Thank goodness the hotel room at the Crowne Plaza in Asheville, N.C., was above average in size and decor, because I spent a lot of time in it. Why, you may ask in such a beautiful city where the Chamber of Commerce has a list of 101 things to do when you're in Asheville?
I wasn't going to admit to the reason, but on second - and third - thoughts, I believe it is one of the best travel tips I could share.
At the registration desk at the hotel I was asked to show identification, which of course would be my driver's license. I acknowledged and opened my wallet to get my license.
The license was not there. It is always in the window of the wallet. I panicked, and while the suspicious hotel clerk watched, I rummaged through the wallet and then my purse. He eventually decided to trust me and issued keys to a very nice first-floor room where I could park the car in front of the sliding doors onto the parking lot. Such a plan is a great set-up for unloading the car and also for Digby to see out and go out when necessary.
This hotel and golf resort is so pet-friendly that another guest asked if there had been a dog convention because she had seen about 10 dogs in the parking lot when she arrived. No convention, but the word gets out when a place is pet-friendly.
I had deliberately arrived in Asheville about noon to have a full afternoon to roam around the city. Instead, the entire time had to be given over to the missing driver's license. In the frustration, I even vowed to go back home and forget a winter sojourn. But, I couldn't without a license, even though I had driven from Michigan to North Carolina without it.
I frantically called AAA, my insurance company, and a friend back home whose daughter is a deputy sheriff, and of course tore the car apart and feverishly went through my entire luggage.
Then I gathered my wits and made the right call to the Lenawee County office of the Michigan Department of State in Adrian, and from there was transferred to a department in Lansing that handles such problems. You can imagine how long the telephone waits were to get to the right people. It was the day before Thanksgiving, which probably made it worse, or it seemed like it anyway. But this was not the right time to lose my temper. I needed help.
The woman at the Lansing office was most sympathetic and said she would send a temporary license UPS next day air. Next day translated to two days because of Thanksgiving.
The afternoon nightmare took almost four hours. I had dinner that night and also on Thanksgiving in the hotel, spent time chatting with other guests, walked with Digby, and did some writing. On the one short drive when I ventured out I was a nervous wreck for fear I would be in an accident or go over the speed limit. Without a license it was best to stay safe in the hotel.
A firm believer that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, I called the hotel front desk and UPS several times Friday morning to track the package. At 10:30 a.m., just as promised, the UPS truck arrived. I was in the driveway to meet it. Soon I was heading south again for Aiken, S.C., my next destination for a week.
I have no idea what happened to my license. I would like to think it was misplaced at an airport where it has to be shown for security. I may never find it. In the meantime make sure you have yours. I hope I never lose mine again!
Does anyone have the Tom and Jerry drink recipe that was served over the holidays at Dyer's in downtown Toledo and at the Northwood Inn? If you do would you please send it to Josh McDevitt at Mulligan's Bar, Crowne Plaza, One Holiday Inn Drive, Asheville, N.C., 28806? Or you can e-mail the recipe to me and I will send it on to him.
Josh is the bartender at Mulligans, and for Thanksgiving he concocted the Mayflower Martini, a mix of vodka, apple schnapps, midori, and apple juice, and he lamented that he didn't sell many Mayflowers. I promised him that a few batches of Toledo's Tom and Jerrys would be a great improvement for the Christmas holidays.