CPWSA  Adventure Travel

Rumor has it our CPWSA travel company subsidiary has been nominated as one of the best adventure travel companies on earth.  We look forward to the final results to see where we end up on the list.

We offer a variety of travel planning and registration services for your pleasure, convenience, and excitement.  Listed below are some of our recommendations.  Complete with cleanliness and adventure ratings in chronological order.  Ratings are depicted as brooms for cleanliness and bullets for adventure.  Five brooms means you can leave your cleaning and sanitation equipment at home, and five bullets means you better keep at least five rounds loaded at all times. 

Disclaimer:  past performance is no guarantee of future returns.


Hampton Inn Airport - Columbus, GA - after taking a hiatus from shooting major matches, the Army Marksmanship Unit hosted the Ft. Benning 3 Gun Match for the first time in about 5 years so we had to make the trip. Where else can you shoot SAWs, grenade launchers, ride in Strykers, and do other John Wayne stuff as part of a match? I will say they can keep their gas mask. That's the first and last time I hope to have to shoot wearing one of those things. I will also state for the record the barbed wire on stage 10 was really sharp. Anyway, our highly paid Reservation Acquisition Engineer put us up at the Hampton Inn Airport. This was one of the old style motels where you enter each room from outside, as opposed to from an internal hallway. A dated concept, but with the added advantage of being able to park right outside your ground floor room which makes loading and unloading the truck a piece of cake. They honored our request for ground floor rooms so all was well, or so I thought. I took a quick glance two doors down and saw two pieces of plywood covering the hole where the large room window used to be. That caught my eye so I walked down there and then saw the shrubs beside the sidewalk all mangled with tire tracks in the dirt. It's now obvious to my highly trained eye that someone has overshot their parking spot, drove through the shrubs, and into the ground floor room just two doors down from my room. While we consider this blog a serious reference source for the traveling professional, some people seem to enjoy reading our work for comic relief and have gone so far as to accuse us of inflating the truth. This is not the case on any of our reviews and here's the picture to prove I'm not taking liberties in describing the damage done to this room.

If you read, or are familiar with our other Adventure Travel reports, you know we've stayed in some "interesting" places, but the new drive through window two doors down left me feeling a bit apprehensive. I've always got my carry gun with me, and have actually loaded the long gun in a couple of places, but this presents a new security challenge. I take a lot of gear to a big match, but a Jersey barrier isn't something I usually pack. I parallel parked my truck in front of my room each night figuring if a similar incident took place, that a damaged truck would be far preferable to damaged body parts. After getting the truck properly positioned, I go into the room and it's 90 degrees in there. I figured the Property Sanitation Engineer has simply turned the heater on high while cleaning the room and forgot to turn it off. I soon realize that if the unit is on, it's on high heat, there's no low heat or cooling of any type. It's high heat or nothing. OK, it's late so I turn the unit off and try to get some sleep. I awake the next morning and discover I can use a brand new hole in my belt that I've never used before. Spending the night in a sweat lodge does have it's benefits I suppose. Fortunately, no one penetrated our window or door perimeter with a vehicle while we were there, and leaving the heater in the room turned off meant it was only about 80 degrees in there when we left three days later. Food at the Texas Roadhouse was as good as ever, but I've got it on pretty good authority the  El Vaquero ain't what it used to be. I've got to go now and change my adult diaper. They make a great bandage for multiple barbed wire injuries to the backside.

Rating:   

