US Road Trip Epilog: 20th August 2005

90 miles, mainly along Highway 70, to Memphis. Or it would've been it I hadn't missed a turning on a ring road and ended up on the Tina Turner Highway - yes, really - rather than the one I wanted. I do like the idea of naming roads after rock stars. I think that we should rename the M62 in the UK The Keith Moon Motorway. After all, it does turn into a swimming pool at times.

(Ba-boom tish. You've been a lovely audience, cyberspace, and I'm here all week.)

Riviera at 93,000 miles
Riviera at 93,000 miles.

On the way west the Riviera passes 93,000 miles. The vibration is there from time to time, but thankfully the spells don't last long. I hate driving the car like this, knowing that I may be causing further damage by doing so.

Fun and games when I arrive at the Best Western Benchmark Downtown motel. Their 'benchmark' appears to be attaining French Canadian standards of hospitality. After being completely ignored for ten minutes by the two women working the front desk, eventually I manage to distract one of them to ask where the car park is. They won't tell me - all parking is apparently by valet. Walking around the back of the motel I see a woman with a Best Western badge drive a van straight into a light fitting in an underground car park. I think I may have found it.

On the way into Memphis the car was threatening to stall at every traffic light, and as does so once or twice as I manoeuvre it down the steep ramp and into a parking space. One where they can't block it in. The valet parking attendants want the keys anyway. No chance.

As I'm too early for the 3 p.m. check-in time, I'll head off to a bar for awhile to cool down (it's very hot in Memphis). Amazingly enough the place I find has live Premiership football on one of the TV's. Unfortunately it's Middlesborough against Spurs, and the sound is off, but then you can't have everything.

Back at the Best Western for the 3 p.m. check-in. It's crowded, of course, as I'm not the only one wanting to get out of this heat and into an air conditioned room. Perfect time, then, for the Best Western to have a shift change. It only takes about a quarter of an hour as they slowly, very slowly, add up all the receipts on a calculator. The genius who decided to have a shift change at check-in time deserves a medal.

Once in my room there are no ashtrays and plenty of no smoking signs. When I call the front desk they tell me they've run out of smoking rooms, but they'll send up some ashtrays and it'll be ok to smoke in there. 3 more phone calls and over an hour later the ashtrays actually turn up. This has happened to me before, and I always make sure that they bring up the ashtrays themselves so that I don't get hit for an extra charge for smoking in a non-smoking room.

US Road Trip Epilog: 21st August 2005 >