Stinky hotel rooms

Remember how yesterday I was in the lap of luxury, albeit in the middle of nowhere?  Well, today I checked into my “renovated” hotel in Chester and it’s old people land.

Seriously, I’m in the 80’s timewarp here.  I do think the carpet is new, but the A/C unit is the original I think.  And, this is what gets me… it smells like old people here.  I’m afraid of what I WILL SMELL LIKE when I leave this place tomorrow morning.  Poor Mr. Hall, he’s going to be all excited to see me tomorrow and I’m going to have old people funk on me.  

The good news is that I’m right outside of Richmond, so I’m like 2 hours from home.  If I can get to the tunnel by 4, I’ll be good.  It all depends on how long it takes at the site tomorrow.

Observations on my health and eating this week:

  • I have been doing excellent with my water and I’m getting in at least six bottles of water every day.  That is exactly what I would drink at home (around 96 ounces), so that is a feat given my hours on the road.
  • I have been eating my salmon and apple every day for lunch, which is very good.
  • My dinners have been reasonable as well: Lean Cuisine, canned spinach, and today I had my dreaded Wendy’s salad and a few french fries.  I couldn’t help myself!
  • Breakfast has been either Luna bars or the hotel breakfast.  I have avoided all cinnamon rolls, bagels, English muffins (mmmmmbutter)  and other tasty carbs.
  • I’ve been getting up every morning and doing 45 minutes of my Cori exercises, lunges, leg lifts, and whatnot.
  • Every night, I stretch and take my hot bath with the dead sea salts.  While this has helped tremendously, even as I sit here and type, my hip hurts.  I apologize in advance Cori for what I will look like in another week of this.  Any teeth gnashing, hair pulling, clothes stripping, or arms up in the air is totally warranted and I will not take it personally!  LOL  I know it’s bad because it’s spasming and I can feel it up my obliques.

Super excited to be home tomorrow, then it’s off on Monday again to tour the top part of the state!  I’ll definitely be in civilization, starting in Fredericksburg.  

A short stay in civilization

Today I spent the majority of the day in Lynchburg, which is so full of Liberty University I could barely stand myself!  The Walmart in town even had a separate store for LU wear.  Why can’t ours have ODU stuff in Hampton Roads like that?

The site today that I visited was small, small, small.  Like they are in a trailer small.  I feel so bad for these people, but major props to them for working in such crappy conditions.  I think they are the only site we have in the state that are still in a trailer.

It’s midafternoon now and I just checked into my hotel in Gretna, which was about an hour and some change down the road.  I am near Smith Mountain Lake, which I hear is wonderful.  Too bad for me, I am in the middle of NOWHERE.  This nowhere is even more nowhere than I was last time I was out in the mountains. 

According to my hotel guide, Gretna has a population of 1300 people and encompasses 1.2 square miles.  There’s not even a Wendy’s here people.  Thank goodness I got some food in Lynchburg before I left!

The hotel is NICE.  It’s just a Hampton Inn but it’s brand new and I practically screamed with joy when I saw washcloths, conditioner, and brand new carpet in my room.  It’s the little things.  This hotel also has a breakfast, so I can have something besides a Luna bar tomorrow!

I look forward to spending the evening in my clean-smelling hotel room, working on my class stuff and getting some TV in before bed.  Two more days until I go home!  

Back on the road!

Yesterday I headed out in my new rental car to Roanoke, a skinny 5 hour drive compared to the last 9 hour fiasco to Big Stone Gap.

I was so grateful that I got to stay at home all week because I needed to get caught up with work and the laundry was in dire need of attention when I returned.  Props to Mr. Hall for keeping his end of the bargain and having a clean house for me upon arrival!    

Anyway, I packed most of my bags on Sunday and headed out yesterday morning.  Thankfully, the weather cooperated and the traffic was perfect.  For the next two weeks, I will be driving a brand new GMC Terrain.  It’s a sweeeet ride with all of the upgrades.  I wasn’t going to go for it, but it was a free upgrade and Kevin didn’t like the idea of me traveling in the mountains in a Camry.  I’m glad that he talked me into it because the trip out to Roanoke was very pleasant.  I’m not saying my butt doesn’t hurt from the ride, but it’s a nice vehicle.

The rain held off just until I arrived in Roanoke last night at 5pm, so I was stuck in the car trying to wait for the downpour to stop.  I filled up the car with gas (only used a half tank to get out here!) and headed to the hotel.  Everyone and their brother was arriving all at once and clamoring for the protected overhang to unload luggage.  I just waiting for it to stop raining hard, grabbed my things, and headed in.  Then, I waited again for the rain to lighten up and finished unloading my car.

