2011 Lodging
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For the sake of completeness, we document everything about our trips, including the various lodging establishments we patronize.  Over the years, we have stayed in about a half-dozen different motels in Las Cruces.  Our goal every year is to combine convenience with price.  This year we found, really quite by accident, probably the best lodging we have ever encountered.

We needed lodging in two cities this year, Flagstaff, for our Grand Canyon visit, and Las Cruces, of course, for our stay at the contest.  Our Flagstaff needs are minimal.  A cheap place to stay as we'll be there at most two nights and will not spend much time at the hotel itself.  Over the years, we have stayed mostly in Flagstaff, but last year we stayed in Williams, and one year each we stayed just outside the park entrance (2008) as well as actually at one of the Grand Canyon inns, the Maswik Lodge, in 2009.

Our Flagstaff base of operations turned out to be a Rodeway Inn that we have stayed at before, although it was under a different name at the time, Super 8.  But it was the same place.  Relatively clean, and for less than $50 per night, how can we complain.

As far as our Las Cruces lodging, this year's search, as it does every year, started out innocently enough.  We were scouring the various websites, looking for cheap lodging, and we came across a motel that was a member of the America's Best Value Inn chain.  We've never stayed at one of these, and we had no particular reason to prefer this motel over any other.  But we noticed an unusually high number of very good reviews about this particular motel on sites like TripAdvisor.com.  Advertised rates were about $50 per night per room, which was very good in our experience, so we made a reservation.  We could not have been more pleasantly surprised nor better treated.  We highly recommend this motel if you need lodging in Las Cruces.

 

 
Yep, it's a Rodeway Inn.  It featured a continental breakfast that was mostly little donuts or breakfast cereal, but it was food.  On the right is us loading up to leave for Las Cruces on Saturday.  If there are two more stimulating photos than these on the planet, I can't imagine what they are.
     
     
     
 
On the left is a promotional postcard for where we stayed, the America's Best Value Inn.  The owners had purchased an out-of-business Economy Inn several years earlier and were slowly restoring it.  The interior courtyard was well done with a swimming pool, a variety plants and rock gardens, and several barbecue areas where guests could have their own cookouts.  We when we arrived at the motel, we were greeted very warmly and with plates of chips and salsa.  That's all the students needed to know.
     
 
Early evening view of the exterior of the motel   More of the courtyard area.
     
     
Demonstrating that they are not without a sense of humor, the owners created this "sinking garden" using bathroom sinks that they had removed from the rooms as they went about the motel's renovation.  We had a string of five rooms on the second floor, and this was the view directly below.