Shit got real. I have this nasty feeling that something is going to happen to keep me from this trip. Either some big expense will come along or I’ll realize this is a lot of money to spend on myself and I’ll cancel. I’ve been telling lots of people and keeping this blog so I get to the point where I will be too embarrassed to quit. Well today I took a big step, I booked my first set of rooms!

I had no intentions of working on the trip today especially before 6:00am on Friday morning. When I checked my email this morning there was a survey from Coke about using my reward points. I have loads of Coke points due to my unhealthy Diet Coke obsession. I answered the survey by stating I want more travel deals. In the past the points could get serious discounts at hotels. In October 2010 I found a deal that marked a $75 a night motel room down to $55 a night for three days using 900 coke points. To put that in perspective I can now get a $10 Amazon gift for 690 points. Inflation!

The travel reward Coke currently offers is a $50 gift card to In order to use it though, you have to stay for a minimum of two nights and the rates aren’t that great. Three times on my trip I’m staying at a place for two or more nights and one of those places I’m sleeping at a friend’s house. I checked the rates on the MHGC for the city where I’ll be spending three nights and the rates were acceptable but I figured I’d look at Priceline, Expedia, and TripAdvisor to compare. Expedia dangled a low price in front of me with a note in red saying “only 1 room available.” I jumped on it and got a rush of endorphins!

Without delay I checked the other city where I’ll be spending two nights. Same result, Expedia destroyed MHGC even with the $50 off. The motel I originally was looking at no longer had rooms on any site, but no fear, I found another place, cheaper and in the same area, with decent reviews. I booked it! I have confirmation!

I now have 5 nights lodging booked and arrangements with friends for 4 other nights. Currently I’m looking at $309.38 for 9 nights. I don’t feel too foolish that I did this so impulsively because those are some great rates. Moving forward though I have to do more research to compare online sites with speaking directly to the motel and mentioning my AAA membership. Eleven nights of planning left to go!

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