Category Archives: Lodging and Overstay

Super 8

Super 8 Motels
~ Worldwide ~

I’ve spent many nights at the Super 8 – some locations are amazing, others can be seedy. It depends on the city and the manager, neighborhood, and environment. They are one of the world’s largest budget hotel chains – with motels throughout the United States, Canada, and China. They are part of the Wyndham Worldwide chain. The chain was started by Dennis Brown in 1972 alongside his partner Ron Rivett in 1973. They started renting rooms for $8.88/night which gave name to “Super 8”. The first motel was in Aberdeen South Dakota, hosting 60 rooms in 1974. It had a stucco exterior with an English Tudor style inspired by Rivett’s father-in-law who did stucco construction for a living, the remaining architecture was created by Rivett. Through the years they kept the English Tudor style as well as locating themselves near Holiday Inn’s as a marketing strategy. The first franchise was sold in 1976 in Gillette, Wyoming. They broke out of the Midwest in 1978 opening up in New York and Washington State. In 1976 they created a VIP club program which was later purchased by Hospitality Franchise Systems, then Cendant in 1993. This was dissolved in 2003 and replaced by TripRewards converting to Wyndham Rewards in 2008. By 2014 they had over 2,390 hotels. They opened their first hotel in China during 2004 in Beijing. They offer their guests standard amenities including free WiFi, a continental breakfast, hair dryers, coffee makers, laundry, and a lobby. Some locations have pools and meeting rooms, while some of the larger Super 8’s have restaurants.

Locations I’ve visited:

  • Lincoln City, Oregon: 3517 N, US-101, Lincoln City, OR 97367; (541) 996-9900. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. This location has a fabulous tourism placement across from a public beach. Its a rather small building and hotel with few rooms. Its less than a mile from the Chinook Winds casino. They have mini-fridges and microwaves in the room, coin laundry, free coffee, truck parking, and a small conference room. Its located along Highway 101.

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Backpackers – Crown Hotel

Glastonbury Backpackers at the Crown Hotel
~ 4 Market Pl, Glastonbury, England BA6 9HD, UK +44 1458 833353 ~

Currently Closed. The summer of 2011 I visited this indifferent hostel and stayed a couple of nights. While staff were friendly they were short and seemed too busy to handle guests. The Price however at the time was decent and it fulfilled my needs. I did not completely feel safe there at the time and it may have been a location where my internet use was hacked and one of my credit cards compromised causing much frustration and necessities to save loss of funds.

Within a 16th-century coaching Inn above a local pub called “The Crown”, this was a popular backpacker’s hostel with budget twins, doubles, and dorms – some en suite with male and femal dorms, and six private rooms. Most of the rooms have showers and toilets, others are shared.

It is a popular cheap lodging option for those visiting Glastonbury and quite over-accomodated during festivals and events. The bar below is lively and hosts DJ’s, music, and events. Closed down and proclaimed closed permanently in July 2016. A January 2018 article states it might re-open summer of 2018.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Mission Inn (Riverside, CA)

Historic Mission Inn
~ Riverside, California ~

Along Highway 395 and the Riverside Downtown/Street Mall is the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa one of Riverside’s most notable Historic Landmarks. It boasts numerous architectural styles but is considered the largest Mission Revival Style Building in the United States. It is currently owned by Duane and Kelly Roberts. Originally it began as a Adobe style boarding house called the “Glenwood Cottage” built by engineer Christopher Columbus Miller on November 22, 1876. The Hotel was purchased by their son in February 1880 and created a full-service hotel by the early 1900’s taking advantage of the Citrus boom, warm weather, and wealthy travelers coming to the area from the East Coast and Europe. In 1902 it was re-named “Glenwood Mission Inn” and that was when various architectural styles were incorporated into its style based on Miller’s vision for eclectic structure drawn from various revivals, influences, and styles including Spanish Gothic, Mission Revival Style, Moorish Revival, Spanish Colonial Style, Spanish Colonial Revival, Renaissance Revival, and Mediterranean Revival Style. The hotel is complicated and intricately built with narrow passageways, exterior arcades, a medieval style clock, a five story rotunda, patios, windows, castle towers, minareets, a Cloister Wing with catacombs, flying buttresses, Mediterranean domes, and a pedestrian sky bridge. Miller was also a world explorer and over thirty years of ownership brought back treasures from around the world to add into the hotel.

The St. Francis Chapel has four large stained glass windows and two original mosaics created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1906 that were salvaged from the Madison Square Presbyterian Church. The “Rayas Altar” is in Mexican Baroque style sitting 25 feet tall x 16 feet width made of cedar and covered in gold leaf. There is a Garden of Bells with over 800 bells from all over the world including one dating to 1247. In 1932 he opened the St. Francis Atrio hosting the “Famous Fliers Walls” commemorating notable aviators including Amelia Earheart. Today it has 151 fliers honored on the wall.

After Frank died in 1935 the Inn was run by his daughter and her husband Allis and Dewitt Hutchings. They died in 1956 and from thence forward saw various ownership changes including some of the rooms converted to apartments and used for dorms at UC Riverside. It was almost purchased from St. John’s College for a western campus but lost the bid when John Gaw Meem donated them land in Santa Fe. It was then acquired by the Carley Capital Group and saw massive renovations in 1985. In December 1992 it was sold to Duane Roberts who completed the renovations and reopened it to the public. Today it offers a hotel, spa, outdoor pool, museum, and fine dining. They now host annually a Festival of lights, Pumpkin stroll, and Ghost walks.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Fossil Motel and RV Park (Fossil, Oregon)

Fossil Motel and RV Park
~ 105 First Street, Fossil, Oregon 97830 * (541) 763-4075 * http://www.fossilmotelandrvpark.com/ ~

We visited end of summer 2016 and found it ok. It bills itself as a “Classic 1950’s Motor Court-Style Motel
Just off the historic Oregon Scenic Byway, Journey Through Time in Fossil, Oregon”. It is conveniently located for a short walk into Fossil and walking distance from the Fossil beds. The rooms are average, basic, and worn. The “RV Park” is an open field and extension cords have to be run around the place to get power to your “site”. It is a bit run-down. There is a single shower/bathroom for the campers that is located in the back of a laundry room with tight spaces, cold water (couldn’t get hot when i used it) and not very clean. The showers and bathrooms in the rooms are much better. Fossil doesn’t have many options so its really not much to complain about in that regard. It’s quiet and basic. There is a large meadow bordering the RV field with horses and a playground/courts on the other side. Managerial staff is nice but fussy. There are 7 rooms and about 10 camping spots/RV. WiFi signal was ok but lost connection a lot.

Rated: 2 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Horses in the fields at Fossil Motel and RV Park

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Bridge Creek Flora Inn, Fossil, Oregon

Bridge Creek Flora Inn – A Haunted B&B
~ Fossil, Oregon ~

History: This Inn was built in 1905 and was a homestead operating as an early bed and breakfast Inn. There is a haunting tale of a farmer and his wealthy lover who bound themselves together through life and death. The lover was told by her family she was not allowed to marry the farmer so she took her life by falling to her death from the third floor. Many report seeing her in the window staring down into the street. The townsfolk blamed the farmer for her death and hung him on the tree in front of the inn. Some locals report seeing someone hanging from the tree late at night. Some report hearing hoof beats of his abandoned horse along the main street of thet own. The location is no longer called the Bridge Creek Flora Inn and has been renamed to potentially hide from this legend and spook-lore.

