Met someone today doing the NC-California driving round trip—her first time. She’s staying in hotels, not camping, and concerned about travelling as a single woman. Understandable, but from my experiences, staying in small family-owned motels is as safe as you can be. THE SUNSET MOTEL in Moriarity, NM, is a great example.
It’s right in the middle of NM, just off I-40 on one of the few remaining sections of Rt. 66. This is a great choice for a safe, comfortable, clean, friendly, and affordable motel. Built in the 1950s, it has the homey furniture and other touches of old-fashioned family-run motels. Dog friendly, and a free continental breakfast with fascinating owners who are writers and film producers, and happy to chat.
Many of these amazing hotels still exist, but I don’t think there’s a real directory you can use. So sometimes you don’t know if it’s a gem, or a cheapo flop. My best test is, if it’s old, and has a pretty flower garden out front, it will be a great place to stay. Warning, if you need everything in your life up-to-date, and embrace the conformity of franchises, it’s probably not for you.
For those travelling I-40 in the West, THE SUNSET is highly recommended by many. The owners will clue you in on the best locally owned restaurants too!