Note:
We had to add a car icon to our ratings for the first time ever.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hyatt - Hoover  AL - we made a couple of trips over to B'ham, (Hoover to be exact) for long range rifle events at Brock's Gap Training Center, or Steel City as it's known locally.  We decided to shoot some long range rifle for a change of pace and it was a lot of fun.  There was an orientation/training/sight-in event followed by a formal competition a few weeks later.  The match was similar to some major 3 gun matches in that they also like to run you up a mountain before they let you shoot at something.  The major difference here was you had to carry all the gear and ammo you needed for 3 stages instead of just that one stage.  This introduced even more "fun" into the event.  David Tapp and team did an awesome job as usual in putting on the match.  Our Facilities Acquisition Engineer (FAE) secured us a room at the Hyatt.  It was a fancy place. Big flat screen TVs and a sitting area was a nice departure from the type of places we normally stay.  Our new FAE apparently has much better tastes, or a bigger budget, than our previous FAE.  I'm not sure the new FAE understands the dynamic around Adventure Travel however.  After all, there's not much adventure in taking a hoveround down a paved bike path, and you likely won't catch many catfish in a trout stream.  I'll be having that discussion with him during our next annual review.  Despite our urging, the new FAE decided to not attend the orientation event.  An opportunity presented itself to have some fun with him on the return trip so we couldn't turn it down.  We should probably change the names to protect the innocent (or guilty if you prefer), so let's call the new FAE Mark Leeber.  He's calling and sending us text messages all day long wanting to know how things are going; are we having fun; what distances we're shooting, etc.  It was obvious he was regretting his decision to not attend the event, so we "enhanced" some of the benefits we received from attending.  All participants received a discount coupon from a major chassis provider.  The discount was appreciable, but we told him it was a full 50% off.  There were a couple of team competitions during the orientation event.  Instead of the hat and tee shirt awards (which were nice by the way) we told him each winner got a full case of Federal 168 Gold Medal Match .308 ammo.  A couple of participants who had suppressors on their long guns led us to the creation of a fictitious product demonstration provided by a major suppressor and night vision equipment manufacturer, complete with free ammo provided for the demo and 30% off discount coupons for the purchase of their products.  Obviously, night vision gear is best demoed in the dark, so we were actually back at home in the easy chair with a frosty beverage, still texting him about the events going on at the range.  We literally told him everything short of us running over the golden goose on the way home and stopping to pick up the golden eggs strewn all over the interstate as a result of the crash.  As outrageous as it was, he bought it all hook, line, and sinker.  When he called a couple of days later to ask questions about some of the product we demoed, we realized we had never told him the truth about what actually happened.  In the interim, we learn he's messaged a number of people expressing discontent in his decision not to attend the event and promising not to make that mistake again the next time such an event is held.  It was a barrel of fun for us and a painful lesson for him, but hey.......someone that gullible needs to be taken advantage of now and again for their own good.  OK, gotta run.  Need to call the FAE to help mount my rifle into my new chassis which I purchased at half off, and sighted in with the free case of ammo I won.

Rating: 

____________________________________________________________________________________

Hampton Inn - Inwood  WV - made the trip up to the FNH USA 3 Gun Championship for the second time.  This is a great match to shoot and the Peacekeeper Range is an awesome facility.  No unpleasant surprises at the hotel.  They honored our request for a ground floor room, the coffee was hot, and the breakfast was good.  They still have the awesome cookies at the front desk as well.  The Piccadilly Public House in Winchester VA, just a short drive away, got our dinner business every night except for the night of the awards banquet (and then it was a toss up).  The Public House is a great place to eat.  Well worth the detour if you're around Winchester on I-81 at meal time.  Winchester had some surprises in store for us that we weren't expecting.  The funniest thing was an elderly lady in line at the KFC drive through in her motorized wheelchair, (a hover round I'm told they're formally called) complete with a six foot bicycle safety flag, and decorated a bit early for the holidays with Christmas tree tinsel.  I guess when it comes to getting your KFC fix, you do what you gotta do.  I should have stopped and snapped a few pictures and interviewed the lady and sold the whole thing to the marketing department at KFC.  I'd probably be a rich man by now. 

Rating:


