Usually when Hubby and I drive to/from Pennsylvania, the goal is to get there and back as quickly as humanly possible. The only stops allowed are bathroom and coffee breaks (usually in the opposite order) and we stop for the night in Knoxville at the Red Roof Inn. As an informative aside, all Red Roof Inns accept pets. There are no stops at interesting roadside attractions; we've driven by enormous statues of dinosaurs in the middle of nowhere without stopping to capture the image. I have whined about this more than once. I've made the drive to PA three or four times and made note of different places I would like to visit one day when we're not flying by at 90 miles an hour. Imagine my surprise then, when this year Hubby suggested that we take the scenic mountain road for part of our journey back from his folks. "YES! YES!! YES!!!" So, up a very, very curvy little two lane road with no guardrails we creeped. When we reached the summit, the scene was amazing. We stopped at several of the scenic overlooks to take pictures, but even just driving through the forest was stunning. So beautiful and serene. When you're looking off the top of a mountain at the valleys below, it's easy to believe that we live in a simpler time. The detour was fantastic and I love, love, love Hubby for suggesting it.
Knoxville is not exactly the halfway point between Allentown and Houston. It's a little to the Pennsylvania side of the map. We normally stop there because it gets most of our driving done the first day of our trip on the way up. We noticed there was a Red Roof Inn in Chattanooga (as we were flying by at 90 miles an hour) on the way up this year and decided that would be our stop on the way back home. There's an hour and a half drive from Knoxville to Chattanooga, so we figured that would help balance out the second day of driving. The Red Roof Inn in Knoxville is very nice. The rooms are very large, usually including a desk and sitting area. The Red Roof Inn that we evacuated to when we were running from Hurricane Ike was the same way. So, I guess we figured all Red Roof Inns fit this bill. Oops. When we checked into our hotel, we were very happy to get a first floor room (when traveling with dogs, ALWAYS try to get a first floor room), but were shocked when we got into our room. It was TINY! The king bed took up the whole room. The "sitting area" consisted of a bistro table and two chairs with stains and tears in the upholstery. The wallpaper was peeling everywhere, the carpet turned my socks black, it was just disgusting. We stayed anyway cuz it was late and we were tired, but it was really surprising to us. Guess we'll continue to use Knoxville as our stop. :-) In the pic of the room - that's the smoke detector on top of the TV...don't ask, I don't know why it's there.