Sunday, October 2, 2011

Moab — A few bugs in our plans

So far this trip, we have had incredible experiences with great and inexpensive accommodations. Even with the crowded conditions (way more tourists than we expected) and our last minute planning, we have managed to luck out. I guess that is why our first night's accommodation in Moab was particularly disappointing.

We arrived in Moab way before sunset (which is really unusual for us) and easily found our prebooked Days Inn. We could tell from the outside of the Motel that our luck had probably run out, but we got up to our room and were pleasantly surprised — at least at first. The clogged shower drain should have been our first clue.

We cleaned up as best we could with a tub filling up with the scummy water from a our day of hiking, and drove over to a restaurant recommended by the local 20 something young lady sitting behind the Days Inn reception desk. Dinner was great, but we were bushed, so back we went to the hotel and we made it an early night. We noticed on our drive to the restaurant and back, that the centre of town consisted of chock a block hotels and motels. Almost all with "no vacancy" signs. We were glad we had preplanned for once and booked for two nights!

When we returned after dinner, the owner was behind the desk. I mentioned courteously that our drain was plugged. "Sure, sure, I will look after it in the morning", he assured me. 

I got up first the next morning, and noticed when I turned on the light that there were bugs everywhere. They looked dead, but when I got closer they started moving. Not bed bugs luckily, but bugs none the less. They seemed to be concentrated around the sink, so I didn't panic, but I was needless to say — unhappy.

We went down for our complimentary breakfast and thought about strategies. We knew most or all hotels were booked as well as most campgrounds. Ask for another room in this hotel? Hard to imagine other rooms would be any better ... It was Saturday and the busiest day for finding a hotel or a campground.

Back in our room, the situation intensified. We noticed to our horror that the bed was also spotted with bugs. At the same time there was a knock on the door and the cleaning person came in to clean the room. I showed her the bugs and she looked horrified. "I call the manager right away!"

Five minutes later she returned with three cans of various bug sprays and told me that the manager would speak to me at the reception desk!

I was pretty worked up by the time I got downstairs. The owner was all smiles and explained that we are in the desert and these sand flies are everywhere. A quick spray and all will be well. I tried to explain to him that I was not at all interested in staying in a room sprayed with poison. "Oh no!" he said. "It is not poison, it will just make you safe from the bugs". We had a bit of a lengthy conversation about the absurdity of his argument. Needless to say, we were able to check out, with no penalty for the second night reservation. He was as glad to see the back of us as we were to get our bags out the door.

I am happy to report that the same evening after a full day in Canyon Lands National Park, against all odds, we did find a wonderful hotel — Comfort Suites which I would recommend highly. No bugs, beautifully appointed rooms, extensive hot breakfast and laundry facilities to boot. We settled in for two nights, as our base for Arches National Park.

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