There is a theory that this is the former Inn:

Possible haunted bed and breakfast. is this the old bridge creek flora inn? (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=27397) Fossil, Oregon (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=27373). Volcanic Legacy: Chronicle 25 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Oregon. Photos taken August 2, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21521. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

More information: https://www.oregonhauntedhouses.com/real-haunts/hotels.aspx

Rated: Unrated of 5 stars. This location has not been visited nor reviewed as of last update. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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To Tip or Not To Tip: That is the question – Tipping

To Tip or Not To Tip – That is the Question of the Day

by Leaf McGowan / Technogypsie Productions

I’ve always been on the border about “tips”, “gratuity”, and “tipping”. I never in my younger years saw it as “required”, “mandatory”, or “expected”. Even when i was a bartender I never expected it nor thought I should get it. After all I was just doing my job and I was paid a fare wage for it. It was nice to get a tip when it happened (and it happened often), i just saw it as a “hey thanks for doing an exceptional job”. Its true I was brainwashed by regulars to recognize them as good tippers and pouring extra liquor or giving them extra attention because I knew they tipped. But I was fair to all. I always saw it as a practice to thank a worker for being extra nice, going out of their way, or high performance. I wouldn’t tip someone who did a poor job. But these days, you’re expected if not required to tip a service worker regardless of doing a good job. The percentages have raised from the normal 10% to 15% to 18% and 20% in some cases. Really? That’s not only obnoxious, but criminal. The criminality of tipping, no tipping, less than minimum wages, etc. didn’t sink in until I became a delivery driver and experienced first hand the angst and stress than a customer who doesn’t tip causes a worker … especially when it affects their livlihood, wear and tear on their vehicle, or when that tip teeters the ability to cover the gas it took to deliver said food.

When my ex-family member became rapid about no tippers as she works in the food industry, it was definitely a flag seeing how hostile she got on the topic. It was definitely a clash between us. I tried to explain to her my thoughts about it, how it was meant as a gift for exceptional service, and that it should never be expected. In fact, many countries find the act offensive and many foreigners don’t do it. She shouldn’t get hostile on a bunch of Germans at her table who don’t tip her. They might not know the American custom or requirement. But she would just get seething angry. It was that seething anger and dishonesty in her persona that made her my ex-family member in the long run.

But she’s no different than many in the service industry – if you don’t tip or are a poor tipper, you can easily become the scum at the bottom of a barrel and seen as a disgusting, unappreciative, vile individual. There are servers and delivery personnel who have been known to create databases recording your details so others can avoid you, or worse yet, target you for pranks, discrimination, or mean revenge. It really is a problem. Some pizza joints have been known to have comments and notes about customers who don’t tip. The common thought is that if you are a bad tipper for any reason other than bad service then you are stealing from the server and are consequently a thief so should be held up to public ridicule. So various staff have made facebook databases, web sites, and public forums “outing” the bad or no tippers, sometimes including their names, addresses, and/or phone numbers obtained from delivery apps, receipts, or credit card slips. Even if there are no physical databases active on the web, darkweb, or a businesses’ computer system … there certainly are mental notes and staff who will remember your face, name, or address and may avoid serving you or giving you proper service. Its always best to be safe and tip – be considerate of the individual who is serving you. There is the Uber Eats drivers forum on “No Tip for Food Delivery? Boycott them.”; Badtippers.com (currently down); the Lousy Tipper database; NFIB – Should you publically shame a bad tipper?; Shitty Tipper Database; Lousytippers.com (currently down); https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/aug/17/the-website-which-names-lousy-tippers; the Shitty shitty tipper database; Bad Tippers Suck; and Bitter Waittress.

Then there is the facts that suggest tipping was born out of racism. Should you not tip because it was originally a racist act? Certainly not – because you’re not hurting the industry that is the wrong-doer, you are hurting the server/driver/staff that is struggling on less than minimum wages their employer are giving them with expectation that your tips will make up the additional missing income. This is detrimental to those workers and really damages their livelihoods, especially in America and the tourism industry. Unfair? certainly. The only way this can change is to attack the industry and get companies to pay their employees proper fair wages.

So what exactly is a tip? or gratuity? Gratuity is another term for “tip” which is a certain amount of money that someone “gifts” to another for excellent service. It is additional funds above and beyond the fees or pricing for a item, service, and/or food. It has become a custom in many of the world’s countries. In some places its simply just the extra change to round up to the nearest dollar amount, other times it is a sizable sum often left on the table to thank the server and/or staff. The amounts that people give varies from country to country, and in some countries it is considered insulting. Other countries discourage it. Some countries require it. Originally it became 10%, and more recently has increased to 15-20% of the bill’s total. Some employees are prohibited from tipping if paying for food or services on government payments – government workers in some areas would break the law if they tipped. Unfortunately the practice has become an important part of the income for various service workers like servers, bartenders, delivery drivers, uber/lyft/taxi drivers – and failing to tip the can be a detrimental effect on their livelihood. This is very common in North America. Some restaurants will automatically add a service charge/tip on the bill especially when there is a large party at a restaurant.

In most places, it is illegal for government workers to not only give tips, but to receive them as it can be seen as bribery. For companies that promote tipping such as restaurants, the owners see the act of “tipping” as a incentive for greater work effort. Some abuse the custom by paying lower wages to their employees expecting the tips to make up for the difference. This is where the process has become criminal and abusive of the lower class in the United States. It is in this regard that tipping expected or not, is actually quite arbitrary and discriminatory, adversely affecting livelihoods and lives. It has been proven that amounts of tips can vary based on age, sex, race, hair color, breast size, color of skin, and appearance rather than quality of service.

The etymology for “tipping” and “gratuity” dates to the 1520’s from “graciousness” or the French “gratuite” in the 14th century. The Medieval Latin “gratuitas” or “free gift” or “money given for favor or services”. The practice appears to have begun around 1600 C.E. and was meant as a “small present of money”. It was first attested in 1706 according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. It was first practiced in Tudor England. By the 17th century it was expected that overnight guests in private homes should provide sums of money called “vails” to the host’s servants. This spread to customers tipping in London coffeehouses and commercial establishments. London in the 1890’s also had “crossing sweepers” who cleared the way in the roads for rich people to cross so that they wouldn’t diry their clothes, and they were tipped for this action.

Etymological differences in various languages can also translate the terminology to “drink money” such as “pourboire” in French, “trinkgeld” in German, “drikkepenge” in Danish, and “napiwek” in Polish coming from the custom of inviting a servant to drink a glass in honor of the guest and paying for it to show the guests generosity amongst one another.

Customs in varous Countries:

Africa/Nigeria: not common at upscale hotels and restaurants because the service charge is usually included in the bill although the employees don’t usually get any of it … this has been changing as establishments have begun to coerce customers to tip in the Western world manner even to the manner that there have been reports of security guards asking bank patrons for tips.

Asia: China – there is no tipping. Some hotels that serve foreign tourists will allow it, especially tour guides and drivers. Hong Kong – tipping is not expected at hotels or restaurants because a service charge of 10% is already added to the bill, but taxi drivers sometimes charge the difference between a fare and round sum as a courtesy fee so as not to make change for larger bills. Japan – tipping is very discouraged and seen as an insult (unless masked in an envelope). It also has created confusion. Indonesia – common in large touristy areas like Bali or Lombok where there are a lot of Western visitors. 10% is expected at full-service restaurants, and bar tipping is discretionary depending on the style of the bar. Pubs don’t expect tips, restaurants 10-15%, massage parlors 10-20%, taxi drivers 5%, bellboys $1 a bag. Malaysia – tipping is not expected, restaurants often add a 10% service charge, and if tips are left it is accepted and appreciated, but often is just rounding up. South Korea – not customary nor expected and can be seen as inappropriate behavior. Hotels and restaurants often add on a 10-15% service charge already embedded into the bill. Singapore – not practiced and rarely expected, though bars, restaurants, and some other establishments add in a 10% service charge compounded with the 7% goods and services tax – the staff rarely receive any of this. Taiwan – Not customary but all mid-high end restaurants and hotels have a mandatory 10% service charge which is not given to staff and made out as revenue to the business.