This has got to be the strangest hotel I’ve ever stayed in.  First of all, the hallways are like a sauna.  Seriously people, it has to be at least 85 degrees out there.  It’s like my hot yoga studio.  What the heck? On my way down the elevator, this woman got on with me and she turns to me and says, I don’t know why the fuck I keep staying at this place.  It pisses me off. 

Huh?

Little did I know.  First of all, shampoo, but no conditioner.  What hotel doesn’t give conditioner?  I packed my own, but still I like to keep them for one night trips.  I was really looking forward to getting some extras this week since the regular Holiday Inn’s are using the Bath and Body Works products right now and their flavor is….waitforit……Coconut Lime!  My summer fragrance! I about fell out.

Second weird thing:  no washcloths.  I know!!!

Third weird thing:  lamps that randomly work and then don’t turn off.  Electricity problems, anyone?

Other things that irritate me about this place:  it says it’s renovated, but that must mean that caulking up the shower and putting new linens on the bed is enough.  Hello, nasty carpet and peeling wallpaper.  Mental note: keep this reservation so I don’t book this place when Distance Learning sends me back out again.

The only good thing about this place is that my room has a fridge and microwave, so I was able to get a Lean Cuisine for dinner instead of a salad from Wendy’s.  For lunch, I had my salmon pouch, an apple, and a can of spinach.  Love spinach.

This afternoon, I started working on my chapter lectures for this online class I’m developing.  Thankfully, blissfully, my computer is working without issues.  I told Mr. Hall that it may be time to get a MacBook or a MacAir.  I don’t know how much longer this thing will last.

My plan is to do two chapters tonight and try to do one chapter tomorrow and another chapter on Thursday.  The book is 15 chapters.  I’ll be driving an hour to and from sites and hotels for the next few days, so if I can get through three complete chapters, I will be happy.  Tomorrow, my commute is an hour and a half to Lynchburg to get to Central Virginia CC.  Then, I have an hour drive to the next hotel in Gretna. I don’t even know where that is, but it’s near Alta Vista, which sounds like it’s in the middle of nowhere.  

Doing the exercising in the morning and the salt baths at night again this week.  Determined to stay on top of things to minimize the issues that may come up from not seeing Cori for two weeks straight.  

When I left yesterday, we had a TON of little green tomatoes on my plants in the garden (cherry, roma, and juliet) so I’m hoping that when I get back on Friday afternoon that I will have a bounty waiting for me!  The plants are getting over 8 feet tall, so Kevin may need to work on training the vines back down again to the ground, since I don’t think either of us want to be climbing ladders to get the fruits!

My basil is also taking off, so some caprese salads will be in my future too!

Back on the road next week

After a week back at home, I’m reading myself for another week out on the road next week!  Thankfully, I don’t have to leave on Sunday.  I’ll be pushing off on Monday morning to go to Roanoke and then spend the week working my way back across the southern part of the state.  Even better, on Friday I will be in Richmond so I won’t have another 6 1/2 hour drive home.  Yay!

As much as I hated it, I plan to replicate the same meals next week.  It worked for me last time, so why do anything different?  Prepare for bitching and gnashing of teeth on Thursday.

These next two weeks will be hard on the PT front.  I was so messed up this week, poor Cori spent more time trying to work out my problematic hip and IT band than she has in awhile.  I don’t even want to think about what I’ll be like by the time I get back.  So, I’ll plan on doing my morning stretches and exercises and just leave it at that.  I also will do the salt baths since that seemed to help keep the worst of it away.

I desperately need to get things together and work on my class development while I’m gone.  Hopefully the shorter driving stretches will allow me to stay more awake and not be so worn out like I was last week!

Back at home this week

I didn’t post about day 5 “on the road” because I got a wild hair after my site visit on Friday and decided to drive home!  Yep, even though I was dead tired, I decided to pack it up at 3:30pm and make my way back to Norfolk.  

Thankfully, the hotel didn’t charge me for the late checkout.  Anyway, I called Kevin and said, I don’t think I can do a 5am trip tomorrow.  The last thing I needed was a Saturday morning traffic jam at the tunnels.  If I didn’t get the rental car back by noon, then I would have to pay insane overages and it would be a violation of ODU’s contract with Enterprise.  No, thank you!

So I packed it up, drank a 5-hour energy, and headed home.  It was mostly a peaceful drive, except when I hit rush hour.  After that, it was pretty down hill.  I DID get in a traffic jam in Williamsburg (1 hour) and got to the rental place at 10:30.

Blissfully, I climbed into bed at midnight and was thankful that I didn’t have to get up early.  

