There is a dreaded part of each day. We’ve filmed or driven or edited at a coffee shop all day, and its time to find a place to stay. When we were planning this trip we thought “oh, we’ll camp all the time!” Ha. We have only camped 3 times on this trip — as we didn’t account for the vast amount of work we would be doing each night and therefore didn’t realize how dependent we would be on a good internet connection and three pronged wall plugs. We do have the pleasure of staying with friends or with the subjects of our films from time to time. Mirra and I stayed separately in the “boys” and “girls” rooms at a Mennonite home in Ohio; we stayed in a cave in a canyon in Utah; we lived it up on Martha’s Vineyard for a night; and we roughed it in a bed bug ridden South Dakota Reservation home. It has been a wonderfully mixed bag. But those situations are always the good ones; it’s when you have to find a hotel that it becomes challenging.
This inevitably comes down to Mirra driving towards our destination while I google “motel, such and such town.” There is of course Econo Lodge, Motel 6, Best Western… reviews range from the horrible “my mother died in this crack den” to the slightly more positive “run down, but seemed pretty clean.” It sucks. But the worst part is you drive through a cute town like Asheville where we are now, past the places that are homey and close to real life… and into the strip mall. Perhaps the ugliest places in America are where we are spending half of our nights. Endless parking lots, Arbys, Wal Mart… these are our neighbors as we sleep. But its the affordable (and semi-clean) option. Enough moping. Tonight we are staying in a “green” bed and breakfast, because when we passed through Asheville and pulled up at our generic hotel across the street from a highway – I said “hell no”. We are going to pay the extra $25 to stay at a place that is not soul crushing. Who knows what small town Alabama will bring… we’re looking forward to it.