Europe: Tipping started in the United Kingdom and spread throughout, but not all parts of Europe accept it, some will be offended by it. Albania – It is expected everywhere and performance will vary based on requests for tips. Tips of 10% of the bill is customary in restaurants, and while porters, guides, and chauffeurs expect tips – duty-free alcohol is usually the best tip for porters and bellhops, but others may find it offensive (such as Muslims). Croatia – tips are sometimes expected in restaurants, but not mandatory and are often 3-5% of the bill. Clubs and cafe its common to round up the bill and its not common for taxi drivers or hairdressers. Denmark – “drikkepenge” or “drinking money” is not required since service charges must always be included in the bill according to law. Tipping for outstanding services is a matter of choice and never expected. Finland – not customary or expected. France – not required but what you see on the menu is what you are charged for. The French pay their staff a livable wage and do not depend on tips. Some cafe’s and restaurants will include a 15% service charge in the bill as french law for tax assessment requires. “service compris” is a flag that the tip has already been added to the bill but the staff may not get any of it. Tourist places are unofficially accustomed to getting tips. In smaller restaurants or rural areas, tips can be treated with disdain. Amounts of the tip are critical sometimes, such as at least a 5% for good service, and unless tips are given in cash, most of the time the staff won’t receive them if on credit card. Austria/Germany: Coat check staff usually tipped but tipping aka “trinkgeld” is not obligatory. In debates about minimum wage, some people disapprove of tipping and say that it shouldn’t substitue for living wages. It is however seen as good manners in Germany for good services. Germany prohibits to charge a service fee though without the customer’s consent. Tips range from 5-10% depending on the service. While Germans usually tip their waiters almost never the cashiers at big supermarkets. The more personal the service, more common to tip. There are often tipping boxes instead of tipping the person, and rounding up the bill is the most common practice as “stimmt” for keep the change. Tips are considered income in Germany but are tax free. Hungary – “borravalo” or “money for wine” is the tipping there and is commonplace based on type of service received, rounding up the price is most commonplace. Various situations will vary with tipping as either expected, optional, or unusual since almost all bills have service charges included. In Iceland, it is not customary and never expected except with tourist guides who encourage the practice. Ireland – tips are left by leaving small change (5-10%) at the table or rounding up the bill, and very uncommon for them to tip drivers or cleaning staff – it is the tradition thanks for high quality service or a kind gesture. In Italy – tips are only for special services or thanks for high quality service, but is very uncommon and not customary, though all restaurants have a service charge but are required to inform you of said added charges. Norway – service charges are added to the bill so tipping is less common and not expected. If done its by leaving small change 5-15% at the table or rounding up the bill. The Netherlands – it is not obligatory and is illegal and rare to charge service fees without customer’s consent. Sometimes restaurants, bars, taxis, and hotels will make it sound like tipping is required but it is not. Excellent service sometimes sees a 5-15% tip as in 1970 regulations were adopted that all indicated prices must include the service charge and so all prices saw a 15% raise back then so that employees were not dependent on tips. Romania – Tipping is close to bribing in some instances where it is used to achieve a favor such as reservations or getting better seats. tipping is overlooked often and rounding up can be seen as a rude gesture if including coins, otherwise one should use paper currency. Russia – its called “chayeviye” which means “for the tea” and tipping small amounts to service people was common before the Communist Revolution of 1917, then it became discouraged and considered an offensive capitalist tradition aimed at belittling or lower the status of the working class and this lasted until the 1990’s but once the Iron Curtain fell a influx of foreign tourists came it and it has seen a comeback. Slovenia – most locals do not tip other than to round to nearest Euro and the practice is uncommon. Tourist areas have accepted tips of 10-20%. Spain – while not mandatory it is common for excellent services. Tips in the food industry depend on the restaurant and if upscale, small bars and restaurants the small change is left on their plate after paying the bill. Taxi drivers, hairdressers, and hotel staff may expect tips in upscale environments. Sweden – tipping is not expected, but practiced for high quality service as kind gestures, but often is small change on the table or rounding up the bill mainly at restaurants and taxis. Hairdressers aren’t commonly tipped. Tips are taxed in Sweden but cash tips often are not declared. Turkey – “bahsis” or tipping is optional and not customary. 5-10% is appreciated in restaurants and usually by leaving the change. Drivers don’t expect tips although passengers often round up and small change to porters or bellboys. United Kingdom: England/Scotland – customary when served at a table in restaurants, but not cafes or pubs where payment made at the counter often between 10-15%, most commonly 10% rounded up. Golfers tip their caddies. Larger cities may have a service charge included in the bill or added separately commonly at 12.5%. Service charges are only compulsory if displayed before payment and dining, and if bad service, customer can refuse to pay any portion (or all) of said service charge.

North America:
Canada – similar to the United States, tipping is common, expected, and in some cases required. Quebec provides alternate minimum wage for all tipped employees, other provinces do so for bartenders. Servers tend to share their tips with other restaurant employees called “tipping out” or a “tip pool”. Ontario made a law in 2015 to ban employers from taking cuts of tips that are meant for servers and other staff as that became a bad problem until recently. Tips are seen as income and staff must report the income to the Canada Revenue Agency to pay their taxes on it. Caribbean – the practices vary from island to island, such as the Dominican Repulbic adds a 10% gratuity on bills in restaurants and its still customary to tip an extra 10%, St Barths it is expected tips to be 10-15% if gratuity isn’t already included in the bill, and most of the islands expect tips due to being used to it with tourists from the mainland. Mexico – In small restaurants most workers don’t expect tips as the custom is usually only takes place in medium or larger high end restaurants, and when it happens roughly 10-15% not less nor more as a voluntary offering for the good services received on total bill before tax is added (VAT – value added tax). Sometimes VAT is already included in menu pricing. Standard tip in Mexico is 11.5% of the pre-tax bill or 10%. Sometimes tips are added to the bill without the customer’s consent even though its against the law especially bars, night clubs, and restaurants. If this service charge is added it is violation of Article 10 of the Mexican Federal Law of the Consumer and Mexican authorities recommend that patrons require the management to refund or deduct this from the bill. United states – Tipping is a strong social custom and while by definition voluntary at the discretion of the customer, has become mandatory in some instances and/or required, very commonly expected. If being served at a table, a tip of 15-20% of the customer’s check is customary when good service provided, in buffets where they only bring beverages to the table, 10% is customary. Higher tips are often commonly given for excellent service, and lower ones for mediocre service. Tips may be refused if rude or bad service is given and the manager is usually notified. Tipping is common for hairdressers, golf courses, casinos, hotels, spas, salons, bartenders, baristas, food delivery, drivers, taxis, weddings, special events, and concierge services. Fair Labor Standards Act defines tippable employees as those who receive tips of more than $30/month and federal law permits employers to include tips as part of a employee’s hourly wage or minimum wage. Federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13/hour as authorities believe they will make up the difference in tips. The federal minimum wage is still only $7.25/hour. 18 of the 50 states still pay tipped workers the 2.13/hour. 25 states as well as the District of Columbia have their own slightly higher tipped minimums, while the remaining states guarantee state based minimum wage for all workers. Some states have increased this such as Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Guam require that employees be paid full minimum wage of the state they are working in. Tip pools are used as well but the employer is not allowed to take any, nor any employees who do not customarily receive tips such as the dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors. The average tip in America today is 15-16% with tipping commonly expected regardless of how good service was provided. A few restaurants and businesses in Amrica have adopted a no-tipping model to fight back, but many of these returned to tipping due to loss of employees to competitors. Service charges are often added when there is a large party dining and to catering, banquet, or delivery jobs. This is not to be confused with tips or gratuity in the U.S. which is optional and discretionary to the customer. Some bars have started to include service charges as well – but including these require disclosure to the customer. Until the early 20th century, Americans saw tipping as inconsistent with the values of an democratic egalitarian society, earlier business owners thought of tips as customers attempting to bribe employees to do something that wasn’t customary such as getting larger portions of food, better sittings, reservations, and/or more alcohol in their drinks. After Prohibition in 1919 alot of revenue was lost from no longer selling alcoholic beverages, so financial pressure caused food establishment owners to welcome tips and gradually evolve to expecting them. Tipping never evolved from a server’s low wages because back in the day before tipping was institutionalized, servers were fairly well paid. As tipping evolved to become expected and mandatory servers were paid less. Six states (mainly in the south) however passed laws making tipping illegal though enforcement was difficult, the earliest of which was passed in 1909 within the state of Washington. The last of these laws were repealed in 1926 in Mississippi. These states felt that “the original workers that were not paid anything by their employers were newly freed slaves” and “this whole concept of not paying them anything and letting them live on tips carried over from slavery” (according to Wikipedia article). Tips are considered income and the entire tip amount is considered earned wages except for months wehere tip totals were under $20. The employee must pay 100% of payroll tax on tip income and tips are excluded from worker’s compensation premiums in most states. This sometimes discourages no-tip policies because employers would pay 7.65% additional payroll taxes and up to 9% workers compensation premiums on higher wages in lieu of tips. Tax evasion on tips is very common and a big concern of the IRS. While tips are allowable expenses for federal employees during travel, U.S. law prohibts employees from receiving tips. Tip pooling is also illegal if pooling employees are paid at least the federal minimum wage and don’t customarily receive tips, but was repealed in 2018 so workers have more rights to sue their employers for stolen tips.

