motels instead of hotels. Since there were only four adults and two kids (under the age of four) we didn’t see the need to book two rooms for every stop, and instead chose motels over hotels. Motels -with their doors on the outside, would allow us to take our chances and sneak the extra little in with us.

Up until this point our plan had worked swimmingly.

But this night -we were in a hotel. Meaning we had to pass by the front desk and somehow not declare one of us. So we hatched a plan. Which at 2am might not have been a good idea.

First, we sent mom in on her own. Pulling a single suitcase. She was given strict instructions not to talk to anyone. Simply smile, nod, and make her way to the room.

A few moments later -David would follow suit. Wrapped in a large sweater, feeling and looking rather ill still -he would go alone. Carrying no bags. He too, was to talk to no one. The weary, lonely traveler was he.

Five minutes later -Amanda and I would follow. With the rest of the bags, travel potty, diapers, kids and other assorted goodies too important to leave in the car for the few hours we were there.

After waiting the five minutes we had given the previous two to make their way to the room -Amanda and I began our journey. Hauling enough bags and suitcases to easily accommodate a party of ten. We smiled, nodded, rounded the corner and waited for the elevator…which popped open…

…and there stood mom and David, who had apparently bumped into each other at the elevator and been having quite the time attempting to get it to go up. There was a mad shuffle and hushed muttering while we attempted to diffuse the situation and distribute people…

…and then the motel man arrived. He asked if we were having troubles, loaded us all on the elevator, pushed the button and waved as the doors closed. Nothing suspicious about us at all we decided. Just a group of disheveled travelers who knew not each other -heading in the same general direction at 2am.

We found our room, dropped our bags and heaved relief. And just then, there was a knock at the door.

“HE KNOWSSSSSSSSSSSSSS” someone hissed. Referring to the man at the desk, fearing he had come to his senses and was going to surely kick one of us out.

“HIDE!!!!!!!” Someone else yelled

The window flung open “We can’t go out! We are seven floors up! We are trapped!!!” bellowed another.

“RUN! HIDE! GO GO GO!!!!” Yelled another.

I ran about flapping my arms and yelling nonsense in the most helpful manner…when someone opened the door and a silence fell over us all.

……what would he do? Was he going to throw us all to the curb? Would he fine us? Make us buy two rooms? Make the baby sleep in the car?

“Thank you.” whomever had the sense to open the door in the first place.

The door closed.

“You left your ID at the counter. He was just returning it.”

A few of us road-weary stragglers -looking for a place to stay the night.

England - 2017

England Highlights

So, about a month ago, I caught wind of some cheap tickets to go to England.  I was wanting to take a trip but really hadn’t considered it.  Having other commitments already on the burner I didn’t think I would be going anywhere until the fall or winter.  But the cheap tickets (under $600) were more than I could handle….and so I bought the tickets.

Unlike my normal travel stunts where I go for extended periods of time -this trip was just going to be a short one of two weeks, as opposed to a few months.  It was a trip that I could just squeeze in between dog sitting and other odd jobs…which is how I found myself in England a week and ½ ago.

Here are a few of the highlights.

Igtham mote:

Bodiam Castle:

My tour guide.  Since they had just been there a few weeks prior, he had great fun showing me around.

And then of course, the sun came out and spring officially came to England.


England - 2015

London, Take Two

October 2, 2015

When Morgan came over for a month we had wanted to take her to London to see all the things (you know, the big sites such as Big Ben, the bridges, etc) the only problem was trying to get everyone into London was proving to be difficult –since ½ the sites were in one part and ½ were in another. We had to use the underground a few times –something that is difficult to do with two kids. Instead, we decided that I would take Morgan to see ½ the things, then we would all meet up together in a few hours.

The only problem was…I had never been to London alone, let alone –changed trains, used undergrounds etc. Everyone promised me it would be “Easy!” and since Morgan was game, we went for it.

It turned out to be a great day. A busy, action packed, wild but fun day! We saw everything (and then some!)

The first part of the day consisted of seeing the Buckingham Palace –there was a huge crowd of people and I was convinced something big was happening –like the queen was going to appear.

Lots of people must mean something big is about to happen!!

Not wanting to miss out I drug Morgan through the crowds and up to the gates where we saw, not the queen but this…

The changing of the guards. I wasn’t impressed (haha) but Morgan was excited. I casually mentioned that I was the best tour guide, like, ever –planning out to see the changing of the guards and all 🙂

Nailed it!
Nailed it!

From there we went to visit Big Ben (which is when my camera conked out). Rode the underground to see Piccadilly Circus -a popular site because of the big TV screens?  I guess it is sort of like New York…I’m not entirely sure.  The area has never impressed me that much, but we also heard there was a big M&M world so of course we had to go.  After hitting up M&M world we grabbed some lunch then continued on.

Big Ben

Flash back time…Amanda and I in 2010 -first time meeting Big Ben.

Naw, look how young and clueless we looked!
Naw, look how young and clueless we looked!


Being brave!
Being brave at M&M world!

