Easter in Michigan

14 04 2006

We arrived in Chicago last night to balmy 70+ degree weather; despite the prediction of overnight thunderstorms it's expected to be over 80 here today. This morning it is fine, clear, and very sunny. Today we're driving from Chicago to Manistee, south of Traverse City, Michigan and with the weather as it is, we're really looking forward to the drive. We'll spend a couple of days with my cousin and her family in Manistee, then go to her parents' place in central Michigan (just north of Lansing). So Easter will be spent with family in Michigan.

More about hotel value

14 04 2006

Last night we stayed in an ExtendedStay America room near O'Hare Airport in Chicago, so it was always going to be more expensive than hotels further out.

Normal price – less than $80 US for the room (bit less with a discount). So it was half the price of the Wyndham Resort in Palm Springs. Did we get half the value? No way! In fact, we got WAY more than expected.

Let's look at what we didn't get – no pretty boxed shampoos and conditioners (though soap is provided), no hairdryer, no extra pillow and blanket… and that's about it. What we did get at ExtendedStay that we didn't get at the Wyndham included:

  • tapware and drainage in the bath/shower than worked properly
  • a mini-kitchen with sink, fullsize fridge, microwave, 2-burner stove top, crockery and cutlery for two people, basic cooking utensils, toaster
  • two desks
  • a TV with better reception and choice of channels
  • an airconditioner whose temperature we could control (unlike the Wyndham where there was no control over the temperature if you wanted it less than 69 degrees)

More evidence of the rip-off nature of the larger hotels. Oh, and did I mention that the Wyndham applied FOUR taxes to each night's stay? These taxes (including a spurious and questioned "resort fee" of $8 a night) added another $30 plus to the bill – for each night. That's nearly the total amount we paid for that Motel 6 room back at Paso Robles! 

Am I p***ed off? You bet!

MP3 books

14 04 2006

I purchased an 30GB MP3/data storage device while I was in California (MUCH cheaper than Australian prices, even with exchange rate differences) and spent a blissful 3+ hours flying from LA to Chicago listening to the dulcet tones of Bill Bryson reading from his own books. I'm not really that into music, but the thought of talking books for such situations is pretty attractive. I don't have to have the light on in a darkened plane to read, yet get the benefit of the book anyway. Now I have to find out how I can stop chuckling in the funny parts without disturbing the person sitting next to me! That 15 hour flight back to Australia is not looking quite as daunting as before.