Holiday Inn Express - Cedar Park  TX -  we rolled (and rolled, and rolled, and rolled) out to the Texas Multi-Gun match for the second time in as many years.  Boy it's a long drive out there.    The trip back is a lot longer and even more expensive because of the extra weight.  Even though we shoot several pounds of ammo out there, that is more than offset by the weight gained from eating free brisket wraps, chips, donuts, and soft drinks for three days.  They say everything's bigger in Texas and my belly was no exception by the time I left.  I'll have to eat rabbit food for two months to lose the weight I gained out there in three days.  Dad-gone-it man.  The motel was nice and offered no opportunity for the adventure filled tales we've left other places with.  About all I can say about this one was "I couldn't hit them slug targets, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night".  They did have a fancy pancake maker I'd never seen before.  It worked like a copier.  You pushed a button and a pancake came out a roller on the end.  You didn't have to pour nothin' in it; keep an eye on a timer; nothin'.  Push a button and get a pancake.  Schweet!  I was such a nice guy I made pancakes for everybody in the place one morning.  OK to be honest, by the time my infatuation with this new fangled machine wore off, I had 52 pancakes laying there I had to do something with.  I was so full of brisket from the day before I sure couldn't eat them.  The service from the pancake machine was better than most anything we got anywhere in Cedar Park until our last night.  Up to that point it was good food and bad service, or bad food and good service, take your pick.  Cody at Saltgrass finally got it right the last night with a daily double of good food and good service.  This, despite Karaoke Karl threatening to deny him the opportunity of seeing his 21st birthday.  I felt sorry for the kid.  All he did was ask our newfound Karaoke superstar for an autograph.  I guess when fame is thrust upon one too quickly it takes a while to adjust.  Cody had seen Karaoke Karl's amazing performance the night before at El Porton.   But hey, with a performance like this you can't blame the kid for being star struck.

Rating: 


Residence Inn - St. Augustine FL - 3 Gun Nation finally got down to my place in the points standings so I got an invite to shoot the inaugural pro series match.  The Residence Inn I ended up staying at was really nice and had a flat screen TV in every room.  As Jed Clampett would say.....Weeeeedoggies.  I ended up at this place because I got an invite from team FNH saying I was welcome to the empty room they had in the suite they had booked for the weekend.  The opportunity to stay in a suite, was too sweet (hah!) to pass up, so I accepted their kind offer.  I figured saving a few bucks on the room would almost compensate for the bad company I would be in when I was actually in the room with them.  After all, I knew these guys before they were famous, and I knew it was going to take a lot more than a factory sponsorship to morph them into company anybody would want to keep for any extended period of time.  I packed a blue tee shirt and a white crayon and figured I'd draw me up a shirt and sneak in amongst the fancy FNH billboard shirts, and take advantage of some of them big time factory perks.  On the drive down, I had images of the limo picking us up at the suite to take us to the range;  hired help running around loading our magazines and carrying umbrellas over our heads to keep us out of the Florida sun; maybe a chilled drink brought by on occasion; you know....all those factory sponsored shooter perks.  Well, reality was a cold slap in the face.  As it turns out, I was their limo to and from the airport, to and from the range, to and from dinner, as well as their unused match ammo shipper.  I wouldn't be surprised if the room charge don't show up on my credit card as well.  So,  I figured I'd try to make the best of things and maybe salvage the weekend, and thought I might be able to do that when I learned we were going to get to go to dinner with a genuine country music star.  Once again I let me mind wander to my perceptions of the life of the rich and famous.  I pictured all the hot girls coming by our table for autographs, restaurant staff hanging around to cater to our every need, making sure the tea glass never got close to empty, free meals and lavish desserts.  Well, once again, reality hit hard.  The genuine country music star apparently has a knack for making table waiters mad and after that, you're lucky if you even get a tea glass, and if they keep it full, it's only so you get wetter when they decide to knock it over in your lap.  I guess you can be a genuine country music star and still be a doorknob.  Somebody at FNH finally caught on that something wasn't right with my shirt and made me take it off.  I think it was either because my name was spelled right on it or because I didn't leave a couple on the floor of the Fedex distribution center.  Alrighty then....enough for now.  I've got to go call my credit card company to dispute a room charge.  

Rating:      


