Friday, July 27, 2012

Lesson Reminded: Never make a hotel reservation on a road trip earlier than the day of

Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village
Princeton, NJ

Last-minute gala invitation + hotel reservation 4 hours away + major rainstorm = a very hectic drive.

Around 9pm last night, donning a bright blue cocktail dress, I raced out of DC's Capital Hilton with luggage in car to make an ambitious 4-hour drive to Princeton where I had made a hotel reservation to take advantage of a Starwood special to get bonus SPG points while on my way to Upstate New York. I love taking my time on road trips and I love making my travel points along the way. [Insert Up in the Air comment here.]

I was originally planning on leaving DC in the afternoon, or at worst, early evening, so even a 10pm arrival would be decent (I guess I wasn't planning on touring around the New Jersey Turnpike area too much). However, a few days ago, I ran into a friend who invited me to the International Leadership Forum & CAABO Gala where he'd be presenting an award. Of course, I couldn't say no. I figured I could just leave early, but you know how these social schmoozing events go. So I avoided the wine and doubled the coffee.

My GPS projected a 1am arrival. Ugh! But I knew I could do it. It happened before when I was in South Dakota and made the mistake of reserving the Sheraton in Sioux Falls, which happened to be across the state (I learned next time to look at a map before making reservations!) from Mount Rushmore, which I didn't leave until around 7pm. I'll finish up my post about that crazy day another time.

Distant lightning flashed in the DC sky while driving up north on 16th. I hoped it'd remain as distant as the storm traveled east. Weather reports said it'd miss DC, but of course I didn't look to see what it'd do to Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. And then I found out: strong winds, blinding rain and crazy, agressive drivers. Passing Baltimore, then Philadelphia and even Trenton, I started to regret not being able to just pull over to some random hotel by the freeway. The things you do for points.

I made it to the hotel just as the storm had passed around 12:30. I can't imagine how quickly I could have made it if weather conditions were actually favorable. Let's up they're gone as I make my way up north right now.

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