US Road Trip Epilog: 10th August 2005

Later on last night Spiderman 2 was on TV, including a sequence with Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head playing in the background. Seems quite appropriate as I leave Ocala in yet another thunderstorm. Annoyingly, the song is then stuck in my head all day.

It's 170 miles north and west to Tallahassee. There are a few more thunderstorms along the way, though nothing too serious, and the clouds keep the temperature down in the low 80's most of the way. Good driving weather, and Highways 27 and Alt-27 are fairly fast and clear of traffic.

Tallahassee from my hotel room
Tallahassee from my hotel room.

I've booked myself somewhere a bit more classy than usual tonight, a Doubletree Hotel in the centre of Tallahassee. I'm not expecting much of Tallahassee - it's the state capital, which in my experience means it may be a bit sterile - but the Doubletree is only $20 more ($99 plus taxes) than places much further from town and it'll be nice to stay somewhere where I can actually go out for a walk.

The Historic State Capitol in Tallahassee
The Old Capitol in Tallahassee.

As soon as I step out of the hotel I can hear the thunder in the distance. By the time I walk to to the Old Capitol it's getting louder and obviously closer. Nothing for it, then, but to beat a hasty retreat back to the hotel.

This hotel is one of those annoying places that want you to pay extra for every little thing. Parking is $4 (no choice there) and internet access for one night is $10. They have got to be kidding - there's not a hope in hell I'm paying that. I wonder about the mentality behind this. Do they think that more affluent customers won't baulk at these extra charges? I'm not in that category but from my experience more affluent people get that way by knowing when they're getting ripped-off and refusing to be duped. Maybe it's the business expense-account customers they're trying to target.

Later in the evening I'm sitting in the luxury of my 14th floor room watching TV when I notice something scuttling around on top of one of the beds. Something fairly big, about 1½ inches long, and not the most attractive insect in the world. I think this may be a roach, but I've never seen one before so I could be wrong.

What follows can only be described as something out of Tom & Jerry. 20 minutes of chasing this horrible thing, who has moves that make Cristiano Ronaldo look like Vinnie Jones, up around and over the whole room. He darts, he feints, and he seems to know every time what my next move is. Quick little bugger as well. Eventually I get him trapped under a glass and can then slide some paper underneath. Time to call the lobby and let them know.

An angry roach, pictured shortly before a swimming lesson
An angry roach, pictured shortly before a swimming lesson.

They already know. Apparently every time the weather gets bad the roaches come in the hotel. Their advice is to flush it down the toilet. I have no problem doing that, but shouldn't they bit a more concerned? Er, no. The response is a free breakfast voucher. Great. I don't eat breakfast.

What about the simple fact that if one roach has got in, others can surely follow? Even up on the 14th floor. Is that conducive to a good night's sleep? Does providing five pillows on each bed (including the one with 'Sweet Dreams' stitched on it) and lots of fancy body and hair products disguise the fact that you may find one or more large insects running all over you as you sleep? Not in my book it doesn't. I think they may have their priorities slightly wrong in the Tallahassee Doubletree Hotel.

US Road Trip Epilog: 11th August 2005 >