South America: Bolivia – Most restaurants have service charges included in the bill, but tips of 5% or more are sometimes given to be polite to the worker. Paraguay – Tipping is not a common part of the culture, there are often service charges included in the bill.

Oceania: Australia – Tipping is not part of Australian customs, so it is not expected or required. Minimum wages in Australia has an annual review adapted for standards of living. Many still round up the amount owed to indicate they were happy with the service as “keep the change”. There is no tradition of tipping someone who is just providing a service like a bellboy, hairstylist, or guide. Casinos in Australia prohibit tipping of gaming staff so its not considered bribery. New Zealand – like Australia, does not possess the tradition though it has become less uncommon in recent years especially with fine establishments and influx of tourism, or American tipping culture. It is expected that employers pay their staff fairly and that minimum wage is raised regularly based on costs of living. The only real tipping is for far and above normal service.

The varying degrees of gratuity around the world causes much problems internationally, as American tourists may continue to tip when travelling to countries where it is not custom, thereby setting precedent that evolves into expectation of Americans travelling abroad. Likewise, tourists from countries that find tipping rude or non-customary, may not tip when in the U.S. and infuriating staff that expect and/or depend upon it. Some Americans have been known to become aggressive, rude, and vindictive when they don’t get tipped and they may not realize the non-tipper is a foreigner who comes from a culture that doesn’t tip. The key is to know the culture you are travelling in. There is a high level of discrimination embedded into tipping culture, and many think the custom should be banned. According to Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics blog “Should Tipping be Banned?” they point out from Michael Lynn’s research that “attractive waitresses get better tips then less attractive ones. Men’s appearances, not so important.” “blondes get better tips than brunettes, slender women get better tips then heavier woen, larger breasted women get better tips than smaller breasted ones.” Hooters, an American chain has monopolized on looks for their waitresses and get away with discriminating upon those who don’t fit the look, and therefore the tip. Many will flaunt wealth by distributing big tips, and others do it to demean the worker to make them feel beneath them. After the abolishment of slavery, restaurants and rail operators embraced tipping as a way of getting free labor – hiring newly freed slaves to work for tips alone.


The newest industry being affected by tipping is delivery drivers who get paid $3.25 or lower for a delivery, don’t get paid to wait around for orders, sometimes are given some fees for mileage, but not wear and tear, nor reimbursement for the highly increasing cost of gas. So not only is a drivers time affected when someone doesn’t tip, but their vehicle, cost of gas, and expenses. As a delivery driver, I have gone on deliveries where what i received from a non-tipper and the company didn’t even cover the gas to get to their place and back. Remember that when considering if you should tip or not.

References:


  • Oatman, Maddie 2016 “The Racist, Twisted History of Tipping: Gratuities were once an excuse to shortchange black people. In fact, they still are.” Mother Jones News. website visited at https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/04/restaurants-tipping-racist-origins-saru-jayaraman-forked/ on 7/17/18.

  • Wikipedia 2013 “Tipping”. Website referenced at https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipping on 7/17/18.

  • Video: The Racist History of Tipping : https://www.facebook.com/196848580832824/videos/217512792099736/

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Motel 6 – Roswell, New Mexico

Roswell’s Motel 6
~ 3307 N Main St, Roswell, New Mexico 88201
Phone: (575) 625-6666 ~

Motel 6, the standard cost-rating hotel for an area – in which that you can tell what the affordable going rate is in a city by the price broadcast on the outside of the motel by their sign. However Roswell’s Motel 6 is much more grandiose than most Motel 6’s in that it is not a motel, but actually a hotel with an indoor pool and hot tub. Elevator to your room with luggage carts available. It was quite nice treat. Budget pricing still its icon, but free internet unlike the pay additional fee that other Motel 6’s in the country seem to use. It’s only 3 miles from the International UFO Museum and Research Center. Great flat screen tvs with expanded cable, free WiFi, Kids 17 and under free with adult. Coin laundry, free coffee in the morning, and plenty of parking (for cars and trucks). They even let me unhook my trailer and leave it while i did sightseeing even when i wasn’t checked in yet, and after i had checked out. That was super nice. Microwave, fridge, and kitchens in some rooms. We had a great stay.

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. Visited 6/26-27, 2018. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Brantley Lake State Park (Carlsbad, New Mexico)

Brantley Lake State Park
~ 33 West Brantley Lake Road, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220 USA * (575) 457-2384 * https://www.newmexico.org/listing/brantley-lake-state-park/2089/ ~

Just 12 miles north of the city of Carlsbad, New Mexico is a large 4,000 acre lake and dam called Brantley Lake. The State Park around its edges hosts a day use area, boat ramp, picnicking tables, rest rooms, playground, grills, and campground. The campground has 51 developed campsites with electricity, water, shower facilities, playground, visitor center, and other amenities. Brantley Lake is a man-made reservoir formed when Brantley Dam was erected across the Pecos River in the 1980’s. It is the southernmost lake in New Mexico and is very popular picnicking, camping, fishing, boating, and water recreation site. The lake is stocked with white bass, bass, walleye, catfish, bluegill, carp and crappie. As of 2018 the State Parks Department does not recommend eating fish from the lake for there was detected high levels of DDT in the fish tested. The campground and day use site can e reached via U.S. 295 by going northeast 4.5 miles down Eddy County Road 30.

We visited in June of 2018. The sites were great though a fire ban prevented use of campfires and grills. High winds nearly broke our 10 x 10 shade structure, so make sure to tie down well. From the campground we had hoped the Lake Loop would take us down to the Lake’s shore, but it didn’t. It was an interesting walk none-the-less. Playground was great, my son had a blast there. At the point of our visit the campground hosts were state troopers so we definitely felt safe.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 6/25-6/26/2018. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Park Inn By Radisson Shannon Airport

Park Inn by Radisson Shannon Airport
~ Shannon Airport House, Shannon Industrial Estate, Shannon, Co. Clare, V14 N763, Ireland | Phone: +353 61 471 122 | https://www.parkinn.ie/airporthotel-shannon ~

A luxurious (for Ireland) Inn located 2 km from the Shannon Airport that will give its patrons a good rest before and after their flights. I’ve had the pleasure of staying there a couple of times during flights to and from the United States to Ireland. It is also 13 km from the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park bringing tourists to the area. The rooms are bright, airy, and spacious – they offer free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, business desks, coffee making, and some rooms mini fridges. They also have a breakfast buffet offered for a surcharge. A casual restaurant, cozy bar, ad gym are also offered to patrons. They have free parking as well.