After seeing those sites, we where we met up with the rest of the gang.  Amanda was nice enough to bring my other camera so I could take pictures again.  Yay!

We took another ride down the Thames river to see the sites from the river.  Much like we did with mom and dad.  The great thing about travel cards (the type of ticket we need to take the train from Caterham to London) is that they work on every form of transportation, including the underground!  You also get a discount when riding the river boats.


Morgan on London bridge looking at Tower bridge
Morgan on London bridge looking at Tower bridge

I had wanted to take Morgan up The Monument.  Something we did in 2010.  Once we got there, Judah decided he wanted to go up as well.  I agreed to take him -so long as he walked up himself.  There was no way I was going to carry him up all those stairs!  He made it all by himself -up all those 311 stairs.  Both up and down!  I was impressed.

View from the bottom:

DSC_0063View from the top:


Yay!  We made it!  As soon as we got up -he was ready to go back down.  Don’t think he really understood why we went up to begin with!



Trying to be all artistic


…and then we saw it.  A carousel.  I have a slightly weird obsession with them, and the undeniable need to ride every. single. one.  Thankfully, Morgan was happy to oblige and we rode off on our big horses.

Morgan said she was going to be “lady like” and ride side saddled.  Me?  I don’t know what I was being.  Whatever it was, it wasn’t very lady like!!!


Oh, I do love me some flying horses…




England - 2015

England: Week 1

Someone asked me earlier tonight what I had been up to this week. It caught me off guard (as do all normal questions –ask me anything but normal questions!) and so I stumbled around with my words for a few seconds before landing on a very wide eyed look and the answer of “Recovering.” Thankfully because of accents and noise my answer got lost and I had a chance to redeem myself. Which I did. Very smoothly with “My friend left.”

In all honesty tho, this week has been all about recovering. Because the past two months have been nothing if not a whirlwind of adventures.

Adventures that I just recently realized –have gone without mention. I guess that’s what happens when you are busy having fun.

To make up for the lack of postings, however, I am going to attempt to recreate some of the past few months. And you know, hopefully not just disappear for three weeks at a time.

Dad and I flew over the end of August to meet up with mom (and the rest of the fam). We had originally decided to stay for three weeks as opposed to two –which is normally the amount of time we stay together for. This turned out to be a good idea –we had one week in England, one week in Italy –and then finished up with another week in England. However it didn’t seem like nearly that long. Thanks to the week in Italy –it ended up feeling like we were only together for about a week!

We decided to make the most out of the time together and see as much as possible!

Week 1:

I think this picture would look great as a silhouette.  Unfortunately my photo editing program is back home so this will have to do for now.  The force not to be reckoned with, The Fam:

DSC_0001Capn’ ‘n’ me




We saw the sites, via boat!  Something we haven’t done since 2010:




Just for fun, a 2010 shot of Amanda n I from the same location


Back to the present, with mom and dad!

DSC_0201Ah, yes.  Selfies.


Back home in Alaska!


These next pictures crack me up.  The first is from 2010, the next is from 2013, and the final is 2015.  They were all taken at the Royal Observatory.  I did a whole thing on it in 2013 here.







I am kind of liking this auntie business!


Of course it helps that Baby E is just as cute as her big brother (just don’t tell him I said that!)


England - 2015

Thorpe Park

One of the things we had wanted to do while Morgan was here was go to a theme park. We originally had decided on a smaller theme park –but after looking into things, we decided that Thorpe park had more of an assortment of rides that would give us all a better time.

We chose the date, bought our tickets and headed out for a day of fun.

Amanda and I were originally a little worried since we always feel compelled to go on all the rides (especially the scary ones!) even though we usually end up getting sick.

The day started with this gem:


While it doesn’t look that scary (and it really isn’t) it was a bit sickening. The seats went up then dropped. The dropping always does me in. You can see Morgan and I in the above picture (between the people with their hands in the air). Morgan LOVES such rides so she laughed while I busied myself by screaming. Ahem.


The next rides were a combination of fun and entertaining –nothing to scary, but nothing to boring either.  Rides like this one:


Mr Judah wasn’t impressed with this ride.  I failed to mention that this wasn’t a ride, but rather just a seat.  After he sat in it he told me I “Tricked him” because it didn’t do anything.  Woops!


One of the favorite rides of all of us was the log ride. Since the park wasn’t that busy –they let us ride again and again. We told stories –while perfecting our southern accent (since the ride narrator had a southern accent) and collected money (you would be amazed at how much money was lost in those logs!)


We came prepared with our swimming clothes -underestimating just how cold it would be!  We were pretty much the only people in shorts!


Another ride Amanda and I were (thankfully!) smart enough not to go on since it looked really scary! Morgan and David went together while Amanda and I discussed the more important things in life: such as ice cream.

The scary ride:


We then hit up another ride that was a good combination of scary and fun –it was so much fun in fact, that Morgan and I decided to go again (without even getting off!) This proved to be a bad idea, especially just after eating lunch and Morgan got sick.

It was a great day out!