Maximizing those travel freebies

Nothing cranks up a senior like finding one or several bargains. This is particularly true when on a road trip.

Recently, we hauled the gene pool back over a couple thousand clicks and had our bargain-hunting antennae set to super sensitive.

The first order of business was fuelling up. Just 20 bucks the first fill as it was three cents a litre less down the road 100 miles. Ka-ching!

Next it was coffee. Order it with a muffin and you’ve got a good start on breakfast for half the price.

Linger over the coffee and get a couple refills free. Then peel off the stickers and in no time you’ll have enough for a large free coffee. Ka-ching.

By the time I hit the border, my low fuel warning was beeping but only 10 more miles to the cheap fuel.

“Pay the toll in Canadian. It’s at par today,” I advise as my co-pilot scrambles in her purse for the correct change.

It only took 10 minutes, and the blaring of horns from the line of cars behind us, but we came out 40 cents ahead. Ka-ching!

With the car bucking and snorting, we finally coasted into the fuel station on the last of the fumes in the tank. No choice but to fill up even though the price was now three cents a litre higher than it was at the last station.

Complaining did not help, so a little less ka-ching.

The engine sputtered and finally came to life, sort of—firing on all cylinders part of the time. Is it just an airlock or did running it dry damage the injector system? Oh well, warranty I guess.

We rolled on up the road—coasting down the hills and decelerating up the other side. It improves the fuel economy. The trucks and SUVs blowing past us at 70 m.p.h. plus giving us dirty looks did not faze me a bit.

I held it steady in the centre lane. Economy. Ka-ching.

Finally time to book a motel. Now this is serious business. Not only do you need to get the best rate, you need to hit the one with the best “free” breakfast, plus rewards points.

Fortunately, having travelled this route, before I knew where to look. Ground floor, pool, a/c, seniors’ discount, and free breakfast with a fresh hot waffle machine.

This last is the crème de la crème. I have a database of the best ones from years of travel.

Operating the waffle machine was a mystery at the first one a few years back. The bowl of glutinous grey stuff sitting next to the machine I presumed was the waffle mix. Taking a large scoop, I dumped it into the hot waffle iron, closed the lid, and rotated the device as directed.

The mixture sputtered, began to spout grease and batter out the side of the hot iron, and emit a smell reminiscent of over-done KFC.

Black smoke began to roll off the unit and it dawned on me that I had dumped chicken gravy, not waffle batter, into the iron.

I pulled the plug and managed to sit innocently at a corner table eating my cold cereal as other patrons trickled in cursing the idiot who had made such a mess of their breakfast routine.

“Don’t worry, I’ll pull the video surveillance and identify the nitwit who did this,” stormed the desk clerk, who was trying, but failing, to clean up the mess.

I finished up and was five miles down the road before she ever got the tape queued up.

But then I won’t be staying at that motel again, anyways.