Being a woodworker, I rate hotels based on comparing the quality of their towels to various sandpaper grits.

Sandpaper grits are scored on their varying degrees of their rough surfaces. If you wanted to remove large portions of wood, or skin, you would use a 60-grit sandpaper that leaves scratches as deep as the Grand Canyon. If you wanted a smooth surface to piece of furniture or, your fingernails after you clipped them, you’d use a 1500 grit (the texture of fingernail files).

For example, the Comfort Inn Suites in St. Charles, Missouri, our first stop on the trip, I gave a rating of 120 grit. Not coarse enough to start surface bleeding but still coarse enough to leave welts if rubbed vigorously. 

After the past twenty-plus years of traveling by plane, trains, automobiles, and the occasional ox-drawn cart (not kidding), I’ve come up with a few helpful travel tips.

Lodging: I’ve stayed tents in Africa where we were awakened by troop of baboons murdering a dog. Large groups of baboons have also been called a congress. I prefer the latter; it makes more sense.

I’ve also stayed in five-star hotels (someone else paid that bill, not me), and I’ve come up with a couple of questions that I ask before I book the hotel:

1. Is this just for a quick overnight stay? The 120 grit towels are fine.

2. Am I going to be there a while and it’s my home away from home for a few days? Then I jump up to about 600-grit. 

How do I determine grit? The price of the hotel and the reviews. I almost always use a third party (Orbitz, Expedia, Etc.) because they have the most honest reviews. 

Clothing: No more than four changes of clothes. If I’m gone for longer than four days, I still only take four complete changes of clothes. First, if you are gone for, let’s say, two weeks and have fourteen changes of clothes, you’re going to be mixing your stinky old clothes with your fresh clothes after the third day. I have learned through hundreds of thousands of miles of travel that you can get your clothes cleaned anywhere, even the hotel sink and the shower rod as a drying line. 

Gas stations: I can tell how clean the bathrooms before I ever go inside by two things: 1. How clean and pot-hole free the driveway and parking lot are: 2. If the windshield washing tub is filled with clean, soapy water and a decent scrubber. If it’s filthy, or empty, you can bet the bathroom smells like a troop of baboons have been in there.

Happy travels!