So as long as I'm talking about motels I should probably mention some of the more memorable ones, memorable in a unique and often strange sort of way. It was not unlike Dad to every so often treat us to a novelty motel or maybe one with something extra to offer. At first the big treat was to get a room with a "Magic Fingers" vibrating bed. This was always an exciting treat, at least at first, but after a while the novelty wore off and it ceased to be a benefit anymore. Dad however always took advantage of the vibrating bed, especially after a long drive, I assumed it was comforting and relaxing to stagnant and sore muscles. I now think the intention for the "Magic Fingers" was probably something more "adult" in nature rather than for tired truckers and other travelers, but these were far more innocent times for us and the thought that the vibrating beds were somehow abused for carnal pleasure never occurred to us, it was just an extra perk much like the coffee machines in the room or free fly swatters.
There were also little minor details about some motels that make them stick out in my mind, like the pool with the peace sign painted on the bottom. Don't ask me why I remember this but it always remains in my memory, probably because we had an especially fun squirt gun fight in that pool. Dad would get us a set of squirt guns to horse around with in the pools and this was especially fun on hot days and worked well to blow off pent-up steam from being in the car for hours. The ongoing goal was to find quality squirt guns that shot long and powerful streams. Dad had found for himself this strange little squirt gun toy device that was a little red plastic barrel with a periscope type squirter coming from the top. Not only did it have a hefty squirt that could give a slight sting if shot directly in the eye, but it had the most water holding capacity which gave Dad the advantage while the rest of us were reloading. The water gun fights could get rambunctious but never lasted very long and resulted in serious injury. Another game I remember playing in the peace sign pool was where Dad would throw a nickle in the deep end when we weren't looking and we were challenged to dive in and find it. This was a more mature game and went far to strengthen my swimming skills and breath holding ability. Having the painted peace sign bottom of the pool just made the task more challenging and fun.
Speaking of water, one particular motel that was an unusual and a once in a lifetime experience was when Dad treated us to the water bed motel. Now, this wasn't a sleazy dump in a bad part of town, it was a regular looking motel, like an Imperial 400 or Best Western, but instead they had water beds in the rooms. This actually wasn't too unusual, remember this was the '70's and water beds were all the rage, but if you couldn't afford one, or just wanted to try it out, you could find them at these water bed motels and test drive one. At first we got a single room like we usually do, and someone had to volunteer to sleep on the floor, usually this was Dad. But we got to the room (without sneaking someone in) and it was a lot nicer than usual but had only one big water bed. Dad and Mom had a private discussion and they decided to get another adjoining room for themselves, and my sister and I would have this room for ourselves. This was out of the ordinary but we didn't have a problem with it thinking that there just wasn't enough water bed to go around for everybody. So they got the other room and he and Mom immediately went to "take a nap" and gave strict instructions for us to not disturb them and stay in the room. Now, this was also unusual and my sister and I were too young and naive to catch the drift, but again we didn't have a problem with it and were excited to spend a few hours playing on the water bed and watch color TV. The jumping on the water bed turned out to be not as fun as you would think and both my sister and I quickly got bored. The TV watching was also not very compelling and we were limited to watching nature shows or "Wide Wide World of Sports", so the TV became more peripheral noise than entertainment and I was motivated to find other means of keeping busy. I decided to snoop through some of Mom and Dad's things and I came across Dad's collection of vitamins. Dad was always big into vitamins and has a separate supplement for every vitamin and mineral A to Z. So I went and took one or two from each container (there were quite a few) and made a game out of the little pills. I was especially fascinated with the clear amber capsules for vitamin E and the smelly fish oil or garlic capsules. I wanted to know what was inside them so I got a fork and poked a hole in one of them, making an oily mess and leaving me with a deflated gel pill. I didn't stop there and went on experimenting by getting a bathroom drinking glass and mixing the vitamins all together by mashing them up and using the liquid from the gel capsules as a binder. This process took me more than a few minutes and resulted in a pasty goo that smelled like vitamin E, garlic and alfalfa. I actually took a taste of the concoction, and fortunately it was disgusting otherwise I might've thought it was healthy and consumed the whole thing. I decided then that I better clean up and dispose of the evidence less Dad find out I stole his vitamins for fun and games. I cleaned up as best I could but did leave tell-tale signs of what I was up to. When Mom and Dad returned they weren't in the best of moods for some reason, Dad was only mildly annoyed that I was into his vitamins but to my surprise mostly ignored my mischief. Both Mom and Dad were more quiet than usual and there was tension in the atmosphere for the rest of the evening. That night, for me and my sister, sleeping on the water bed proved to be more anti climatic than anything and I recall having a restless night. The next morning we checked out as usual and continued on our way, the curiosity about water beds had been fulfilled.
One of the more novel motels we stayed at was the "Teepee" or sometimes called "Wigwam" motel. Apart from their appearance and kitchy architecture, there wasn't anything particularly unusual about them and they were actually quite nice and comfortable. The outside of course looked like a stucco teepee with a TV antenna sticking out of the top, but the inside was round and wood paneled with all the modern conveniences like a bathroom and TV. The neighborhood this Motel was in wasn't much to speak of, catering to truckers and travelers, but it was pleasant in it's ordinary-ness. For some reason the thing I remember most about the Teepee motel was getting a late start leaving in the morning and I was allowed to watch Saturday morning cartoons like Scooby Doo and The Groovy Goulies. And even though the Teepee motel was slightly more expensive that a regular Motel, (paying for the historic privilege I guess) Dad found the extra cost worth it and made it a point to return to the Teepee motel when ever we were in the area.