The Presidential Suite

Husband works in Bismarck every Wednesday, 90 miles away from our town. He drives there every Tuesday night and stays in a hotel in Mandan, just across the Missouri River from Bismarck, and 15 minutes from his office. He drives home on Wednesday afternoon.

He has a standing reservation every Tuesday night at a fairly inexpensive, sprawling, older hotel that used to be called the Seven Seas Motor Inn. There is a large statue of a pirate in the lobby. The pirate remains although there is no longer any nautical theme in the hotel. They also serve a good, free breakfast every morning, so Husband can get a quick start to his day of work.

For some reason, even though his reservations are for a standard, one person room, the hotel staff puts him in grander rooms at no extra cost. He doesn’t ask them to. Last week he was in the Presidential Suite, which boasts an office, bedroom, living room, and bathroom with a jacuzzi. The hotel is never full. Husband says every Tuesday night he has been there, a local club has had bean bag toss competitions in one of the larger meeting rooms.

When Husband worked on the Three Affiliated Tribes Reservation, he was housed in a double wide trailer that formerly served as the Women’s Sober House. He certainly has had some interesting digs over the past few years. I am glad his commute, which is the same distance from home, is now on interstate highways and not hilly, oilfield roads.

What have your work commutes been like? What is the grandest hotel you ever stayed in? Which was the worst?

60 thoughts on “The Presidential Suite”

  1. Columbus to Cincinnati. 2 hours one way. Day after day. Lots of NPR. While having my taxes done for that year, the preparer noted lots of Cincinnati local income tax. He asked about documentation for the mileage. I had it from Jiffy Lube. First week in January and another in late November along with many in-between. 38,000
    Because so much of my work was down there, I was able to claim a deduction for the miles. Saved thousands.
    Worst motel was outside Dickinson, ND. I think it was called the Swan. $8.00/night.
    Best hotel was Ritz Madrid, Spain. $350/night

    Liked by 6 people

  2. The blog this morning brought to surface many fun memories. The commute question, well, commutes were never too much fun or note worthy. However, I have stayed at many interesting and unique hotels.

    The first had comes to mind was in Pohnpie Micronesia. The rooms were individual grass huts with a small porch over looking a lush jungle with beautiful flowers and lovely smells. There was a bath with plumbing. The shower was just a pipe sticking up through the ground with one faucet, cold water only. Staying there was so peaceful, restful with gorgeous surroundings.

    Another memorable hotel was in Thailand on the River Kwia. Yes, the River Kwai of WWII fame. Each room was on a raft in the river with a small porch on the river side of room. The room was air conditioned thankfully. Sitting on the porch was a bit warm but the view was perfect. There was working plumbing here too. However the shower drained right into the river. This hotel was a large resort in the jungle away from any city. I think we were the only guests in the hotel at that time. The place was gorgeous with an aviary and large swimming pool. It was all ours.

    I’ve had the chance to stay at five star hotels in Bangkok to grass huts in the middle of the Pacific. I’m not going to forget the small mom and pop motel I stayed in Luverne either.

    Thanks for jogging my deep closet of a memory.

    Liked by 7 people

        1. That’s the second one this week I’m mad with myself for not thinking of.
          The other one was “TIM-BURRRRR!”


  3. Never was a big commuter. First job was either a five minute drive or (after moving to town) a five minute walk. Had a 30+ minute commute from New Hope to Bloomington down Hwy 100 to 494 to 35W for a few months, then moved to Bloomington so that commute was maybe 10 minutes.

    Wife had more commutes. Non were too bad. When we lived in Chicagoland, she commuted to downtown from a NW suburb. One-mile walk to the Metra train, 30-mile train ride, one-mile walk from train station to work. Got her daily exercise in but it was well over an hour each way. Didn’t leave a lot of free time for her on the weekdays but she could at least decompress from work on the way home (or read, or do some work on the train each way). And they allowed drinking on the trains too. 🙂 I don’t think she did that many times, but plenty of folks nursed a beer on the way home.


    The Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, AZ was pretty swanky. Felt out of place every time I was there. But it was wife’s work that held meetings there in January. I tagged along for a mini-winter vacation.