Rated: 3.75 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Ramada Inn (Centennial Airport – Denver)

Ramada Inn (Centennial Airport)
~ 7770 S Peoria St, Englewood/Denver, Colorado 80112 ~ (303) 790-7770 ~

A cost effective hotel located just outside of the Centennial Airport south Denver. Staff is friendly and helpful. Outside of kids running down the hall hotel is pretty quiet and restful, no airport noises. Comfortable beds, free cable, clean rooms, electric working. Restful. A wonderful breakfast buffet with a large selection of cold and food breakfast stuffs available. Drink cups are small though. Ice machine on the 2nd floor was broken during my visit. The 2nd floor even numbered rooms circle around a gravel roof-top with open access to the room’s windows, from debris on the roof it appears people have hung out on it – meaning its a security issue for the rooms as i found my room window unlocked. Would be easy for thieves. I did receive a prank call most likely from a young guest during the night, that was annoying. Hotel is aged in some parts, and brand new in others. oddly there is spacing between the bottom of the room door and the hall, not being very private. It was a comfortable stay none-the-less. No fridges or microwaves in the rooms. WiFi is good and clear, no password.

Rated: 4 stars out of 5 Visited 3/31/18-4/1/18. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Homesuite Inn (Denver, Colorado)

Homesuites Inn – Denver
~ 550 15th Street, Denver, CO 80202-4205 ~ +1 855-605-0320 ~

~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

I got a wonderful deal on this spectacular hotel in downtown Denver on February 18, 2011. Of course this was back when “Priceline” found you such grand deals. I would however not pay the current asking prices for the rooms. Too many hotels over charging these days. The rooms were clean, spacious, and had everything needed for a comfortable stay. The breakfast was delicious and fitting. It was in commute distance to events I had planned for the evening. Service was grand. Rating: 4 stars out of 5 (visited 2/1811)

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Homesuite Inn, Denver, Colorado. February 18, 2011. (c) 2011 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. The Great Walkabout: http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?page_id=114. From Colorado Springs to Australia, Europe, and back. Photos taken January 1, 2011. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17409. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2011 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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The Orient Land Trust, Villa Grove, Colorado

Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs

The Orient Land Trust a.k.a. “Valley View Hot Springs”
info@olt.org, olt.org * PO Box 65, Villa Grove, CO 81155-0065 * 719.256.4315 * 9 am – 10 pm. Open to the public 7 days a week – closed December 1st – 28th.
This fantastic Land trust is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources, wildlife habitat, open space, historic and geologic features of the northern San Luis Valley for the enjoyment of current and future generations. The OLT protects a humongous bat colony, hot springs, alternative energy use, and is well known for its high altitude dark skies for astronomy, exposed active geological fault, limestone caves, numerous trails, historic buildings, town sites at an abandoned iron mine, and a working ranch. The OLT is a naturist community (clothing optional) with 24 hour access to the hotsprings when camping or renting their rustic lodging cabins. They limit the number of visitors based on space availability and environmental impact. For current pictures and views … visit their web site, linked above. The entire grounds are clothing optional – while the majority of the guests tend to swim and soak without swimsuits, there is no pressure either way. The OLT welcomes a diverse clientele of couples, singles, and families from all walks of life – children are always welcome, though require supervision. They offer camping and cabins, their indoor lodging have heat and electricity, though there are no telephones, clocks, radios, or tvs in any of the rooms. All of the ponds and pools are outdoors – there are no private pools or hot tubs – there are four natural ponds with temperatures ranging in the 90’s, an 80′ long spring-fed swimming pool (no chlorine) in the high 80’s, and a heated hot pool around 105 degrees. Our visit to this fantastic resort was over the weekend of 11/10-11/11. A must visit for any hot springs or naturalist enthusiast. Rating 5 stars out of 5.

Additional Visit: 1/24-1/25/09. 2/16/17-2/18/17. Excellent visit.

Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=164); near Moffat, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Rodeway Inn, Alamosa, Colorado

Rodeway Inn, Alamosa, Colorado

Come back soon. Article expected to be published by February 20, 2017.

Rodeway Inn, Alamosa, Colorado ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30445); New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Wanapum State Park (Washington State)

Wampum State Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25965). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 28, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Wampum State Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25965).

Wanapum State Park
http://parks.state.wa.us/288/Ginkgo-Petrified-Forest, https://washington.goingtocamp.com/WanapumStatePark ~

Settled next to the Ginkgo Petrified Forest state Park, Wanapum is a state run recreational area located just along the Columbia River with little beaches and panoramic views. The Petrified Forest is 7,470 acre large and Wanapum is the designated camping area for the park. With over 27,000 feet following the shoreline of the Wanapum Reservoir along the Columbia River, it is a popular location for fishermen, boaters, and water recreation, as well as geologists, paleontologists, and tourists. The campground has 50 full hook-up sites with two rest rooms. While geared for RVs, tenters are permitted but have to pay full hook-up fees. The campground is subject to high winds due to location on river, so tenting should have deep stakes and secure placement. This is a popular camping spot during the concert season at the Gorge. While windy, it was a great time camping. Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Wampum State Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25965). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 28, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Wampum State Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25965). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 28, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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White Eagle Hotel and Pub, Portland, Oregon

White Eagle Hotel and Pub:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907. Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 27, 2016.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan,  and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
White Eagle Hotel and Pub: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907.

White Eagle Hotel and Pub
~ 836 N Russell St, Portland, OR 97227
Phone: (503) 282-6810 ~

Another McMannamin’s favorite tourist destinations, the White Eagle is more of a hostel than it is a hotel. It is located in one of the micro-brewery destination neighborhoods of Portland, Eliot in North Portland with a style of a hotel in glamour of rock n’ roll themed lodging and saloon. The building dates back to 1905. The basic rooms are located above the pub and individually furnished, has free wi-fi, and wash basins. Some rooms have bun beds. There is no air conditioning and the bathrooms are shared between rooms. The bar has a artsy feel, with rock-n-roll and odd sideshow decor, with a beer garden and nightly live music. The establishment lacks in parking, although it has a very small lot. While we have yet had a chance to lodge in this hotel, we did eat and drink at the pub in the beer garden. Service was friendly, albeit moderate in speed. It was overall a good experience. Rating: 3 stars out of 5

White Eagle Hotel and Pub:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907. Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 27, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17903.  Hood River: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23683; The Dalles:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24107; White Salmon:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23677; Husum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25039; Portland:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=281.  To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
White Eagle Hotel and Pub: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907. Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 27, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17903. Hood River: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23683; The Dalles: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24107; White Salmon: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23677; Husum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25039; Portland: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=281. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Oregon Motor Motel (The Dalles Oregon)

Oregon Motor Inn, The Dalles, Oregon. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 28, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Oregon Motor Inn, The Dalles, Oregon.

