Today, I'm truly thankful for hotels.com, and for the gps on my phone.
I am/was driving home from the glorious Disney Trip (and truly delightful stop-over with my wonderful cousin in Atlanta), and pretty much gave up on the idea of making it home when Hotels.com came to my rescue -- twice over. The phone saved me repeatedly.
We over-slept (not surprising), and then found it hard to leave (such a short visit!), but had gotten on the road in time to make the anticipated ten hour drive and make it home by 10:30 or 11:00 pm. That was before Chattanooga. About 20 miles south of Chattanooga, traffic slowed to a crawl (why was this so familiar??). So, I asked Kitty to look at the map, and we fussed a bit, and then we had a few minutes of parking on the highway... so I checked out the gps on the phone, and found a way to skip a big ol' section of I-75, and slip back onto I-24 a few miles past the junction. Phone got us through town with no mishaps, other than the discovery that the traffic jam was still with us.
So, having noticed that we were running low on gas, we bounced right back off the highway after a stretch along the river where we occasionally made it up to 30 mph. At the gas station, between Kitty and the map and the phone, we found another alternative, that got us onto Route 41 -- only one more stop down the road. That detour was about the same mileage as I-24, through twisty mountainy roads with no traffic that let us trave at about 55.
Alas, the various delays and slowdowns were followed by rain. Rain and dark and fog. And RAIN. It took us well over six hours to get from Atlanta to Nashville. (According to Google Maps, that trip should have taken about four hours.) The rain was not looking like it was going to let up. By 7:15 pm, I was fried. There's something about driving where you have to focus so hard on where you're going that you can't take your eyes off the road long enough to read the signs that is more stressful than I like doing for very long. When passing and trucks get involved (regardless of who is doing the passing), visibility goes to effectively nil.I was so tense from driving in the foggy dark rain that my knee and shoulders and back were starting to hurt. Suddenly, I just couldn't do it any more. I pulled off at an exit with a gas station and not much else to recommend it, and just sat there for a few minutes.
So, there we were, about 45 minutes east of Nashville, with my phone now telling me I had 7 hours and 12 minutes left to get home. I gave up. Kitty took over the driving, and I distracted the magic phone from its GPS duties long enough to use its internet magic. I searched for a hotel using hotels.com from my phone (!) and found one with an amazing deal ($28.00 for a room with 2 double beds, free breakfast, free internet in the room and free parking). I then booked said hotel room using the internets on my phone while Kitty merrily drove along in the dark in the rain. So, 1/2 hour out from the room, I'd booked it online from my phone! Yay phone.
Then, Hotels.com called me. Evidently the hotel that I'd booked was oversold (?!). So they found me an alternate hotel (actually 3 blocks closer to the highway than the one I'd booked), also with free breafast (hot breakfast this time), free wireless internet in the room, and free parking. They got me this room for the same price I'd paid for the previous one.
When we arrived, the fellow at the desk had just finished setting up our reservation. He was friendly and helpful and pleasant. And our room -- has a refrigerator! (In fact, though the room is a tad smaller than our room at the fancy-pants resort in Orlando, I find it nicer. This is by far the nicest Holiday Inn Express I've seen.
I'm so thankful to Hotels.com for being there and for following up and fixing the overbooking thing.
And I'm so thankful for my phone for making hotels.com available to me one the road!