As I said a few posts ago,
today has been a busy day. We finally made it to Great Falls, Montana. And I have my second FREEBIE hotel room! Please look at the following picture and tell me what you think it means. Do you think if you stay at two different hotels in the program, you'll get a FREE NIGHT? Like it says? Well, then you would be wrong. I will, at a later date, explain to you how the Choice Hotel / Choice Privileges program, "Stay Two Nights/Get One Free," works. Just as soon as I figure it out myself. Suffice it to say, it ain't what it purports to be. I've been on the road since September 15, and as of October 2, that's just over two weeks. I've been staying every night in one of the hotels in this program, usually a Comfort Inn and I've just earned my second freebie. I want to understand Choice Privilege's "Stay Two Nights/Get One Free" crap. Truly I do. But it's not that simple. There is a gray area of increasing darkness which has sucked me in. This gray area involves "points." I did redeem my "points" in Independence, MO, and got a terrific SUITE. That was my first Freebie. Note: I did not ask for a suite. I always ask for first floor, two beds, hopefully a microwave and a fridge, and non-smoking is a given. The suite in Independence took away 20,000 points. I've yet to find anyone at a Comfort Inn or at the Choice 888-770-6800 number who can actually explain the intricacies involved with this point system. One guy at the Choice # told me at 8000 points you get a free night. No. You don't. I've yet to find a hotel that I can redeem for 8000 points. The point value of the hotel randomly varies. I've stayed in dumps - Hello, Red Lodge, Montana, Comfort Inn - that required 20,000 points. Also, in the brochure, it says you can earn more points with other services, for example, AT&T. Hey! My cell phone is AT&T. I called the 888 number several times in order to take advantage of these "extra points." Nobody knew what I was talking about, even though there was some vague mention about it in the brochure. After numerous calls to the 888 number, someone finally told me I had to be a NEW customer of AT&T in order to be eligible for more points- not a loyal, paying-on-time customer for the past five years plus. I was on hold with Choice Privileges the other afternoon, waiting to make yet another reservation, and I was getting this recording, over and over and over: "Now when you stay 2 separate times you can earn a free night at over 1500 Choice hotels with Choice Privileges." Ummm. No. Apparently it all depends on those elusive POINTS. And if you stay in the same hotel for two nights, you do NOT get points for the second night. To paraphrase Mr. Hawthorne, "If I'm gonna be screwed, I'd at least like to have an orgasm." Well, enough about Choice Hotels/Privileges. If they contact me and give me a lifetime of freebies, preferably in Hawaii in December through February, then I might write a favorable post about this crap. Until then, Choice Hotels/Privileges, do something about your deceptive and misleading promotion. Because, basically, you suck.
Here's my Freebie in Great Falls:
And what's this?
We took a little stroll down the street that evening. Music is coming from the street lamps. So's, we're walking down the street.
Too bad I didn't have a polarizing filter for my little Nikon Coolpic camera so I could get the reflections out. Mr. Hawthorne wanted me to go in and pick out a few items.
Across the street were Kid Russell and Monte. The plaque reads: "KID RUSSELL & MONTE" circa 1889 by Buckeye Blake Sponsored and Financed by D.A. Davidson & Co. 1986 on behalf of the people of Great Falls
The most famous son of Great Falls is Charles Marion Russell, the cowboy artist. Born in 1864 in Oak Hill, Missouri, the young Russell had dreams of going to the wild west. At the age of 16 he traveled to Montana where he worked first on a sheep ranch and later as a cattle hand, where he was known as “Kid Russell”. Russell started making sketches of life as a cowboy and wrangler which became so popular that after 11 years he retired to become a full time artist. He married in 1896 and the following year he and his wife moved to Great Falls, where he lived until his death in 1926. This 1986 statue in Central Avenue by Buckeye Blake commemorates Russell’s days working as a cowboy and wrangler with his horse Monty (or Monte).
The next morning, we headed for Subway for breakfast. Subway, thankfully, was closed, and we ended up at the Tap House Grill for breakfast. It's right next to the hotel.
I'm checking out the menu and it's truly something else. I would use the word "awesome" except that I don't use that word. It's not in my vocabulary. There are two words I hate: One is "awesome" and the other is "absolutely." I despise it when I'm listening to news anchors, or anybody else for that matter, and they reply to a question or a statement with, "Absolutely." It means NOTHING, so please stop doing it. Thankyouverymuch.
Just look at the French Toasts they offer: Le French Toast - French bread dredged in vanilla custard and grilled. Tropical Cobblestone - Hand crafted Artisan bread, layered sweet spices, brown sugar, candy mango, papaya, coconut and pistachios. Then dredged in vanilla custard and grilled. Stuffed French Toast - Stuffed with peanut butter and dark chocolate, then dredged in vanilla custard and deep fried. Oh my. And I'm not that fond of peanut butter.
Mr. Hawthorne decided on the Classic Eggs Benedict, even though he knew it wouldn't hold a candle to mine. They were good. Quite passable. But they weren't mine. I have spinach in mine - sort of an Eggs Benedict Florentine. Mine are sublime. You'd just have to experience them to know.
I'd almost settled on the Calzones, when I turned to this page. I'm pretty darn sure I ordered off of this page, but what I ordered doesn't match up with these skillet recipes. Check out my pictures later and see if you can figure it out. I KNOW I ordered from this page. While I was waiting for our breakfasts to be served, I was checking out the Wings offerings. I think Imonna have to recreate some of these when I get home.
One of my regular readers, Ange from Wisconsin, has emailed me that she's taking care of all these recipes I want to remember and make when I return home. Thanks, BIG TIME, Ange! Ange actually has made a spreadsheet with all the recipes I've mentioned I want to do since the beginning of our trip. If the word "awesome" were in my vocabulary, I'd use it to describe Ange. So Ange, please add the assorted wings and the upcoming breakfast skillet things, and the French toasts to your spreadsheet. Thanks, oodles!
There was some beautiful stuff in there. When I get home, I'll have to recreate some of these, too. Even though I don't know what it is. And breakfast is served: Here are Mr. Hawthorne's Eggs Benedict with hash browns. Quite good. But not mine. They lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. Ils ne pas moi.
I'm thinking there were eggs in there, some chili, some hash browns. I forget if there was bacon in it. Or sausage. There was a lot of cheese. I do remember it was huge and it was delicious. Bottom lines I remember. I just can't compare it to the skillet menus and figure out which one it was. I'll be making this for all my little Hawthornes when I get home and they're back home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. ANGE? Take notes!