Saturday, we ran some errands and went over to see my bestie, Gretchen and the new baby!  Myles is just adorable and totally smells like a new baby.  Love him!  It was nice to relax for an hour with Gretchen and Bill while we talked about the trip and oogled over the baby.

There were more errands to run on Saturday night and Sunday, plus all of that laundry I accumulated from the week.  I was so worn out when I went to work on Monday!  

It’s nice to be home this week.  I’m certainly going to pack more clothes next week in case the weather changes again!

Oh, and on the scale weigh-in…I lost a pound!  I can’t believe I didn’t gain any weight while I was gone.  Can you believe it?  It’s those cherries I keep eating for dessert!  Ha!

 

Day four “on the road”

I can’t believe that my first week of traveling is almost done!  I am in Dublin tomorrow at New River Community College.  Thankfully, I get to stay at the same hotel for three nights.  I was so happy when I left this morning without having to pack up the car.

Five days in a row at a hotel has taught me a few things about packing.  First of all, the weather has been so crazy this week.  I packed for much warmer weather and then the storms came through and really cooled things off.  In retrospect, I should have packed more cold weather clothes.

Next, I thought I would be more productive at night.  In all actuality, I have been so tired by the time I eat dinner, I cannot get myself focused enough to open a textbook!  I think it is partially from all of the driving and not sleeping the greatest. The beds are okay, but you know how it is- it’s not hom and I am used to Mr Hall being there.  And, I am also used to Athena getting all up in my stuff at night.  I keep waking up thinking that I have a cat and there isn’t one there!

When I go out again, I will probably bring some embroidery.  I am too tired to work on textbooks but I get bored because I am not tired enough to go to bed at 7pm!

I definitely am ready to go home.  I am such an extrovert, being alone for dinner and the evening is killing me!

 

Day three “on the road”

Today was a long one!  I got up before six so I could do my 45 minutes of exercises-  I’m not slackin, Cori!

Then I had to pack up all of my things into the car so I could get onto the next site.  I had the same thing for breakfast again this morning, which seemed to work well for me yesterday- eggs, yogurt, and the plain oatmeal with honey drizzled on it.  While I’m talking about food, I might as well give you the rundown on my other meals.  It’s not that exciting- the same thing I ate yesterday AND the day before.  I texted Cori earlier this evening and said that I was definitely eating to live this week and not eating for fun.  What I would give right now for some Chipolte or Mr. Hall’s roasted veggies with garlic!

Getting back to my day, I headed out for my hour drive to Cedar Bluff, which is a very mountainous area of the state.  I loved the campus- it was covered in beautiful masonry work.  I was tickled to see a welcome to me on the main marquee sign on the campus.  So hospitable!  Like I said, the campus is very hilly with these HUGE staircases that are practically straight up and down.  Cori would be proud that I hiked up and down those things several time, rather than taking the elevators that connect the buildings!

One of the coolest things on this campus was the amount of masonry work.  The town has a lot of mining so there is all of this amazing slate on the outside of the buildings and everywhere you’ll see amazing stone walls.  There is a local artist who does masonry work and he even sculpts bricks!   There are several buildings on campus where he has done two story murals of brick walls and has chisled animal scenes.  I had no idea you can sculpt bricks!  You better believe I hunted for an owl, but no dice!

 

The day ended with a two hour drive to Dublin, where I am currently staying.  I had to drive through West Virginia for 10 minutes on the way here  I about fell out when I saw the Welcome to West Virginia sign. You know how I have no sense of direction.  I called Kevin panicking!  Turns out that I had to drive around a national forest.  Whew!

 

Tomorrow, I am in Wytheville and get to see my dear friend Doug, who is the site director there.  I get to stay in this hotel for three nights, so I actually get to unpack.

 

Going to get in the tub for another salt balth.  My hip and butt is so jacked up, I  cannot imagine how bad I’d be if I wasn’t taking these soaks every night.

Second day “out on the road”

Another day at a site, another day in the mountains!

Last night was pretty blustery outside and there were a lot of thunderstorms.  I guess that is what has been happening back home too.  It was raining this morning when I woke up and has been pretty overcast all day.  The temperature outside has definitely dropped and I regretted wearing a skirt.

This morning for breakfast I ventured downstairs to see what the breakfast spread looked like.  Holiday Inn Express has a huge breakfast deal that they put out every morning.  I stared at the cinnamon rolls (mmmm ICING) for way too long and responsibly selected a small yogurt, a scoop of the questionable egg substitute, and fixed myself some plain oatmeal with honey drizzled over the top.  It was a good breakfast given my options and got me away from eating Luna bars all week.   I grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl and headed up to my room.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to check out this morning because the Southwest Higher Ed Center is here in Abingdon and only five minutes away.  I will need to check out earlier tomorrow, since I have an hour drive to get to my next site!