    Probably the overall fanciest was the American Club in Kohler, WI. Not even the most expensive room in the place (we downgraded so I could play golf at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run–two of the greatest courses in the country). But it still had top-of-the-line Kohler plumbing fixtures, gold tiles in the bath, a pedestal king-size bed that featured an inset nightlight running around the underside of the platform. Again, I felt totally out of my comfort zone.

    I don’t recall the worst hotel I ever stayed in. Never went for rock-bottom just to save $5-10. I vaguely remember staying in a Super-8 or something of that level in a dicier neighborhood in the Philadelphia area many years ago. Hotel was fine, but used condoms and needles littered around the nearby transit station were disconcerting.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

        1. I stayed at the American club while I was playing golf at those fancy calder golf courses wonderful courses in a wonderful hotel


  4. ***Another BSP***

    Tomorrow is the always fun Deep Valley Book Festival in downtown Mankato MN from 9:30-3:00. Keynote speaker is author Will Weaver. I’ll be on a mystery writers panel in the morning which looks like it’ll be fun. Somewhere around 50 local and regional authors will be there selling and signing books. Not too early to do some holiday shopping. 🙂 Go to the link below for more details.


    Liked by 3 people

  5. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I think I have had every kind of commute, from urban bussing to rural driving—both on the open prairie and in the North Woods. The scariest commute was I-90 on the open prairie from Sherburn to Fairmont MN in a blizzard, below zero in a VW bug without heat or adequate defrosting. The windshield froze over. So did my feet. There was not a windbreak or tree in sight to protect the road or a car. Uff Da. No urban commute was ever worse than that. My marriage came to an end because it created the financial conditions that allowed me to be so vulnerable in a car that was so inadequate. The Wasband simply did not care as long as he was comfortable.

    Hotels/Motels. There have been many bad ones. Recently there was one in Ankeny Iowa when it was all I could secure due to a youth soccer tournament that filled all the beds in town. Run down, dirty. Ick.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Some of the guest rooms had names, like the Vermeer room. Locals didn’t catch that it was named after the artist, and wondered which of the town’s Vermeer families the room had been named after.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. They were probably related to Paul Vermeer anyway. Those Dutch families are still connected to the Motherland. My High School friend who is Dutch has deep connections like that. She went back to the Netherlands to learn her Dutch costume design trade.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. The best commute I’ve had was when I moved south from San Francisco to El Granada, but still had to drive up to teach for eight months or so before I was able to land a job in the area. I would head west from St. Anne’s of the Sunset about a mile and turn left at Ocean Beach – sometimes I would just park there to unwind. Then drive south on Highway 1, which hugs the coastline – past Daly City, Pacifica (think “Little Boxes on the Hillside” made of ticky-tacky), up over “the hill”, through Devil’s Slide, and come out at Montara. Then just a few more miles to El Granada. It was such a pleasure, except when there was fog…