Hampton Inn - Winchester VA - we made the trip up to the inaugural FNH 3-Gun Championship held at the Peacekeeper range in Glencary, WV.  Our new Event Planning and Reservation Acquisition Engineer reserved our rooms for this match.  I may have to actually give him some credit before too long as he is certainly getting better in his old age.  He secured ground floor adjoining rooms right by the exit for us.  The rooms were nice and the hotel offered the usual morning breakfast most of us have come to expect from any hotel that charges by the day instead of the hour.  There were plenty of restaurants and shopping opportunities nearby to fill your stomach or kill some time if there's no football on the television.  If you're considering some body piercing, the Winchester IHOP is a great place to see what's available, as it seemed everybody there had rings, studs, and loops stuck into themselves in multiple places.  I think that was the first time I've been served by someone with 4 earrings, 2 cheek studs, a lip ring, and a nose ring; and that's just what I could see!  I'm sure her uniform was covering the obligatory belly button ornament and some unknown number of other jewelry vents she was sporting.  I figured there must be a "piercing place" nearby, but all I saw was Mr. Jungs acupuncture office.  Maybe Jung moonlights as a permanent hole puncher as well, I don't know.  The Peacekeeper range is a very nice facility and gives most of us acreage envy after seeing the place.  You're certainly in the West Virginia sticks when you get there.  As my good friend Todd Jarrett says, the best way to get to the place is by helicopter.  Of course, most of us don't have the resources available to us to make that happen the way Todd does.  Anyway, if you have the opportunity to visit the place go for it.  Pack the deer rifle as there's plenty of opportunity to put some venison in the freezer as well.  Despite all the shooting going on, there's deer everywhere up there.  I was able to take a nice buck from the start position on stage 9 the last day.  He zigged when he should have zagged so we had tenderloin for supper.  Even the deer had a tag pinned to his ear.  Ol' Virginny just ain't what it used to be.

Rating:      

 


Sleep Inn - Camdenton  MO - since the match hotel at Lake of the Ozarks was full before we made reservations anywhere, we opted for the Sleep Inn in Camdenton and I'm glad we did.  This was a nice place.  They honored our request for a ground floor room and gave us our choice of rooms on the upper ground, or lower ground floors.  We chose the lower ground floor as the parking as closer to the room on this level.  The room was nice and clean with one of those showers that has enough water pressure to pin you against the back wall when you turn it on.   Awesome!  The free breakfast bar had the usual offerings with a seating area large enough to accommodate everyone there.  Nothing negative to say about this place at all, with the exception that they mentioned there may be a charge for a late checkout.  Thought that was a bit unusual.  We discovered a new hangout right close to the range, called Willowes.  It was close enough to run over at lunch if you wanted and was a nice place to relax after a day on the range before going back to the hotel.  The food was great and reasonably priced.  They catered to all types of clientele as evidenced by the variety of programs on their televisions.  There was a Nascar race, a MMA fight, a football game, and a stock report on for our viewing pleasure.  I figured they had all the bases covered with this selection.  I couldn't get them to turn on the cartoons for me though so I will have to give them negative marks for that. 

Rating: 

 


Comfort Inn - Cave City  KY - couldn't land a room at the match lodge, so ended up about 5 miles down the road at the Comfort Inn.  We stayed there for both the Industry Masters and the AR15.com Pro/Am match.  A pretty uneventful place, which isn't a bad thing I suppose.  Nothing really good or bad to say about the place.  The one advantage to this place is it's closer proximity to a variety of eating places in the area.  There's a Colton's Steak House down the road which will treat you right, an El Matzalan and Cracker Barrel right across the road, and an A&W where you can get an ice cold root beer after a long day on the road or the range.  Cave City is quite the little resort exit with Mammouth Cave about five miles away, and a variety of other entertainment offerings such as dinosaur museums, go-cart tracks, and other things.  There was one strange incident that happened.  A friend of mine, of Hardy Custom fame, went with me to help run the tables at the Pro/Am.  He wears his hair in a flat top all the time, and while his hair was only about a quarter of an inch long anyway, he decides he needs a haircut, so he takes off in my truck looking for a barber shop.  He found a beauty salon nearby, but the multi-tatooed, multi-pierced girl working there said she didn't know how to do a flat top haircut.  My friend decides after seeing her that he probably can't explain to her how to do one either and continues his search for a barber shop.  In his travels, he "says" he found this place in Cave City where you can spend the night in a traditional Native American wigwam.  He says they have this field full of wigwams available for customers wanting to experience this rare lodging opportunity.  I didn't see a head injury where they got the cutter too close to his head, and he later said he wasn't able to find a place to get a haircut anyway, so that wouldn't explain it.  A field full of wigwams.  Whoever heard of such a thing?  I'm wondering if maybe he didn't have too many root beers at the A&W.  I'm just glad he came back in my truck, instead of on his war pony. 

