Travel With RJ

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I needed to find a hotel in the Buffalo area for the night before the Buffalo Marathon. The Hyatt was the hotel associated with the race, but unfortunately they were book solid. I started looking around for other hotels in the area. The closest ones were very expensive. There were some less expensive hotels, but they were quite a ways away. I looked for something that was somewhere in between. I found the Econo Lodge Buffalo South was less than 8 miles away, and cost about sixty some bucks.
So today we arrived at the hotel. It’s just down the street from a mall. Check in went smoothly. The rooms all have exterior entrances. Our room was on the second floor. So we parked out front and drug our stuff up the stairs to our room. The area doesn’t looked great so I tried to bring in anything valuable from the car. There is a safe in the room to lock up valuables. The room is not very big, and the bed is only a double.
A couple of the wall mounted lights didn’t work. I thought the bulbs were burnt out. Later when we stopped by the office, I told them about the lights not working, and they gave me a couple new bulbs. When I got back to the room, I replaced one of the bulbs, and the light still didn’t work. I had turned on the switches, nothing. Then I found the light was unplugged back behind the nightstand. I pulled out the nightstand, and plugged it in. Then out of curiosity, I put the old light bulb in and it worked. I checked out the other light, and found it was only unplugged too. With effort I managed to reach behind the dresser and plugged it back in. Then that light worked too.
We found a dirty wash cloth hung over the shower rod.
I also just noticed that there is a deadbolt on the door, but it won’t engage into the doorframe for some reason. Like the slot in the door frame is too small, or located in the wrong spot so they don’t align right.
I kind of wish we had maybe tried one of the more expensive places.
Econo Lodge Buffalo South is located at 4344 Milestrip Road, Buffalo, NY. (716) 825-7530.

I have a love/hate relationship with my Garmin GPS V! I use it extensively when traveling, but there are times when I want to throw it out the window!
Some of the various problems I have had this trip include a lot of recalculating. I would be driving down a main road such as a freeway or whatever and it would suddenly think I was off-route (I wasn’t), and then start recalculating. What is especially annoying is when it starts recalculating right before an upcoming turn.
Another annoying thing is how long it takes to calculate the route. Sometimes it would take like 5 minutes to calculate the route. This was especially annoying when like above it would do it while enroute.
Another problem I had down near Mystic, CT. I saw an exit that I thought would take me to Mystic. But the GPS V was telling me the exit I wanted was a mile down the road. So I didn’t take the exit. When I got a mile down the road, there was no exit. Apparently the exit I had passed was the exit I wanted.
Then there is the occasional flakey routing. This afternoon trying to find our Hotel, I did a find, and found our hotel as a Point Of Interest. But for some reason the Garmin GPS V took us right passed the hotel had me turn into a mall parking lot, go through the parking low and had me back track to the hotel. My wife had pointed back saying I think I saw our hotel back there.
But I love that most times I can plug in a destination, and the Garmin GPS V takes us there.
At the time I got it, it was the best of it’s kind for the price. But these days more and more GPS units designed for car navigation are coming out for cheaper and cheaper prices. I may get another one in a year or two. Who knows.

Mt. Desert Island is in the Downeast area of Maine. It’s not like island that you have to take a boat to, but is just off the main land, and can be driven to.
The biggest town on Mt Desert Island is Bar Harbor. But there are a bunch of other small towns scattered around the island.
A big chunk of the island is Acadia National Park. Entrance to the park cost $10 per vehicle. There are discounts for seniors, and others. Once in the park, you can drive around Park Loop Road. In the middle of the park is Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest point along the eastern seaboard. You can drive to the peak. There is a small information place/store up there. Bicycling Magazine named Cadillac Mountain as one of the top 100 bike climbs in the US.
Speaking of bikes, there are several bike rental places around the island. So if you want to do some bike riding check them out. There is one right n Bar Harbor that looks like that have some good quality bikes.
The beaches on Mount Desert Island are mostly rocky. There is one beach named Sand Beach which is aptly named since it is cover with coarse sand. Most of the other beaches are covered with rocks. Some shores are lined with boulders, while others are covered with smaller stones. These are great places for beach coming. You might find cool stuff like shells, interesting rocks, and maybe pieces of sea glass. Who knows what else you might find.
There is a lighthouse in Bass Harbor. You can drive almost right to it. There is a small parking lot, and then a short walk, maybe 100 feet, and you are there. There is a large bell there too. We watched a fishing boat off the shore dragging a net while we were at the lighthouse.
We also took an enjoyable drive around the perimeter of the island seeing what there was to see. There are plenty of little fishing villages around the island. And in places you can see where the boats have set lobster traps.
There are many restaurants around the island, but there are some great ones in Bar Harbor. I recommend Geddy’s in Bar Harbor for some great food and atmosphere.
If you are interested in camping, there are many little campgrounds around Mount Desert Island. From the KOA campground just as you come on to the island, to Blackwoods Campground in Acadia National Park, to the many little private campgrounds around the island, you are sure to find something that will fit your needs.
There are also some nice hotels around the Bar Harbor area, and many little motels scattered around the island. One older motel we passed advertised a price of $32/night. We didn’t stop there, so there may have been limitations on the price such as mid-week, off-season for a broom closet. Who knows.