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I never thought about it, but I’ve never commuted-well yes I have! Kind of. By plane. I don’t suppose I ever went straight to work from the airport, or vice versa.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. One of my instinctive Adeline-induced attitudes is to dislike paying for ambience in restaurant and lodging. Give me a clean room, decent bed, good shower, couple bath towels, temperature control, and I am good. Favorite restaurants in my travels are seafood places in shacks or with a big table with a hole in the middle with a garbage can underneath. Most memorable hotels were in rural Alaska, some surprising luxury ones in Barrow. They booked them, not me. One of favorite restaurants was Pepe’s North of the Border in Barrow.
    OT I live right now in strange netherworld between here and there, lots I could do instead of being on here, but cannot settle. Waiting for county to talk $ with me, but they like everywhere have a huge backlog. Could be another two months. Giving me two months rent free so only paying about $2800 for first two months. Then jumps to $5500. I could move in with her for $1000 more a month but then I would be back to being her caregiver and frankly being around her fellow borders would put me over the edge. Such a sad place.
    Daughter talked me into bone headphones so I could wear them and still hear her. A week later she was gone. Out on patio listening to mix of birds and Chieftains. Nice ambience.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. And commute. Two Harbors to Virginia three days a week for a year. 90 miles one way through forest. Not that bad. Actually important time for me to think through my teacher burnout.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. I’ve walked, cycled and gone by plane. I’ve commuted on motorcycles and tractors, and in cars, vans, busses, and trucks. Not on horseback! And didn’t start work till I was out of my pram. When I lived in on a farm at 16, I had to go through the back door to get to work. Don’t think I ever slid down the banisters to get there. So plenty of ways I HAVEN’T commuted. Oh, and….. this is a Dark and Deadly Secret. I’m going to put it in a separate message, so you can read it and eat it. This must never get out.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is a Dark, Dark, Deadly Secret. If challenged, I will deny it. So I’m trusting everyone to read this message and eat it. Forget it altogether!
    There’s another way I’d like to say I never commuted. But I can’t, because I did! Only once or twice. By Lambretta. Destroy this message!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I have a lot to say about sleazy little motel rooms, for that was what I could afford when I took hunting trips. I especially remember a woebegone operation in Black Duck, Minnesota. Snow blew in through the front door, accumulating to a considerable depth. A sign on the wall said, “Don’t throw cigarette butts in the toilet. We don’t pee in your ashtrays.”

    But I’d rather remember staying in a gorgeous 18th century stone inn we stayed at in Bibury in the British Cotswolds. The Swan Inn was almost too cute to be real. A famous artist once claimed Bibury is the most beautiful village in England. It not only had lovely gardens wrapped around the inn but a trout stream (the River Coln) flowing right by. As guests of the hotel, we were allowed to fish that little river. To get a sense of the place, Google “Swan Hotel Bibury.”

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It was 1974. Gerald Ford was president. We were young and beautiful, dressed like rich people and fishing in a dream landscape. Wood pigeons called out from the nearby trees. We made a big impression on passing British motorists who stopped to take our picture. Somebody had an Afghan hound on a leash. We stroked it a bit, then strolled in to enjoy a remarkable Inn supper. I don’t think I’m cut out to live that way, but for a moment it was delightful.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. I loved the Swan & Bibury!! Stayed there several times as our special treat when we were in UK usually staying in private Bed & Breakfasts. I never felt more relaxed than when sitting in the garden listening to the quacking of the ducks. Also recall the huge trout in the river. One time a young boy carried a large flapping fish up the stairs to show his mother what he caught. Staff that night at dinner made a big presentation of bringing in and serving the fish. Many wonderful foot path walks in the area.


  12. My commute was quite pedestrian – 16 miles one way via 35W, 35E, or 94. And because I worked nights for most of my career, I was commuting home when most folks were going to work.

    Hotels….where do I start? I have stayed in very fancy hotels with lots of marble and glass, which is nice, but I have enjoyed much more my stays in more unique settings. These include tented camps in Kenya (more like glamping), a rustic hotel in Australia with running water only in the early morning and late evening, an ecology camp in Kenya where our “cabin” was more like a hobbit house on steroids and we could hear wildlife calls during the night (and had to call an armed guard to escort us from our cabin to the main lodge if it was dark outside), and the riads in Morocco. On a trip to Patagonia, my roommate had to cancel at the last minute due to a family medical emergency. The single supplement was waived for me so I still got the rooms originally assigned to both of us. In the town of Puerto Natales, Chile, my room was not an official presidential suite but it sure felt like it. The room was gigantic with 2 queen beds, a full size sofa sleeper, 5 large (almost ceiling to floor) windows overlooking Esperanza Sound, a big screen tv, and tons of closet space. When traveling domestically, all I really want is a clean, quiet room at a reasonable price.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Hi-
    For a lot of years, my communte was walking down to the barn and back to the house. All kinds of weather, sometimes in the light, sometimes by the light from the yardlight.
    A handful of other jobs involved driving into town, which in Rochester is always 15 minutes +/-.
    Then it was a theater in Plainview, about 1/2 hour away. That’s a nice drive. A little tough when I had to run home, do chores and milk, then get back for rehearsal.
    And a few jobs up in Minneapolis so that commute was longer…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, and the worst hotel was out in York PA. Black mold in the shower, a suspicious amount of foot traffic to the room across the hall… I didn’t book it myself; I was with family and we figured we’re only staying here one night so… pretty much convinced me to never stay in cheap hotels again.
      I’ve talked before of that one hotel on Whidbey Island WA with the Air Force base runway just off the head of the bed and jets taking off every so often.
      I spent a week there one night.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Best hotel was actually a cabin outside of Estes Park, CO – then (early ’70s) called the Fall River Inn. At the time it was a simple rustic cabin, I don’t remember if there was even a TV or not. As we fell asleep we could hear the rushing of the creek right outside our door. I was there with my folks, and we loved all loved it.

