In the past fortnight, we have stayed in:
A beautiful hilltop house near Charlottesville with The Doctor's Virginian cousins (this, needless to say, was the highlight of the trip)
A mountain lodge motel in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, with unreformed, country-style cooking, eccentric fellow guests and bears in the backyard
Two Holiday Inns, one huge and sumptous and in the middle of nowheresville, New Jersey, one rather downmarket and in the central business district of Long Island. Funny how chains can be so homogenous and yet vary so wildly in quality....
A distinctly grotty motel in Eastern Long Island. This was in a great location, and had the advantage of a fridge and cooker, but was tiny with nowhere to eat in the room. Perhaps the low point was the Littleboys eating their Weetabix (which I have faithfully carried around with me) on the doorstep in the pouring rain, prompting the Doctor to comment that we finally looked like 'poor white trash'.
I am now seriously beginning to tire of washing boys' filthy bibs and milk cups in bathroom sinks, trotting down to the basement of hotels to do laundry (the corridor in this one looks like something out of The Shining), unpacking and repacking suitcases, and going to bed at the same time as the boys (as late as 10pm, which only has the advantage that they sleep in in the morning). And the joys of eating out every night start to pall when one has to find somewhere suitable for two lively boys where they can have something to eat other than chips and ketchup.
On the plus side, we have spent the past two days taking a look at Long Island's glorious beaches, in beautiful summer weather. We had a superb time in Virginia, catching up with relations of The Doctor's we last saw 15 years ago, and easing ourselves into their laid-back, Southern way of living. We have walked in the mountains and woods (I've picked several deer ticks off the Littleboys already...), paddled in the sea, driven on terrifying Interstates, shopped in huge malls and eaten in diners.
Our American experience has truly begun.