If I'm in town, you're out-of-luck when it comes to getting that wonderful first-floor, non-smoking room with a roll-in shower.
Although I'm not wheelchair-bound, it's so much easier for me to enter a shower at floor-level than to climb over the edge of a bathtub.
Ever since I experienced such a room at another motel in Iowa along those lines back in 1997, I've sought out these rooms when I travel.
The one at the Red Roof Inn in Michigan City, IN is, likely, my very favorite one.
How could it be otherwise?
After all, it's so close to one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Robin Marshall (the manager there) has told me that he has started thinking of Room #107 as The Phillips Room.
Since this room becomes a kind of retreat for me where I can keep the hours of my choosing, I request no housekeeping during my stay and, also, request extra towels. The latter is for making a carpet of sorts for the bathroom floor. A person (such as myself) with a trick-knee really can't afford to risk a sudden skid.
I begin to build my room, constructing freestanding plastic shelves to hold food items and other things I've either brought from home or have gotten there.
There's an abundance of drawer space, but I don't travel lightly when I'm planning on spending several days in an area, so I want even more space.
I move the small, round, chairside table into the bathroom to hold my books, as I love to read on the toilet.
When I'm in the room, I can choose watching TV from my bed, from my recliner chair, or from a straight-back chair. I generally use the straight-back chairs for holding items, choosing the softer surfaces for relaxing.
The shower beckons me, and so, I go into that roomy space and pamper myself with a choice of two options: the attached-to-the-wall shower head or the hand-held one. For most of the time, I prefer the latter but also find the former useful for leaving my hands free for massaging my scalp at the same time while washing my hair.
Some of the time, I stand. Most of the time, I sit on the comfortable, wooden, pull-down bench that I have softened with a towel or two.
If I want to have the room freshened up in any way while I'm there, Karen or another housekeeper is always happy to come in. If not, I simply either trade some of the towels for new ones as needed, either from the cart or else up at the office, which is only a short walking distance from my room.
How refreshing are those long, soothing showers--and they give me extra energy for going out and exploring my surroundings. Perhaps, I'll be going to the unusually-fancy service station and convenience store that's across Hwy. 421 from the motel. Maybe, I'll be eating breakfast or lunch at Westy's M & M Restaurant (at tradition since the late 1940s, though not always owned by Westy--a creative chef who comes up with such items as green pepper soup and smoked sausage soup). I might drive over to Chesterton to explore this quaint, little town, mail off postcards from their beautiful, new post office, or enjoy a picnic in the old cemetery that I have brought there from a deli.
One thing for sure is I know where I will be at sunset. I will be at the lakeshore with camera-in-hand preserving those precious, Lake Michigan moments and memories. I will be driving along the road with my window rolled down on the lakeside to catch the soothing song of the waves. At night, I'll be tossing little snacks to raccoon families before returning to Michigan City to relax in the shower and turn in for the night in order to enjoy another day.
So many possibilities for another day: browsing and, occasionally, buying at The Schoolhouse Shoppe in Furnessville; looking for Canada Geese couples and their goslings following behind them in a line; driving along the lake in the daytime. And, always, with my camera very handy.
I might drive over to New Buffalo, Michigan to eat at an unusual, one-of-a-kind ice cream parlour called Oink's Dutch Treat that has a decor that is partially pig-themed and partially Americana-themed.
Perhaps, I'll feed the seagulls.
Nearly daily, I'll drive over to Indiana Dunes State Park, taking the bridge just west of Tremont to get there and looking down at the double tracks to see if any trains are on the way. This is the run of the South Bend South Shore Line, one of the only interurbans that have remained in continuous operation here in the USA.
And, each night, my room greets me like an old friend.
It's not anything elaborate, but it's very attractive and comfortable--and the price is definitely right!
I once told Robin that Room #107 was my lakeside cottage--this in spite of the fact that it's actually several miles from Lake Michigan.
Eventually, it's time to break camp, and I have the challenge of taking everything apart and packing it back into my minivan.
Just as I took the relaxing backroads to get there, I return by the relaxing backroads.
Before I leave, I say a final farewell to Lake Michigan until the next time...
In closing, let me say that, if I'm in town, you're out-of-luck for Room #107, but don't worry because the people I've observed staying in the other rooms also seemed to be very content, and there are many return visitors to The Red Roof Inn in Michigan City, Indiana.