    Works would probably be on my cross country trip to drive the VW van and the cats out to Wasband in Menlo Park, CA. Had no reservation, drove into Winnemucca, NV, at dusk, looked around for the cheapest motel I could find, and it was pretty scuzzy – akin to the aforementioned black mold in the showers… .

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Oh my, what a topic for me. Commute. If you’re talking about regular daily commute I’ve never really had a long one although for about eight months I did work over on the other side of Saint Paul. That took about 25 minutes. If you count commutes to work for my current job I think the longest commute would have to be the one to Cape Town which I did a couple of times.

    Never really stayed in a bad hotel but the hotel I stayed in in China when I went to pick up why he was probably the most frustrating. I think most of it was cross-cultural. But the rug on the floor was so nappy that you had to wear slippers or you get will read fuzz all over the bottom of your feet even walk into the bathroom. Then there was the hot water. They brought hot water in a thermos big thermos twice a day. But then they wouldn’t leave it. So if you needed boiled water in the middle of the day you had to call them and ask for it. This led most of us to hating the thermos in our rooms so that we could have it during the day. And trying to explain about the warm beer versus cold water on the table for every meal would take too long. Suffice it to say I was very glad to come home.

    Best hotels. I wouldn’t even know how to start. Warm tiled floors at MeadowWood on Napa, fire in my little cabin in Kenya that literally burned all night, outside lava showers on the Big Island, walk out plunge pool in Playa Del Carmen, view of the mountains in Peru… many many more. My job has been very good to me over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I also rode by train to a couple of jobs one time, when I was banned from driving. (Before Jane, my vehicles and associated paperwork were almost always in a sad state. If they weren’t, I’d soon fix it so they were.)
    My worst commute was when I’d sold my car for some reason I forget, and was relying on my 500 Enfield to get me there. That bike was a continuing soap opera, and wasn’t going to be up to the job. I don’t remember why that was either. Which particular episode, I mean. I’ve blanked out as many episodes as I can. Jane very subtly had suggested that if the bjke wouldn’t go, I get get what the English kids call a Twist and Go. Is that what you call them? I hope so, because I don’t want to describe them. I don’t want to think about them. I’m a rocker.
    I really didn’t know what to do. Then someone had a replica of a Honda Fifty for sale. You know, the all time biggest selling motorcycle? They were NOT Rocker’s machines. They were for large families in Korea to ride round on, the whole family at once. I think in those photos you see, they’ve airbrushed out the tractor in front of it, pulling it along. I thought, the shame of being seen on that would be slightly less. Was I wrong. At least a Twist and Go has six times the power of an Enfield, rather than one sixth. It means you spend less time out on the road, suffering the ridicule of the general public. More time to seek out somewhere around the corner from the workplace, where you can hide the thing. Another thing about the slowness of the fifty is that there was hardly time to get home before it was time to go to work again. Not the worst year of my life.
    Well, yes, it was. And I haven’t told you all of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. No time left to talk about hotels. That’s lucky, because I’ve got nothing much to say about the few I’ve stayed in. They seemed OK. Favourite is the Portsmouth – Santander ferry. Drive on, eat, then sleep for twenty or thirty hours to avoid seasickness, eat again, drive off. I enjoy it for some reason, but don’t do it anymore, as I’ve no reason to drive back to England.
    We stayed in the Heartbreak Hotel, opposite Graceland, for two or three nights on Honeymoon. Must have been OK, don’t remember much about it.
    Jane loves hotels, I’m not bothered really.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I’ve talked previously about the worst place we stayed—the hunting outpost/survivalist camp 40 miles on a dirt road from the nearest small town in western Colorado called Groundhog. The catalog of horrors is too long to go into again and I can’t find the previous post.