Since we were going to be starting at Gloucester, MA, driving to Mystic, CT, and then heading for Buffalo, NY it was going to be a long drive. We were looking for a place to stay somewhere between Mystic, CT, and Buffalo, NY. We decided Albany, NY might a good place to stop. I got online and looked for a hotel for a reasonable price, and booked a room at the Clarion Hotel in Albany, NY.
Today we arrived, and check in went smoothly. Our room was clean and in good repair. I was happy to find that they had free WIFI. I don’t remember if that was mentioned in the write up.
We were hungry after a long drive, so we headed down to Scenarios, the hotel’s restaurant. They were empty except for us, though a few more people eventually showed up. The presentation of the food was great, but taste-wise, it was just okay.
After dinner, we head out to the car, and brought in some more stuff. I grabbed some Diet Pepsi out of the car, and brought it back to the room and put it into the hotel supplied refrigerator.
I changed into my running gear, and headed down to the fitness room. They had a treadmill, a stepper machine, and couple recumbent exercise bikes, and a weight machine. The treadmill was a Precor. It needed a little maintenance as the belt was rubbing on one side, and needed to be centered. Nonetheless it worked for my 20 minute jog.
After my jog, I headed back to the room, and talked m wife into going swimming. We changed and headed down to the pools. They have an indoor pool and an outdoor pool. We stuck our toes in and found the water was kind of on the cold side. I couldn’t talk my wife into putting anything more than her feet into the water. I managed to get all the way in. I swam for a little bit, but it was just too cold. So we abandoned the pool, and head back to the room. The TV has cable, and has a ton of channels. But we were only looking for CBS.
Since it has been very hot here, we have had the air conditioner going. The fan is kind of loud. Every once in a while we would hear a click, and then a loud deep rumble. I thought it was semi starting it’s engine outside. But we finally figured out it was the air conditioner.
I also noticed the little neon night light in the bathroom flickers and would sometimes go out.
I guess all these things are why this is a $61 a night hotel and not a $100+ a night hotel.
The Clarion Hotel Albany is located at 3 Watervliet Ave, Albany, NY 12206. (518) 438-8431.

Having been driving all day, once we checked into our room at the Clarion Hotel in Albany, NY, we didn’t really want to go out anywhere for dinner. So we decided to check out the restaurant at the hotel. The name of the restaurant is Scenarios.
The menu is impressive and has a lot of interesting looking things. But they had a separate sheet with specials, and one of the dishes sounded interesting. It was called Honolulu Dreamin’ Surf And Turf which included an 8oz sirloin steak topped with coconut shrimp. My wife ordered the small cut of prime rib.
We got a bowl of rolls that were good and warm, and came with a cup of whipped butter. Yummy. Then came our salads. What can I say? They were salads. Then our entrees came. I tried the coconut shrimp, and they were okay. Not great. The streak was just okay as well. My wife’s prime rib was pretty good sized considering it was the smallest cut. But I thought it is was maybe just a touch overcooked for medium-rare. It was also not a great cut of meat. I would compare it to the prime ribs I get out in Las Vegas for $6.95.
Not that we will be in the area again anytime soon, but I would probably go out and look for a different restaurant next time.
Scenarios is located in the Clarion Hotel at 3 Watervliet Ave, Albany, NY 12206. (518) 438-8431.

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