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VOL. 130 | NO. 130 | Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Lance Wiedower

Tackling the Horrific Sounds of Travel

LANCE WIEDOWER | Special to The Daily News

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Click. Click. Claaaack! Click. Click. Bang! The first time those sounds happened I thought it must’ve come from the hallway. But a minute later and more of the clicking.

Maybe it was the parking lot. A mechanical cricket – no, check that – a family of mechanical crickets surely found their way to our windowsill.

Mechanical crickets?

For just a moment I wondered if I was suddenly transported from this run-of-the-mill chain motel room to the action of “The Maze Runner.” In the science fiction dystopian thriller, a group of boys must overcome these clicking creatures called Grievers.

Did the Grievers discover my hiding place in this nice but average motel room near an interstate exit in a medium-size city like any other medium-size city?

But then I was clicked back to reality, and upon further examination I realized the air conditioner was the culprit.

We wouldn’t be attacked by Grievers or mechanical crickets, but this spastic air conditioner was another matter.

This random, unpredictable clicking wouldn’t stop. As I prepared for bed the stress mounted. My wife requires a near-perfect sleeping arrangement that is orchestrated by white noise machines. One bad night of sleep could spell travel disaster. It’s happened before and is sure to happen again.

Travel brings many rewarding opportunities, from lumpy beds and watered-down in-room coffee to those wonderful free breakfasts that include a bowl full of cereal crumbs that come pouring out of the dispenser. Not familiar with the Raisin Bran crumbs that come pouring out instead of the big flakes and raisins?

Oh, I guess that’s what is available to the guests who made it to breakfast late because they might’ve overslept. Something about a family of mechanical crickets.

The crazy part is I can sleep like a rock anywhere. Not long ago I found myself at home enjoying a late-night snack at the kitchen table. As my eyes began to shut, instead of finding the bedroom I just crawled down on the hardwood floor and curled up for the night.

So a little clicking from the motel air conditioner shouldn’t be a problem. Wrong.

I laid awake wishing the clicks would stop. I tried to read myself to sleep. I might’ve even partially imagined a scathing TripAdvisor review about this motel, knowing I’d type it out first thing in the morning when I heard from my wife about her miserable night.

Maybe I should’ve treated the clicks like counting sheep, only these sheep had me cursing this economic lodging decision.

So the next morning I expected my wife to be upset. If a sheet moves in the night, she hears it.

Nope. Her reason for sleeping late and missing breakfast? “I slept like a rock,” she said. “I never heard the clicks.”

Travel: where sleep isn’t guaranteed.

Lance Wiedower can be reached at tripsbylance.com.

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