    When I worked in advertising they would always put me up in nice hotels, like the Drake or the Continental Hilton in Chicago or comparable places in Los Angeles. I have to say those stays were entirely forgettable.

    The most memorable places were not grand but were unexpectedly charming or quirky—the Mudd’s B&B in Killin, Scotland, for example or the Loch Duich Hotel in Dornie, Scotland, with castle Eilean Donan right outside our bedroom window, or Nan McKinnon’s place in Portree on the Isle of Skye. Musician Phil Cunningham had recommended her place to us. We exchanged letters with her for several years after that.

    Before we had kids, we stayed a couple of times at the Rittenhouse Inn in Bayfield. Bayfield in those days surprisingly didn’t have a lot going on but the Rittenhouse was charming and relaxing and the food was excellent.

    On the whole, we’ve had good luck with Air B&B. We always look for hosts or settings that seem likely to be interesting. Certainly more memorable than a Super 8.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Two best hotels and tourist hotels my favorite hotel was the Hyatt in Bangkok it was $140 a night and it was the nicest hotel I’ve ever stadium I went down to have breakfast and saw that they had a massage and thought that I would check into that and found out it was $140 an hour for a massage so I went down the road and found a place where they did a two-hour foot massage for two dollars or a two hour body massage for six dollars I did that three days in a row
    The first day they didn’t have a body massage available for another four hours so I asked if they had anything available that I could get while I was waiting for my body massage and they said yeah she could get foot massage so I got four hours a foot massage they cost a total of four dollars and the six dollar body massage for a total of $10 and that was 5 1/2 hours of massage I was in heaven

    Second hotel was before they tore down the sans the guy that I used to work with was quite a gambler and we had a suite similar to the one that you think of in the rain man where are you had a upper level and a lower level with three bedrooms upstairs and the master bedroom off to the side and a full living room dining room kitchen with a panoramic view of the city and I was instructed to order all the food that we would need for the weekend including whiskey wine chips she’s nuts burritos whatever came to mind

    worst hotel was in Amsterdam I thought it was going to be cute and ended up going up three flights of spiral staircases to a little 6‘ x 4‘ room that included the stairway and the bed and the bed was really infested with bedbugs that bit severely but I was so tired I was able to get some sleep the other worst hotel was Jan Alabama and it was a brand new cottage style shut up where I had my own cottage I thought it was gonna be great it was a big tongue and groove cedar plank
    Rustic cottage but the bedbugs were so bad that I had to go out and sleep on the porch on patio cushions in order to get away from the bedbugs they were all over the house on the couch in the mattresses I had multiple mattresses to choose from and they all had them

    I had lots of other wonderful experiences I stayed at the Marco polo hotel in Hong Kong numerous occasions enough times that they would upgrade me and two beautiful palatial suites stayed in very cool accommodations in Germany and in Turkey and then Italy and I also stayed in some flea bags in Wisconsin oh memorable one that I forgot was the Las Vegas hotel that was $35 a nightAnd turned out to be me and hookers were the only people using the place I wasn’t aware of it until the morning when the cab driver came by to pick me up and asked me if I was there was a hooker I should know are there hookers there he said yeah you mean they went to do a room to sleep nobody ever sleep so that’s all just hookers was an interesting part of town I believe they tore the hotel down to build a new football stadium right after I left

    Been a long day as it’s obvious when I’m putting my post in at 2 o’clock in the morning I’ll get back in read the rest of them tomorrow I got to read the first 10 or 15 and I’ll catch up in the morning thanks for starting out October with a fun one Renee looking forward to the next 30

    Liked by 1 person

  20. “The nicest hotel I’ve ever stadium,” I love that. Was that the stadium they built where the hooker hotel used to be?


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