About Me

I’m a California-based voice & visual artist. I immerse myself in creative adventure by exploring multiple genres, styles, and forms in my writing and art. I also make short films. ❤️robots.

Road tripping, fragrance-free lessons learned from the passenger seat.

Spontaneous road tripping is my tripping of choice. I've covered all but five states (AK, MT, ND, WV, and VT). Drive until tired, stop at a motel to sleep, shower, coffee, donut, drive. I began road tripping before Starbucks was everywhere when it was either gas station coffee or Snapple tea for a perk-me-up.

In years past, I used to look for bargain motels. You could get a feel for the chains or private motels as to which might be a little cleaner. My main goal was to avoid smoking rooms back then. Those would be loaded with fragrance to "cover" the smoke smell.

This trip had a purpose: for me to hug my mom after fourteen years! Air travel is something I dread these days because of fragrance and dogs. You can't just hop out. I wanted to visit the midwest, so my husband and I decided to drive from California. We made advance reservations with no-pets-allowed hotels. The plan was six eight-hour days of driving. Some days would be straight driving, some would allow time for sight seeing. But the real goal was visiting family and friends in distant states (north, south, and middle). We squashed spontaneous and planned ahead to try to reduce fragrance exposure at hotels.
Fragrance-free lessons from the passenger window. I prefer the driver's seat and am an experienced road tripper. This drive was way more challenging than anticipated. Sleeping options were fragrant. Fragrance meant a poor night's sleep which forced me to be a passive participant. 
Lessons learned during this trip...
To reduce fragrance exposure, ask hotel for:
  • No pet rooms
  • No smoking rooms
  • High floor
  • Room with balcony door and windows if possible
  • Ask for fragrance-free cleaning products the day of arrival
  • No carpet deodorizers or Febreeze products
  • Open doors or windows all day to air out room for evening arrival
  • Sleep near balcony door with it open if possible
  • Bring your own linens
I brought my own foam topper, king sheets folded in half like a sleeping bag to use between the hotel's sheets, my own pillow, towels, and washcloths. Carrying this stuff in and out was a pain, but better than being covered in fragrance and contaminating the car with "hotel smell." (Stored it all in plastic bags.)

I don't know how to say this tactfully, yet clearly, so I'll blurt it out...with the best of intentions. I wish dog owners would be more considerate of those who are allergic to dogs. There is no such thing as a non-allergenic dog. These days, many hotels are pet friendly. Please, if a hotel says "no pets allowed," please, please, please don't sneak your pet in or force your way in saying "it's a therapy dog." An ADA service animal is not a therapy/emotional support animal. There is a difference. Hotels have designated rooms for guests with ADA service dogs.
Rooms exposed to pets or smoking get extra doses of smelly deodorizers. 
Why is pet exposure such a big deal? Well, allergies and asthma of course, but it's back to the fragrance thing. Normally, I'd just try another hotel if the rooms at one were too fragrant. But because of the prevalence of pets, I'm left with few or no options. Road tripping is no fun if you can't breathe or get a decent night's rest. After leaving California, we encountered smoke odors, too. There are plenty of hotels rooms for everyone. It would be helpful if guests would choose what fits their actual needs. I'm waiting for the Pure Room people to catch up to my advanced pure room needs so I can stay in their rooms.

The payoff for the unpleasant road trip--finally, spending time with family and friends. On a lovely Sunday afternoon three generations gathered for a relaxing paddle down a lazy river. Only fourteen years since the previous visit. I've hugged my mom many times so far!
Morro Bay, California. The sea air was invigorating!

Under a stormy sky in Arizona, Grand Canyon sign marker.

The southwest highways were pleasantly low traffic, but lots of trucks.

A rainbow in the making during or after a hail storm in New Mexico.

Acres of wind turbines on a rainy day on a Texas wind farm.

Memphis, TN. We slept with the balcony door open. Morning dawned and so did city noise.

Why am I always drawn to cemeteries? A hand-carved grave marker in Memphis.
As we drove through Arkansas, I found myself saying, "What a pretty state, it must be lovely to live here." --I wish I'd taken some photos!
Kentucky highway, made by cutting or blasting through rock formation.

Black-painted fences around Thoroughbred horse farm in Lexington, KY.

Statue marking grave of Man o'War, my favorite sports hero.
Road trip 2015!

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