A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

NorCal Day 4 (Tennessee Valley Beach & Carson Falls)

In case  you missed...

After the absolute craziness of the night before, (If you missed this post, you gotta go back and check it out!) Paul and I were able to wake up refreshed at America's Best Value Inn in Mill Valley. We "slept in" until 8am. I needed that. I was up pretty late searching for a hotel for us to stay at for the next two nights since we were only at this one for one night. We probably could've booked this one for two more nights but I did not like how rude the front desk clerk was to us when we were checking in the night before.

Okay, I guess I have to tell you the story.

On Thursday night, we fled the Stinson Beach Motel and drove to America's Best Value Inn in Mill Valley. Hotels.com gave the place okay reviews and advertised it for $127 for the night. But I didn't book it on Hotels.com because after the scare in Stinson Beach, I wanted to see the hotel for myself before I booked it.

We rolled up to the front desk and a woman about my age was working. I later found out it was her property. I asked if they had any rooms for the night and she said yes. I asked her how much a room would be and she say $199.

"Why is it advertised as $127 on Hotels.com?" I asked her.

"No, that is not right."

"This is America's Best Value Inn, right?"

"Yes, that is correct but that is not right. We only have one room left and it's $199."

I looked at Paul. "Let's find somewhere else," I told him. That was too much money and I was sure we could find something cheaper.

"Okay, $179," the clerk said.

"No thank you," I said and started to walk away. I was not playing games, I really did want to go somewhere else.

"$159," the clerk said.

"Why does the price keep changing?" I asked the clerk.

Now the clerk was exasperated with me and started getting rude. "I only have one room tonight, I need to sell this room. I'm not lying! You want to see?" she asked and motioned to her computer.

"I believe you," I told the woman. "I just think it's weird the price keeps changing and that you are giving me a different price than advertised."

"So $159 for the night?" Paul asked. "Let's just stay here, Megan."

I did not want to, but we did. As much as I like to be in charge and make decisions, I have to let Paul make decisions sometimes too!

"I'll show you the room first," the clerk said.


"Do you want a room in the front or the back?" the clerk asked.

"The front," Paul said.


The room was fine, we booked it for the night, and all was good. But I was pissed at the clerk for treating us with such disdain and I wrote a bad review for the place on Trip Advisor. I think it is hard for me to convey to you through words the way her tone and exasperation was with us. If there's one thing I hate, it is when I go somewhere to pay for a service and I'm treated like I'm a piece of crap or that I'm a BOTHER. Why do you have a freaking hotel if you're going to treat potential customers like they are a bother to you!?

There's the story! Now, on with what turned out to be a WONDERFUL day of hiking!

First, we drove about 10 minutes to the Tennessee Valley Beach trail head and hiked 4 miles round trip to Tennessee Beach. This was not a difficult hike and it was so freaking gorgeous! We sat on the beach for a long time just looking around. We even saw a WHALE!

 I can see the ocean!

There was an overlook we hiked up to so we could get an aerial view of the beach.

We found this little underground room... not sure what it was! Paul was brave and went inside.

California cares very much about keeping the earth clean!

After that, we went to Starbucks for some caffeine and I called the Marin County Department of Health to report the Stinson Beach Motel! I got their answering service so I left a message.

Fueled with caffeine, we headed to our next hike- Carson Falls. This hike was difficult because it was really hilly and most of it exposed us to direct sunlight. I got a little burned and I'm mad at myself for not putting on sunblock!

Unfortunately, when we got to Carson Falls, the roaring falls was just a teeny trickle. Oops. I should have checked to see if it was dried up by now or not! Oh well, it was still a very beautiful hike.

Always got my mountain lion stick. Always.

This 4 mile hike put us up to 8 miles of hiking for the day! Not too shabby. It was time to check in at the hotel we'd be staying at for the rest of our trip- The 4 Points Sheraton in San Rafael. It was a lot more money than I wanted to pay and 40 minutes from where we wanted to stay, but those were the breaks.

The hotel was very nice, but I felt guilty about spending so much money. It was twice the price of what the Stinson Beach Motel would have cost us. But the bed was very comfortable and it provided me a really good night's sleep before my race.

We were depleted by this point and needed dinner. I found a pizza place not too far away that got excellent reviews. We shared a small salad, tomato soup, and a pizza. The service was excellent and the food was DIVINE. This turned out to be our best meal of our trip!