Rating:  

 


Quality Inn - West Memphis  AR - this was our first trip out to the AAC Suppressor Shoot and it was an awesome match.  Don't know why we waited until they moved the match from Georgia to Tennessee to shoot it.  Even though the stages were far from "relaxed", they got it right.  They about killed some of us the first day; climbing hills before stopping to gasp and shoot long range precision shots with all three guns; dragging weighted sleds and running through 275 yards of ankle deep sand in 100 degree heat; and other miscellaneous "challenges".  A sober reminder of what our troops are going through every day over in the desert; plus no one was shooting at us either.  We shot one stage the morning of the second day; had time for a leisurely breakfast of Special K and bananas (right!) at Cracker Barrel afterward, go check out of the motel, drive back over to the range for a great awards ceremony, and get back home by dark.  Sweet!  Anyway, back to our lodging critique.  In a word, I guess the motel was just unimpressive...which considering some of the places we've stayed in, isn't a bad thing.  They didn't honor our ground floor room request, and after finding out the place didn't have an elevator, we discovered they placed us as far down the hallway from the stairs as possible.  Oh well, things could be worse.  I just got a little more exercise humping my guns and gear from the truck, up the stairs, and down to the room and back the whole weekend.  I felt like I was shooting trooper division or something.  It did give me an opportunity to limber up my old bones before shooting the match each day.  Maybe they were looking out for our best interest after all, I don't know.  Coulton's Steak House has an awesome steak but you won't be impressed with the service.  Nor will you at Applebees, unless you have someone in your party with "pretty eyes", in which case every waitress in the place will find an excuse to stop by your table to chat.  Oh, and don't dare ask for different bread on the hamburger....you'll regret it for sure.

Rating:        

 


Comfort Inn - Boonville, MO - this was our third stay here and there's not much new to say.  There just aren't a lot of lodging options in Boonville, MO.  They again honored our request for adjoining ground floor rooms for the third year in a row; that's pretty impressive.  The roof didn't leak, so after shooting in the rain all day on Friday, a dry room was a luxury.  One of them deals where we went to a shooting match and a wet tee shirt contest broke out; we threw in wet boots, pants, and everything else just for good measure.  W.J.'s is still an awesome place to eat and we learned they'll feed you even if you come in wet, muddy, and nasty.  They might stick you in the back room though, and the local patrons might look at you funny when you leave, but that's OK.  We explored the buffet at the riverboat casino one night.  Not a bad meal there for $19.99.  The dessert bar had more square footage than any other bar in the place, and featured an awesome chocolate cake.  This place was the first I've been to that offered both crab legs and frog legs on the buffet.  I'm not a crab leg fan, but the frog legs were pretty good, though they were on the small side.  Pretty strange that with such a large river right outside the door that they couldn't find any decent size frog legs to fry up for the buffet.  Oh well, I guess you can't have everything. 

Rating:     

 


Best Western - Cedar Park, TX - this was our first time shooting the LaRue Texas Multigun match and it was a blast.  The only problem is the drive to this match should be about 13 hours shorter.  Our new Event Planning and Reservation Acquisition Engineer reserved our rooms for this match and did an acceptable job I suppose for a beginner.  We ended up in a second floor room, so his next performance evaluation will have to reflect that less than satisfactory result.  This Best Western is right in the heart of Cedar Park, which I learned is a more upscale area with more shopping and amenities than nearby Georgetown and other places.  While hotels are fewer in Georgetown and nearby towns, a stay there would save a few minutes travel time in getting to the range.  The outside of this hotel looks like any other Best Western, but the inside was freshly refurbished and everything was brand new.  The pool on the other hand could have used some work, but it was early in the year so I suppose they didn't expect much use while we were there.  About all we ever use a pool for anyway is to dunk a dirty firearm for a quick cleaning when time is short.  Parking was acceptable here for the average customer, but not conducive to anyone pulling a trailer of any type, and the hotel management was very picky about where trailers were parked and how quickly they were relocated when requested to do so.  The Tortilla Factory right down the street is a great place to grab a meal and you can see them make fresh tortillas right there through the glass; just like the Krispy Kreme donut places here at home, but I don't think the Tortilla Factory had the "Fresh and Hot" light that comes on when they're cranking them out though.  The staff there was helpful and at least our less culinary saavy companions didn't get the "you don't know yo chicken?" dress down.  All in all I would say this Best Western was a good place to stay and I wouldn't hesitate to frequent that establishment again on a future trip. 