Oregon Motor Inn
~ 200 W 2nd St, The Dalles, OR 97058 ~ (541) 296-9111 ~ http://www.thedallesmotel.com/ ~

A great little motel/ motor inn at the heart of the Dalles downtown. Comfy, friendly, and affordable. Its conveniently located to most hotspots for tourists such as being a three minute walk to the Old St. Peter’s Landmark Preservation area or 5 minutes to the Columbia Riverfront Trail. The rooms have views of the Gorge, free WiFi, cable TV, microwaves, antique bathrooms, free coffee in the lobby, on-site parking, and mini fridges. We had a great restful stay. Rated: 3 1/2 stars out of 5

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Days Inn, Federal Way, Seattle Washington

Days Inn ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28459), Federal Way, Washington. Exploring the Olympic Peninsula. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 24, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Days Inn ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28459), Federal Way, Washington. Exploring the Olympic Peninsula. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 24, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Days Inn – Federal Way
34827 Pacific Hwy S, Federal Way, WA 98003– Federal Way, Tacoma-Seattle, Washington


+1 800-329-1992

Right near the King County Aquatic Center, WIld Waves Theme Park, and close proximity to the Sea-Tac Airport, the Days inn at Federal Way is a comfortable rest stop off Interstate 5. The hotel offers a free continental breakfast, parking, free wi-fi, and late checkout. It is across the street from a shopping area with sushi, fast food, and other shops. The hotel also has a 24-hour business center, free coffee/tea, and a 24 hour front desk. There are approximately 54 rooms in the hotel all with wifi, coffee makers, free local calls, ironing boards, desks, and TV with satellite. We enjoyed our stay for two nights. It was a rest away from home well needed. Rated 4 stars out of 5.

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Ala Cozy Motel, Coulee, Washington

Ala Cozy Motel (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28293), Coulee, Washington. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan,  Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Ala Cozy Motel

A LA COZY MOTEL
9988 US-2, Coulee City, Washington
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ala-Cozy-Motel/111716628866097 * 509-632-5703

A great Mom and Pop motel near the shores of the Coulee, in the heart of Coulee City. Great parking lot with room for RV’s, trailers, and boats. This little hole-in-the-wall, mom/pop family run motel has comfortable rooms with free WiFi, cable, fridge, microwave, and coffee makers. Very simple style and decor it is one of the few places to lodge in town. We lodged there for several weeks doing survey work in the area and it was quite satisfactory with comfort, cleanliness, and friendliness of staff/owners. Will stay again. Rated 4 stars out of 5.

Ala Cozy Motel (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28293), Coulee, Washington. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan,  Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Ala Cozy Motel (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28293), Coulee, Washington. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Fort Worden, WA

Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Fort Worden, Washington

Right in the heart of Port Townsend is a historic US Military fort turned into a State Park. It resides along the Admiralty Inlet that flows by Port Townsend. The fort property, now owned by the National Park Service consists of 433 acres, originally as a US Army base to protect Puget Sound from invading forces from 1902 to 1953, named after U.S. Navy Admiral John Lorimer Worden who commanded the USS Monitor during the American Civil War. After it was decommissioned in 1953 and purchased in 1957 converted to a juvenile detention facility, and then turned to a State Park in 1973. Because the Admiralty Inlet was a strategic defense location for Puget Sound, three forts were built along the shores – Fort Worden, Fort Casey, and Fort Flagler creating a “Triangle of Fire” with huge guns thwarting any invasive force coming from sea. The forts were never used for war and never fired a shot. During World War I the guns were removed and used in Europe. It was primarily a training base for military applications. During World War II it became the headquarters of the Harbor Defense Command and jointly operated by the Navy and Army in a team effort. The artillery units were disbanded after World War II and gun batteries dismantled. During the Korean war a 2nd Engineer Special brigade was stationed here before being ordered to Korea to reinforce the Far East Command. After this, in 1957 the fort was in the hands of the state of Washington for diagnosis and treatment of troubled youths. Remnants of various batteries litter the landscape, some of which are open to explore by park visitors. The park also houses the Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum, a balloon hanger used by airships, three 3-inch anti-aircraft gun emplacements, several restored quarters on Officer’s Row, Point Wilson lighthouse, a campground, Port Townsend Marine Science Center, and lots of beaches for recreational use. In 1983 the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” was filmed here. In 2002 the movie “The Ring” was also filmed here.

Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Sol Duc Hot Springs, Olympic National Forest, Washington

Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Sol Duc Hotsprings and Campground, Olympic National Forest, WA
http://www.olympicnationalparks.com/lodging/sol-duc-hot-springs-resort/

As opposed to the rustic natural state of the Olympic Hot Springs, Sol Duc is the developed National Park Service hot springs resort in the Olympic National Forest. We wound up going here when we found out the road to Olympic Hot Springs had been washed out (March 2016). Sol Duc is well known for its pool, soaking tubs, and camping. It lies off the natural springs dotting the Sol Duc River. The original inhabitants of the area – various Native American tribes who frequented the Springs, believed them to be healing and therapeutic. Euro-Americans took over the area in the 1880’s as usual pushing out the aboriginal visitors. They opened a resort in 1912 here but it was burnt down in 1916. It was rebuilt in the 1920’s with less scale operating until the 1970s until problems with the spring occured. After the problems were resolved it was rebuilt again in the 1980s operating since. The current Springs are operated and managed by the National Park Service, open for visitors from March 25 until October 30th each year. The pools can be accessed from 7:30 am until 10 pm daily. Cabins and campsites are available for overnight lodging. There are 32 cabins that sleep 4 each, dining facilities on site, gift shop, store, a river suite that sleeps 10, 17 RV sites, and a primitive campground. There is no wifi, telephones, television, or radios offered. There are three modern pools, regulated and cleaned daily to soak within.

Folklore: Native American lore talk about two dragons who lived in the adjoining valleys who often would fight together. Their fights would be so fierce that the trees in the mountain’s upper realms would be destroyed so badly they would never grow back. The dragons experienced a even match each fight, and never able to prevail against one another. After years of struggling they each retired to their own valley, living under the earth, and it is their hot tears that feed the waters of the springs creating the hot springs – the Olympic Hot Springs and Sol Duc.

Geology: The springs are located on or near the Calawah fault zone extending from the southeastern Olympics to the northwest into the Pacific Ocean. The water is vented from a hot spring caused by geothermal heat coming up from the Earth’s mantle by geothermal gradient with water percolating up after contact from the hot rocks. Because the hot water dissolves solids, high mineral content is mixed in the waters ranging from calcium to lithium even radium causing healing effects on bodies soaked in them. The Springs are managed by Olympic National Park.

Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Inn of the Mountain Gods, near Ruidoso, New Mexico

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Inn of the Mountain Gods
* Mescalero Indian Reservation near Ruidoso, New Mexico * http://innofthemountaingods.com/ *

Fond childhood memories of this resort as it was a place that my mom and dad took us to often when we were children. I supposed when dad wanted to go skiing, gamble, or golf was when we lodged here before he built a cabin in Ruidoso. It is highlighted as one of New Mexico’s premier mountain resorts. It is located just outside of Ruidoso, New Mexico near Mescalero and harnesses picturesque mountain surroundings, views, and clean mountain air, snow capped mountains, lake and championship golf course. They boast easy access to the Ski Apache Sierra Blanca ski resort, a golf course, and a scenic lake. The prices were good and discounted when we arrived, and we even stayed a 2nd night as they offered it half-price of the discounted rate as was. We however were surprised of a $12 resort fee they snuck on the bill. The lobby is large, warm with fireplaces, and modern Native American art displayed. (it does lack history) A very modern lodge and casino, with 273 luxury rooms and suites, with all you can eat buffets. They offer 40,000 square feet of meeting spaces, a 38,000 square foot casino, non-smoking poker room with 9 tables for play, a indoor pool, large hot tub spa, gym, gift shop, Starbucks kiosk, discounts and shuttles to the skiing and snowboarding sites, an 18 hole championship golf course, big game hunting, skeet shooting, horseback riding, fishing, and gondola rides. It is owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache tribe. Kid friendly. We certainly had more fond memories of the resort as kids, but found it comfortable and a pleasant stay. Visited 11/19/13-11/21/13 – Rated: 4 stars out of 5.