The higher ed center is a beautiful facility located on the same campus as Virginia Highlands Community College.  Over ten other institutions are represented there and it’s easily triple the size of the higher ed center in Virginia Beach.  For lunch, I had my tuna pouch and the apple from the hotel.  I’m behind one bottle of water right now at 4pm.  I ate one of my nut cluster bars on the way back at 2:30 so I will probably catch dinner around 5:30 so I can get to bed earlier.  This hotel has an actual coffee pot in the room so I was able to make hot water for my green tea this morning and took a large tumbler of my lemon tea.  That stuff is delicious cold!  Will probably have another salad for dinner tonight.  There is a Huddle House right next to the hotel, which I have to pass on the way to Wendy’s.  I’ve never been to one before, but it looks like a Denny’s.  It has large window clings that scream, “two can eat for $6.55” and “double bacon burgers with fries”. I don’t need any of that!  I’ll take my chicken salad and value fry over that any day.  Speaking of junk food, I was checking out the large frosty and it has something like 18 grams of fat.  What the heck!

My laptop is pitifully slow.  Another reason why I remembered I’m happy I bought an iMac.  God, this thing is a piece of crap.  It’s a flipping miracle my dissertation didn’t blow this thing up, literally.

I’m not sure how much work I’ll be able to do on this thing, but I’ve got my addictions textbook so it may be that I just need to read and then make the lectures when I get back.  I may also try to disconnect this from the internet at the hotel, since that may be slowing things down.

I enjoyed the amount of people I saw today wearing cowboy boots, especially girls wearing them with skirts.  Maybe I need to get a pair!

First day out “on the road”

After a long drive yesterday (9 hours!), I was practically crying with happiness when I checked into my hotel.  MapQuest and my TomTom said it would only take 7 and a half hours to get to Norton, but it was obviously longer than that when you take into account lunch stop, pee breaks (did so well with my waters!) and traffic issues.  All in all, it was a great drive and I love being up in the mountains.  It didn’t rain at all and the temps were in the 80’s, which is much better than what I hear is happening back home.

This morning, I got up early and did 45 minutes of exercise in my room.  I did my Cori exercises that she gave me and some squats, lunges, abs, and stretched.  I am really kinked up from the car drive, even though the car I got (a Chrysler 200- pimpin’!) is really nice.  Then I packed up all of my things, got the car together and drove to the first site in Big Stone Gap.  Such a little community college and nestled right in the middle of a mountain area.  Lots of hills on the campus and really pretty.

Drove about an hour and a half to Abingdon, where I am currently sitting at the desk in my hotel room.  Enjoying the view outside my window of a forest-covered mountain and sipping lemon tea.  Got all my water in for the day (96 ounces) and forgot to eat breakfast, I was so excited to get to the site.  Ended up eating tuna fish and my breakfast bar for lunch.  Had a nut bar (all natural) on the way to the hotel and ate at Wendy’s for dinner.  Their berry almond chicken salad is delicious!  Cheated and got a value fry.  What?  LOL

Tonight I plan to eat some cherries that I packed.  Almost sad to see them finished.  I wish I could have packed more, but I couldn’t justify trying to keep them fresh when I’ll be gone until Saturday.  The hotels I’m staying at have fruit out front so I grabbed an orange and an apple when I came in today and ate one.  Tomorrow before I go I’ll eat a bar and maybe an orange.  Tuna and an apple for lunch tomorrow.  I’m trying to keep some sort of normalcy with my diet.  I’m terrified to weigh myself on Sunday!

Got a great idea before I left to pack some dead sea salts.  So much better for you than epsom salts because of the mineral content for your skin.  Soaking every night to try to keep my hip spasms and other bodily issues controlled so Cori doesn’t have a mess on her hands next week.

 

Today is a bittersweet day for me because my bestie, Gretchen, is in the hospital right now delivering baby #2.  Thought I’d be able to be there for her today- how could we imagine that she’d be over a week late?!  I’m so happy and proud of her, but definitely feeling sorry for myself that I can’t be there to support her.  I can’t wait to meet this baby!!!

Brought my laptop and my new textbook for the next online class I’m developing.  Thought I could spend the evenings this week working for a couple hours at a time on getting lectures started.  If I’m going to be alone, I might as well be productive!

When I was getting onto a by-way today, I passed a road called High Hoot Owl Drive.  I about fell out!  I wanted to go back and take a pic but I was too far down and couldn’t turn around on a mountain.

Here is the drive I’ve had all day.  So peaceful!