Rating:    

 


Holiday Inn Express - Columbus, GA - we had a new guy bucking for the open, and highly paid, Reservation Acquisition Engineer position at Adventure Travel, so we delegated room reservation responsibilities for this trip.  This put us up at Exit 10 off I-185 for the first time ever.  Certainly not as convenient as the Victory Blvd motels, but no doubt in a better part of town.  Awesome eats are available within walking distance at the Texas Roadhouse and El Vaquero as both had outstanding food.  The Holiday Inn Express was a nice place, though the breakfast food wasn't much and hard to come by after a bunch of shooters converge on the spread all at once.  There is an IHOP right next door if you wanna get up early for a really good breakfast.  After the way my match went, about all I could say was "but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night", but that didn't make me feel any better.

Rating:   

Note:  had to put one big bullet rating here.  After all, you are still in Columbus, GA.

 


Hampton Inn - Corinth, MS - it felt a little strange being back on the road to actually shoot a match for the first time this year.  We decided not to venture out for accommodations and chose the Hampton Inn which was the match hotel for the MS 3 Gun Challenge.  Sam, Elizabeth, Kurt, Trapr, Chad and team did an excellent job and the weather they ordered up this year was much better than last year.  Results and awards were done by early afternoon thanks to Linda Chico and everyone was back on the road toward home earlier than expected.  When things go as they should, it just ain't very exciting I guess and there was nothing at all "adventuresome" about the Hampton Inn.  They honored our request for a ground floor room and gave us one right inside the side entrance, so taking luggage and gear into the room was as easy as it gets.  The breakfast bar was decent, well stocked, and attended by friendly and proficient staff.   I even left my Glock on the nightstand while I was at the range the first day, but not even that got the professional staff at the Hampton in a tizzy.  On the other hand I figured guns laying around hotel rooms in rural Alabama and Mississippi ain't that unusual.  I didn't get a chance to go across the street to the Econo-Lodge to see if they'd repaired the two bullet holes I put in their Yankee soldier (see Econo-Lodge - Corinth, MS below).  Russell's has a pretty good steak in town, but be forewarned and be quiet about reservations if the line is long.  Apparently, the locals aren't aware reservations are an option and can get perturbed if they see someone they think is breaking in line to get in.

Rating:      

 


Park Mammoth Resort - Park City, KY - after taking some time off for a bit of personal growth and development, was nice to get back on the road again for the Pan American Shotgun Championship.  I made a tactical error by opting to vend the match instead of shooting it, but oh well, we live and learn.  It was a great time none the less.  Was great seeing my good friend Joe "Scattergun" Satter/white/field anchor the standard manual U.S. team's gold medal win with his 3rd place overall finish.  Apparently, he liked being on the podium because every time we'd stop somewhere on the way home, I'd look and he be standing on top of something wearing his gold medal; trash can, truck hood, coke can display, it didn't matter.  Anyway, on the trip up, we left Georgia at the appropriate time to hit Emma's in Manchester, TN about the time the second pan of biscuits came out of the oven.  From there, we headed on up I-65 to Park City.  This was my first opportunity to stay at the resort at Park Mammoth.  You certainly can't beat the convenience and after staying there now, you can't beat the food either.  Man!  You talk about some fine eating.  The buffet style dinner under the tent every night was some of the best food I've had anywhere.  The spread inside at the restaurant the last day was even better.  Our room at the resort opened up onto one of the community balconies.  The rocking chairs there allowed one to recover from over-partaking of the fine eats that were available.  While our room was nice, I understand they have much bigger rooms available which are usually reserved for country music singers who happen by on occasion.  Apparently, despite our world renowned reputation, heavy lobbying on our part did not result in us securing relocation to one of the luxury rooms.  I guess I'll have to go write a couple of award winning country songs before my next trip up there.  About the only negative thing I can say about the room is there was no alarm clock and the automatic wake up call system apparently overslept and didn't call to wake us up either.  We've stayed in places with broken alarm clocks though, and I was prepared with my handy dandy Big Ben windup, so we were good.  I donated it to the establishment so the next unfortunate soul that couldn't secure the luxury suite would at least have a clock.  They aim to please there however, as every day the maid would stop by to ensure the room was made to our satisfaction.  That was impressive.  Either that, or maybe she was just walking off the lunch available in the restaurant. 