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Sandia Peak Inn, 4614 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Sandia Peak Inn
* 4614 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico *
A Route 66 styled Inn/motel in Albuquerque, I was a bit hesitant at first with its location as finding it in the darkness was a little un-nerving. It however turned out to be a wonderful inn, with artistic stylized decor, comfortable amenities, and great service. The style was charming with Southwestern flair, and was at a decent price. Beds were comfortable and rooms had flat screen tv, fridge, microwave, free wifi, and the usual amenities. A small continental breakfast with a good selection was free in the morning, and they had a nice indoor pool. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. Visited 11/22/13.

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Wisteria Campground (Pomeroy, Ohio)

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Wisteria Campground
* Pomeroy, Ohio * http://www.wisteria.org/ * * info@wisteria.org * 740-742-4302 *

I remember the first time I ventured into the fabled lands of Wisteria. That was for Pagan Spirit Gathering held by Circle Sanctuary back in 2002. Alas, Pagan Spirit Gathering is no longer held here. But just as Starwood was akin to Brushwood, Starwood is now held (and for quite some time) at Wisteria. Wisteria is a great place for nature lovers, naturalists, Pagans, earth spiritualists, and alternative campers. It is also a fabulous site for festivals and events as acclaimed by the infamous festivals held on its grounds. It is a great place for large gatherings or small get-togethers, weddings, music festivals, and spiritual events. They are equipt to handle small groups of just a handful upwards of several thousand participants. Wisteria is set with a grand stage, bonfire circle, hiking trails, a faerie shrine, sacred sites, stone circle, an ancestor mound, a turtle mound, sweat lodge, workshop sites, the permanent setting of Caffeina’s Cosmic Cafe Restaurant and Coffee House, The Green Man Tavern, a swimming pond, a merchant loop, a playground, shower house, and wifi. Groups can rent space in the campground or hold private camping events. Wisteria is managed by itself as well as services of the site to make it an easier place to hold events by organizers. Wisterians are open-minded, professional, and very experienced with events large or small. They will custom tailor their event services to the festival organizer’s needs.

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Brushwood Folklore Center (Sherman, New York)

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Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

Brushwood Folklore Center
* http://www.brushwood.com/ * * 8881 Bailey Hill Rd. * Sherman New York * 14781 * 716-761-6750 * camp@brushwood.com *

One of my favorite campsites and festival grounds is Brushwood Folklore Center, nestled in upstate New York. A rustic wooded retreat on over 180 wooded acres outside of Sherman, New York in rural Chautauqua County. A clothing optional campground and resort focused on creativity, community, and spirituality. A great place to relax, become one with nature or with others, or to be part of the fabulous festivals held year round including bonfires, drumming, dancing, swimming, and soaking in the hot tub. The grounds are full of lots of temples, sanctuaries, altars, and sacred spaces where various groups host numerous rites and rituals every year. Family and community run since 1970, Brushwood is a family and community oriented campground.

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Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

The campgrounds have seasonal campground sites, co-ed showers, flush toilets, a swimming pool, and two hot tubs. There are three covered pavilions near main camping, lots of outdoor space for workshops, lectures, ceremonies, and performances. An heated indoor lodge for year-round use and heated indoor sleeping areas for over a dozen visitors. Camping fees are only $10 /night (2013 rates) with day passes at $6/day until 6 pm. The heated indoor lodging (dorm-style trailer) is $15/night – all per person. On occasion, potluck dinners are held to promote opportunities for community to meet and share meals together. Home to numerous annual festivals, some of the famous festivals like Starwood in the past, now Summerstar, Sirius Rising, Wellspring, and many other events each year. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

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Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

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The Thunderbird Inn (hippest hotel in Savannah)

Thunderbird Inn

* 611 West Oglethorpe Ave * Savannah, Georgia 31401 * 912.232.2661 * www.thethunderbirdinn.com *

Turned on to this fabulous overnight stay in historic Savannah Georgia by attending the infamous 2012 Savannah SantaCon who had a special santa’s discount for those bar-crawling joyous red-donned hipsters who enjoy unwinding each year before going to work down chimneys delivering toys. The Thunderbird Inn broadcasts itself as “The hippest hotel in Savannah” which isn’t completely true – they are most likely the “hippest” and we had a fabulous stay in town, but its not a hotel, its a motel – which is my preference anyway. Greeted with oddity and 60’s/70’s sheek decor, the front desk delivers free lemonade/hot chocolate, popcorn, or a mascot sock monkey to go travelling with you about. The art-deco rooms have RC colas with moonpies atop them awaiting your arrival. Comfortable rooms, beds, and amenities … fridge, tv, hundreds of channels, makeup mirror, iron, ironing board, coffee pot, and mucho shampoo/soap/conditioner in a tiny tiny bathroom. We highly enjoyed our stay and will definitely be visiting this “hotel” many more times. Fabulous Thunderbird! Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Fontana Village Resort

Fontana Village Resort
Fontana Village Resort

Fontana Village Resort
* http://www.fontanavillage.com/ * Fontana Village Resort | 300 Woods Road P.O. Box 68 | Fontana Dam, North Carolina 28733 * Phone: 828.498.2211 *

We were seeking an escape to the mountains and while this time of year the blue ridge parkway had segments shut down, we ventured via main roads to the Smoky Mountains National Park. On advise from a co-worker, we settled in on the “Fontana Village Resort” which was running a special lodging rate, and decided to check it out. We checked into the “Willow cabins”. Nothing more than manufactured houses in cabin style, with a porch and rocking chairs, a nice living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom … we settled in for the afternoon. Check-in was easy, and it was peaceful and quiet for the stay. The resort was pretty empty, as winter was upon us as well as the holidays calling others to family gatherings. Still there were families out venturing to collect firewood. Our cabin however did not have a fire place. no phone, just basic tv. While it didn’t advertise a wifi signal, one drifted in and out sporadically for us to stay in touch with the outside world. Given it was winter, the resort had many of its facilities shut down … including the convenience store (only open 9 am til 1 pm – and we arrived at 4 pm), grocery store, and other restaurants except for the main lodge. Closest grocery run was a town 30 minutes drive each way. With the rain that hovered over us, we couldn’t participate in many of the outdoor activities the resort offers – but it looked like a great array of choices to choose from. We just enjoyed the solitude. We’d stay again for sure. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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Black Swan Pub and Folk Club, York, England

Black Swan Pub

* http://blackswanyork.co.uk/ * Peasholme Green * York, England *

One of York’s haunted locales, this is also one of York’s more authentic pubs. In medieval style and decor, this timber framed house holding a pub and folk club retains classical 17th century interior decor. Within is a large stairway leading off to a main passageway, another room hosts a roasting pit, and another smaller room has a giant open fireplace. Originally built in 1417 as a family residence of the Bowes family (1417/1428 Lord Mayor of York), gable ends were added in the 16th century, and main structural alterations made in the 17th century for it to be open for business as a pub. There is evidence that there was a secret passage leading from this residence to St. Cuthbert’s church, and a secret room once believed to be used for cock fighting. The parents of General James Wolfe lived here from 1724-1726. Many reports of apparitions, noises, and ghostly tales take place here … one is of a chalinesque figure wearing a bowler hat wandering aimlessly through the rooms, a beautiful young ghostly woman wearing a long white dress has been noted distractedly staring into the fire her face hidden by her long black hair. Others talk of a pair of male legs seen walking around in the landlord’s accomodation. Pub fare is offered as well as a wide selection of ales, beer, and other drinks. Folk music takes place on thursday as well as other clubs and associations holding special events, classes, and discussion groups.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews and/or research articles are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Guy Fawke’s Inn, York, England

Guy Fawke’s Inn
* http://www.gfyork.com/ * York, England *

In the heart of York lies a little hole-in-the-wall now inhabited by a pub and inn commemorating the exact spot where Guy Fawke’s was born. Infamous for “Remember, remember, the 5th of November, gunpowder treason and plot …”, Guy Fawkes was notoriously known for his 1605 attempt for blowing up parliament. It was here that he was born in 1570 and baptised in the church across the street. In his birthplace, a traditional British pub offering a wide selection of ales, beer, and drinks as well as standard pub fare in the ambiance of a historic building with a fated history, timber floors, and gas-lamps as its decor. It is one of York’s popular pubs.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews and/or research articles are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Busras Luggage Storage (Dublin)

Busras Locker Storage – Dublin
* Busras * 1 Store Street * Dublin, Ireland *

With terrorism paranoia on the rampage in this world, one of the biggest side effects is the diminishing options for storing your luggage when travelling, especially as a backpacker. (Though internet cafes and hostels pick up some of that slack) Luckily, if you’re a backpacker in Dublin, there is a centrally located locker depot in the Busras station in the heart of Dublin with decent rates. Its only a few minutes away from O’Connolly Street. Storage lockers are in the basement.