Great place!

Bedtime came early. RACE DAY TOMORROW!
Do you ever feel guilty spending lots of money?
Where was the last place you hiked?
Any rude hotel clerk stories?


  1. We don't really have anywhere to hike here! But around Christmas, we went to visit Clay's grandparents and went on a hike there in the NC mountains and that was nice. It was a fairly short hike because they're older so only Clay and I went, but it was fun. So sorry about all the hotel drama you guys went through too, it just sounds complicated all around. I haven't encountered too many rude hotel clerks because normally I'm travelling for work and we stay at a Holiday Inn Express or something, so they're generally pretty nice to work travellers. Most of the rude people I've encountered in the service industry have been fast food workers or gas station people!

    I try not to feel guilty spending money on things like vacations and other stuff that brings me joy. You can't take it with you and it's worth it to spend on experiences vs. stuff!

    1. That is so sad there is nowhere to hike in South Carolina! I enjoy hiking and trail running so much. Holiday Inn Expresses are really nice. There was one across the street from our place and it was a little more expensive. I wanted to go over there just because we were treated so rudely! I try not to feel guilty about spending money on vacations too, because you are right, experiences are way better than STUFF. I mean, the beauty of the hikes we went on.... priceless!

  2. That seemed like such a beautiful hike and with views that should be on postcards!

    I was thinking everything you mentioned about that Hotel: Why is the price different? Now why is she giving you a choice since there was only one room? Was there a way that you could have stood right in the lobby and booked the same room online from your phone? Now that would have been funny. I wonder if that $127 would have been the price before taxes and other fees they may have added? I'm glad that you ended up staying at a nice place for the duration of the trip. I bet it was worth it to get a good night sleep and feel safe (and clean). We had some mishaps with our room at the resort we just stayed in but everyone was super nice about it.

    I bet these people at some of these shadier hotels don't feel they need to go out of their way because they probably think people are just passing through and they wont ever get their business again (which isn't right, but I'm just sayin)!

    1. You are right, the scenery should be on postcards! There are just so many beautiful places to visit in the USA. I am not sure I could've booked the room on my phone there in the lobby. It would have been a little awkward since it was only me, Paul and the woman in the lobby. And I will be honest, I was a little fried at this point. Such a long drive down the coast and then the freaking experience at the Stinson Beach Motel. It was just nuts. $127 was the price before taxes and fees, but with the $159 price she gave us, it turned out to be around $175 with taxes, etc.

  3. OMG Megan I would have been LIVID after that hotel pricing experience, especially after she lied about how many rooms she had available, and was so cavalier about it later offering you two different rooms. I would have blown a gasket. You are a good wife for letting Paul make a decision there. I sometimes allow Adam to make decisions too (lol) but in that case it would have literally killed me to give her any money for a room. I am often dramatic but seriously just reading the story annoyed me!

    Sorry to hear Carson didn't have any falls, and I'm sure those hills were crazy, but what beautiful scenery! And the pizza sounds so good! Now I want pizza... although now that I can't eat gluten OR cheese pizza isn't really pizza. It's like ... sad LOL!

    1. Thank you for telling me I am a good wife because I don't always feel like I am one! But I am in control so much (partially because I am controlling and partially because Paul is sooooo noooot controlling...) but he wanted to just be done with the day and end the drama, so we did.

      I feel like I would rather give up gluten than dairy. What do you think???

  4. I will splurge for nice hotel rooms because cleanliness, quiet, and safety mean a lot to me. I was nervous when I moved up to CO because I needed a hotel that accepted pets, and I stayed in the Texas panhandle. I made sure to leave a good review because it was a good price, clean, quiet, and close to food choices for dinner.

    1. I need to remember to leave reviews when places are good, not just when they are bad!

  5. What a beautiful hike!

    You just didn't have any luck on this trip with hotels! I'm glad you stood your ground and almost walked out! It is infuriating that a business that wants your money, is not wiling to at least be pleasant.

    I don't feel guilty on spending money on food, but I feel guilty about spending money on clothes.

    1. Yeah, I feel like clothes constitutes as "stuff" and I feel bad spending money on stuff... though I did buy a lot of stuff for my garden this summer. This has been a spendy summer. I mean, we got a new freaking ROOF.

  6. I know I am thankful Paul can keep up with me! ;) I'm about the bargain too, as long as it is safe!