Rating:   

       


Suburban Extended Stay - Columbus, GA - as this place is brand spanking new, we had to give it a try.  It's on Victory Blvd, so it's convenient to the Ft. Benning gate.  This is a nice place with tile floors and really nice furnishings.  It was nice watching Bama beat Florida in the SEC Championship game on the flat panel TV in the room.  As it is an extended stay type place, you get the full kitchen which is a bonus.  About the only thing you lose here is the overall "edgy" feeling you get at some of the other hotels on Victory Blvd.  They honored our request for ground floor rooms, but not our request for adjoining rooms.  They knew who I was traveling with and likely figured I wouldn't be too upset with rooms not adjoining.  Can't fault them there I guess.  About the only negative thing I can say is I still don't know if the place offers breakfast or not.  Despite others who stayed at the hotel saying a very tasty breakfast was available, I asked hotel personnel on two different occasions if they served breakfast and was told no.  Maybe they thought I was asking them if they personally served the breakfast.  Don't know.  We hit the Huddle House further down the road when we had time for a sit down breakfast and it was some good eats, so all was well.

Rating: 

Note:  had to put one big bullet rating here.  After all, you are still in Columbus, GA.

 


Econo-Lodge - Corinth, MS and Osage Beach, MO (see below also) - this was our match blitz weekend where we hit two matches.  We shot the Mississippi 3 Gun Challenge on Friday, then buzzed over to the Ozark Mountains to shoot the Adams Arms Ozark 3 Gun match on Saturday and Sunday.  We knew we were in trouble when we arrived in Corinth Thursday night to a deluge that about washed us across the Ruby Tuesdays parking lot.  The rain didn't prevent us from dining there where I watched a couple of my girly man friends enjoy a flute of lemonade, complete with pinky extended dispensing.  I personally think they been hanging out with them European guys for too long and picked up some bad habits.  On top of that, they have the nerve to make fun of anyone using an umbrella in the pouring rain.  It was the California guy carrying the umbrella after all, I was just smart enough to take advantage of an opportunity.  Anyway, I digress.  This particular Econo-Lodge boasted it's close proximity to the Battle of Shiloh in the recent War of Northern Aggression and the nearby interpretative center.  They really should warn customers that they have two mannequins in a diorama right when you come in the front door featuring uniforms worn by soldiers of both armies.  Some things are just bred into you, and as such, I apologize again to the Corinth Econo-Lodge for the two bullets holes in the yankee soldier.  Again, you should let people know these things so they're not taken by surprise when they walk in the door.  This facility is also almost co-joined with the Holiday Inn and I can assure you the Econo-lodge key won't get you into the breakfast bar room at the Holiday Inn.  There were no surprises here and everything was pretty much as expected.

Rating: 

    


Econo-Lodge - Osage Beach, MO - the weather delayed our completion of the Mississippi match to the extent that we rolled into Osage Beach at 4:30 am.  We still had to drain the water and get the mud out of all 3 guns from the Mississippi downpour the day before and get them cleaned up before departing for the Adams Arms range at 7 am.  I lobbied for a room discount since we weren't able to use the beds the first night, but they didn't go for it.  I think when we woke the desk clerk up to check in, we likely got off on the wrong foot.  They were accommodating enough however as we got a service call right to the room when we experienced an internet access problem.  I suspect this was more because the clerk took a shine to the one bachelor in our group and took every opportunity to ensure he was comfortable.  I guess running around the parking lot in your underwear generates some fringe benefits, though I suspect that depends on who sees you.  The beds here seemed better than most, but after 40 hours with no sleep, I suspect a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood would have felt pretty good.  The Osage Beach area is beautiful, right in the heart of the Lake of the Ozarks and it was tempting to not take a few extra days to wet a line while in the area.

