Guest Blatherings....
Vic & Helen Paladini

Over Night Accommodations (another possibility) I enjoyed Deryle's February 2000 "Blatherings From The Editor" about finding a place to rest one's weary body after a day of riding. Most motorcyclists have a love of adventure, are people-oriented, and enjoy the opportunity to discover this marvelous world and "what's down the road from here …

My wife and I therefore really enjoy the accommodations of Hostelling International (HI). HI is an organization that has over 250 places to stay in North America - many of them very unique and the price is right, usually $8 to $24 a night. No, you don't have to sleep with a dozen guys in a dorm-style room, unless you want to. Over the past thirty years of touring I have stayed at dozens and dozens of hostels - both here and in Europe. Most are very distinctive!

Desertaire Hostel is a group of travel trailers next to Death Valley National Monument and it has a forty-foot high, flat topped water tower for an open-air lounge!

On the California coast, Pigeon Point Lighthouse is an actual working lighthouse with a hostel next to it. What is there to do there? Well, your only 150 feet from the ocean, 300 feet from the beach, it has a hot tub, during the season, gray whales travel past the hostel on their annual migration, and it's a whopping $12 a night!

In Canada, my wife and I stayed at the Kamloops, BC hostel. The hostel, formally a courthouse built in 1904, has been renovated but retains much of its original character. You can dine in the old courtroom, sit at the judges' bench, relax in the jury seats, or do your own cooking in the former jury deliberation room (now a kitchen.) At $15 a night it really beats sleeping in a KOA, with RV generators running all night, at $25 + a night!!

Hostels are GREAT because most of them now have what they call a "family room", which is a private room. If you have never ridden the Icefield Parkway in central British Columbia you are missing a fantastic tour past nine glaciers. And yes, at the northern end of the Parkway is the town of Jasper, which has another hostel. Like 99% of the worlds hostels, it's not age-restricted and does have equipment storage, kitchen, laundry room, common area with TV, library, walking tours from the hostel, fireplace, and something I like the most - the exuberance of being around care-free, adventurous, young adults who have lots of information about the area, things to see, and what they want to do in life!

Is Europe your destination? No problem … 2,500 more hostels! I have a secret - all of Western Europe's hostel personnel speak English and really know their surroundings to guide you on what to see and do! We stayed in hostels in Germany and rode high triple digits (mph) on the Autobahn and toured the BMW factory, hostels in Austria and rode the Alps & Dolomites (Italian Alps), hostels in Italy and experienced Venice, Rome, & Florence, and we never spent more than $39 a night! Discounts? Hostel members have discounts like no travel agent ever has. At last count over 5,000 discounts are available to hostellers. Car rentals, walking and museum tours, ferry tickets, railway passes, restaurants, festivals, and much more. Interested? You start by joining Hostelling International / American Youth Hostels at www.hiayh.org or call their Washington, D. C. office (202) 783-6161. Rates are $25 a year for an adult, it's well worth the yearly membership, and it allows you to use any of the 5,000 hostels in 60 counties. HI publishes a free guide to Hostelling North America and another for the European continent.

Finally, many hostels now accept advance reservations (and yes Deryle, they take credit cards) through their IBN (International Booking Network), which was specifically developed for hostellers.

Obviously, I like hostels. I think you will to and I guarantee that you'll save money on lodging! If you see a couple of BMW's in front of a hostel it's a good bet that you'll be lodging with friendly people. Enjoy the adventure. We do!  

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