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Couchsurfing.org


Couchsurfing
* http://www.couchsurfing.org * Facebook * Twitter *

I’ve been a member of couchsurfing.org for over 5 years now, and while I’ve done alot of couchsurfing in my life, most of it was done with friends or friends of friends. But this year, I had to try it out directly from the site when visiting Australia, and it was none other than a most excellent experience. Since then I’ve couchsurfed in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom. I personally believe its a brilliant network and an amazing experience. My interest in couchsurfing was as a budget tourist looking for ways to cut the costs of the high costs of travel. In addition, i was very excited at meeting new friends, learning about different ways of life, and getting to see the places i was visiting from a local’s perspective. Being a member of various alternative special interest groups and communities, such as Burning Man I often never have a problem finding a friend or a friend of a friend in a city where I’m travelling who offers a couch to crash on. Australia was different though, as I didn’t know anyone there and I was truly a “stranger in a strange land”. (Of course shortly after I started to network with couchsurfing hosts, a friend of a friend offered me comraderie and lodging in Canberra – which I did travel solely to just to meet him and take a holiday; and towards the end of the journey, met up with Burning Man community who offered me places to stay where I was at home with like-minded kindred) The several people I hosted with however as strangers from the network Couchsurfing.org were amazing, friendly, hospitable, and great hosts. I had never felt more at home with complete strangers than during my trip to Australia. Because of Australia, I’ve continued to add couchsurfing to my itinerary whenever I’m travelling as its a fantastic way to visit a city and make new friends. Couchsurfing is easy … you join the site for free, you register, you can get validated if you’d like by donating to the company who mails you a postcard back to verify you are a real person, and you create a profile similar to one you have on any other social networking site. When travelling to another area where you’d like to couchsurf, you look at potential hosts you share things in common with, contact them to see if they have availability or interest, and set up the stay. They often describe the space they are offering for free whether its floor space, couch space, an extra bedroom, or a caravan in the driveway. Many times they offer to pick you up from the airport or station, shuttle you around, and one of the greatest activities … cooking with each other – or taking turns sharing food, tales, and sightseeing together. Every host I’ve stayed with has gone way-out-of-their-way to make me feel welcomed, looked after, and feel at home. All hesitations I’ve ever had about the concept, disappeared with that trip Down Under. Couchsurfing.org has millions of members worldwide in over 230 countries and territories around the world. They are a community, a network, and a “gifting” movement (similar to that found at Burning Man). The pros: free lodging, sometime free meals, hospitality, new friends, tourist advice, events, networking, and fabulous experiences. The cons: You are staying with strangers – your hosts may not necessarily have personalities that merge with yours, there is an obligation of spending some time together – so if you’re a tourist trying to get work done or specifically trying to see alot in a day – couchsurfing properly can be difficult. You are putting your safety and personal belongings in the hands of a stranger (as they are with you). So common sense, as with anything you do, especially social networking, needs to be at play at all times. All on a sidenote, in my personal experience, couchsurfing is an amazing experience and highly recommended for anyone who likes social interaction, learning about cultures, and ready to make new friends. In addition, Couchsurfing can be a meeting place for other like-minds. There are local communities on the site where people can network about things they are interested in together such as music, art, theater, hobbies, and special interests. Special interest groups or member groups organize trips such as bar crawls, meetups, camping trips, and outings. Lodging agreements are always free for the host and the visitor, food is sometimes provided for free or for a fee or not at all, though never expected. Homestays are consensual between the host and the guest, with rules agreed upon before coming together, such as duration, nature, or expectations. The project was founded by Casey Fenton in 1999. Launched in January of 2003, the site took off like wildfire. By the end of 2004 it had 6,000 members, by end of 2005 it boasted 45,000, and by 2011, it has over 3 million members. Their motto and mission is as follows: “At CouchSurfing International, we envision a world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with the people and places they encounter. Building meaningful connections across cultures enables us to respond to diversity with curiosity, appreciation and respect. The appreciation of diversity spreads tolerance and creates a global community. Since 2006, Couchsurfing collectives sprung up to bring together Couchsurfers in chosen cities to develop and improve the project, they also exist to manage the website. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Similar networks are:

  • Hospitality Club, which is an international, internet-based hospitality service like Couchsurfing, that boasts over 300,000 members in 226 countries. Like couchsurfing, membership is free by registering on the website, and centers around the free gift exchange of accomodation, no guests or hosts exchange money for the lodging. Duration of stay, whether food is provided for free, for a fee, or not at all, is up to the parties involved to decide. Like couchsurfing, this is regulated by comments and reviews on the user’s profile page. Its motivation is the idea of bringing people together and fostering international friendships that will increase inter cultural understanding and strengthening peace in the world.
  • Tripping.com, which is also identically styled after couchsurfing.org is a global community of travelers who believe in making the world a better place through cultural exchange, exchanging travel tips, making friendships, and offering homestays in over 175 countries. It also offers the widest selection of local home rentals in these kind of networks. It was founded in 2009 by Jen O’Neal and Nate Weisiger.
  • Servas Open Doors is an international, non-governmental, interracial hospitality association present in over 125 countries and run mostly by volunteers. It’s purpose is creating a non-profit, worldwide, cooperative, cultural exchange network bringing people together to build understanding, tolerance, mutual-respect, and world peace. Like other hospitality organizations, it promotes world peace by encouraging individual person-to-person contacts through social networking on the site, meeting in person, get-togethers, and homestays.
  • Global Free Loaders: Another alternative network, as an online community to bring together people from all walks of life by offering free lodging around the world. Membership is free.
  • Be Welcome: another cross cultural network introducing hosts and visitors offering free lodging, social activities, and travel advice. It is a free network to join, non-profit and operated by volunteers in a open, transparent, and fair way.

As with any network, common sense should be used before entering a stranger’s home or inviting a stranger into your home. Couchsurfing is a brilliant way to make friends, travel affordably, and network. But we live in a world that has many problems as well as negative people, criminals, stalkers, predators, and people wanting to take advantage of others. Just like with any social networking, common sense is key. Get to know your host, get to know your visitor. Check their references. Talk to their friends. Meet in person before offering or accepting lodging if you have any doubts, red flags, or intuitive questions. Out of 5+ years of being a member, I’ve never had a negative experience with couchsurfing, but others have as can be found on sites like Bad Experiences with Couchsurfing: The Dark Side, Opencouchsurfing.org, The Truth About Couchsurfing, A Travelers nightmare couchsurfing in New York, and Criticism of Couchsurfing and Review of Alternatives. Threats to the safety of travelers exist everywhere whether they are couchsurfing or not. In a given year example, 1.25 million stays have been organized through couchsurfing since 2004. About 99.6 percent of users considered their experiences as positive. The latest statistics show that out of 2,554 real-life introductions in a given day, only two people viewed their experience as negative. [stats from this article].

    Bibliography:
  • Couchsurfing.org: Web Site. Site referenced in December 2011. http://www.couchsurfing.org.
  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. “Couchsurfing”. Site referenced in December 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CouchSurfing.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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