Rating: 

 


Radisson  - St Cloud, MN - this was our first stay at the Rad in St. Cloud.  I'll have to say while the hotel in and of itself is very nice, it just isn't what Adventure Travel has grown accustomed to.  Paying to park at a match hotel was a new experience.  I didn't care for it, especially since the deck was a considerable distance from the room; which seemed even longer due to all the gear we were humping.  While hotels with their own restaurant are nice at first glance, that also means they ain't gonna give you a free continental breakfast every morning.  At least I could grab some free coffee when I went downstairs every morning to get my parking ticket validated so I could park for $4 a night instead of $8.  On the upside, this is the first hotel I've stayed in that had sleep number beds in the room.  I think we burned up the motor in one of the beds playing with it.  The "21" setting is about right by the way for a seat sore, middle aged, overweight guy.  We still homesteaded our fav, the LaCasita Mexican restaurant, although some friends did talk us into an overcooked steak at the Timber Lodge Steakhouse the last night of our stay.  While we really knew better at the time, we'll know not to listen to them next time.  We did get re-oriented to the way things are supposed to be on the way back home, staying the night at a Super 8 in Wisconsin.  A ground floor room and free waffles.....now that's living.

Rating: 

 


Comfort Inn - Boonville, MO - this was our second stay here and Adventure Travel management has decided we need to mix things up a bit.  Unless a place has some really redeeming features, we likely will be opting for new digs at some of our more frequented match locations.  They did honor our request for adjoining ground floor rooms for the second year in a row.  There were a few surprises this time around.  We discovered our keys would lose programming on occasion and it was a bit frustrating having to go back to the desk to get them programmed so we could get back into our room.  Maybe they were trying to tell us something.....I don't know.   One night, a passer-by recognizes the familiar sound of weak hand shotgun loading (with dummy rounds of course) thru the room door and a few minutes later the phone rings; "someone" from room 110 challenges room 104 to a shotgun loading contest.  Room 104 says "bring it" and the race is on shortly thereafter.  Room 110 occupants were quickly sent back to their room in honorable defeat.  While the race was close, we did decide maybe the United States Shooting Academy should add some shotgun loading classes to their offerings.  This Comfort Inn is all about customer service however, as we did learn it is possible to get a waffle there at midnight if you talk to the front desk clerk just right.  W.J.'s still has the best food in town, but service wasn't what we experienced in years past so we branched out to discover the Hawgs and Heifers biker bar.  Pretty decent food and much closer to the range.  There the waitress will at least tell you they're horrible right off the bat so there's no disappointment later.

Rating:       

 


Best Western Hancock Inn - Lewisport, KY - this was our second stay at this establishment, and not much had changed.  You have to appreciate the hotel's convenience to the range every time you drive nearly 30 minutes into Owensboro.  Our request for a ground floor room was honored and life was good.  It is the little things you know.  While my traveling companions and I were sitting around talking to some friends in the lobby on arrival night, we shared our story of the un-cleaned room with all the beer cans and empty pizza boxes from the year before.  Unbeknownst to us, the hotel manager overheard our story and went out of his way to ensure our room was acceptable this year.  The conversation went something like this......envision the accent of the typical Indian customer service rep at an outsourced IT call center; this is the hotel manager;  "I am very sorry for the inconvenience you have experienced and want to ensure that your room this year has met with your satisfaction".  Membership and the notoriety that comes with being associated with Adventure Travel does have it's privileges I suppose.  Some of those privileges just aren't something most people want any part of in some cases.    Despite my finish at the Kentucky Multi-gun match, I'm glad to be done with the state of Kentucky for a while.  The two Kentucky matches this year were poorly executed on my part at best.  That blue grass they have up there got in some tight spots and left a rash.  Heck, my "friends" wouldn't even let me drive us home; afraid the train wreck that was my match would morph into a truck wreck on the way home.  It's all good though, cause I got to let my hair down and hang my head out the window on the way home.

Rating: 


  

Read more