Wednesday, July 30, 2008


A top ten story

Chris has referred to Sharon & my trip to New England as a top 10 story, or one that he has heard many times. So, I thought, why not repeat it.

I was at a week long conference in Boston during mid October in the early 80's. These "conferences" were really just a way of rewarding us rather than giving us a good salary increase. Our family vacations had always been to the rocky mountain region so this was my first trip to New England. I had always heard about the fall colors in New England, so I called Sharon and asked if she would like to come up Friday morning, we could rent a car and just drive for a couple of days.

The road trip didn't start out well, we were told to drive to chocolate factory, catch the freeway and drive north. We drove until we spotted the chocolate factory but couldn't seem to get it or the freeway...we kinda circled the factory several times before stopping and getting new directions. We finally made it to the Interstate and in a couple of hours we were in New Hampshire. The trees were beautiful. Sharon said it looked like a quilt. We kept driving and were soon in Vermont. Late afternoon, we started trying to find a motel or hotel for the night. This was before cell phones, so we reverted to the old method of stopping at a motel, asking for a room and if they didn't have one, where is the nearest motel where we could find a room. They all kinda laughed and told us we were in the middle of peak fall colors, every room had been booked for months. we kept driving wondering what we were going to do, sleep in the car?

We passed a building that had a sign, "Romey Inn Depot" We stopped and asked if they had a room...looking around we knew they probably didn't because the entire building was under construction. They were converting the Romey Depot into a bed and breakfast. We were delighted to hear that they had finished one room and they would rent it to us. They also told us the construction workers were staying in the other unfinished rooms because of the remote location. Relieved, we paid in advance and drove off to find some place to eat.

We returned just after dusk and went up to our room on the 2nd floor. It was not fancy, but clean and the bed was comfortable. We had just drowsed off when all hell broke loose. The workers were having a drunken brawl. We heard glass breaking, shouting, cursing and it even sounded as if furniture was being splintered. Periodically, we would hear people running up the stairs, past our room and on to the third floor. Then they would run back down the stairs to the party area on the first floor...always right past our door. I looked out our window for an escape route...there was none. I took the strap off my camera in case I needed some form of a weapon in case our door came crashing in. Then we heard "I'm going to kill you"...someone running up the stairs with someone chasing, then back down. Sometime later, we heard a car start and I looked out the window to see the car speed off. Another car than sped off after the first car. Thankfully, everything got quite, it was after 4:00 AM. At first light, Sharon and I crept down the stairs to get out of there. We went past what was to be the lobby and someone was sweeping up broken beer bottles. We didn't speak, just got out of there.

We had a very early start so we still headed north. We made it to southern Maine before turning back south toward Boston. We were still young enough that the two or three hours of sleep let us truly enjoy the coastal scenery of northern New England. We had a very good lobster roll in what was probably in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Because of the "No Vacancy" we had experienced the night before, we started looking for a room very early, just after noon. Same thing at motel after motel, this is the peak season, no rooms available. We got back to Boston around dusk. We thought that would be our best bet. Same thing in Boston. Several motel told us the best bet would be to drive several hundred miles west and hope to find something there. We were now very tired. Sharon said we might as well go to the airport and try to get on a "red eye" as standby. They still had "red eyes" in those days. If worse came to worse, we could always sleep at the airport and get a flight out the next day. That would be better than sleeping in the car.

We were the last two passengers called to board an Eastern flight for Houston. The route to Houston was not exactly "as the crow flies". We made a mail stop in Columbus, Ohio. We finally got to Houston around 4:00 or 5:00 AM, totally exhausted. We were so tired, we could not even make it home. We stayed at a Holiday Inn at the airport

All in all, it was worth it. We saw some beautiful fall colors, some very old New England structures, including the Romey Inn Depot.

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