I could get used to this view. We arrived at our hotel just in time to check in at 3:00 p.m. We booked a room at the Holiday Inn at Papermill (Kirby Rd.) in Knoxville. Kids eat free and pets are welcome. According to the Holiday Inn website, this was the nearest hotel that met both criteria that had vacancies when I called several days prior.
I called hotel's front desk to get specific directions from the interstate and spoke with Tiffany on the phone - very nice. Her directions were spot-on. The hotel is tucked among a couple of office buildings and a residential area, so it was off the beaten bath - but only a couple of miles from the main highway.
We checked in at the front desk, where we met Tiffany and Jason (I think Jason may have been a manager). Both were very nice, very welcoming, very cool about the dogs and guinea pig. I've heard that some 'pet-friendly' places are only friendly if your dog is as silent as a goldfish. Fortunately, this wasn't one of those places.
Our first room was on the bottom floor (room #189) - a "pet room" at the end of the hallway. It came equipped with a large dog crate (we had packed both dogs' crates, but this way we only had to reassemble Scout's). It also had a sliding glass door leading to a small fenced patio. The dogs weren't as impressed as I was. No neighbors at our end of the hall.
After unloading the car, we went back to the fr0nt desk to ask for directions to the restaurant/shopping area. I met another evacuee, Monica, who was just checking in. Jason explained to Monica and me that Holiday Inn just authorized a lower emergency rate because of the storm. (Cutting our nightly rate nearly in half.) I thought this was very generous of them, and a very pleasant surprise.
We splurged a bit on dinner that evening at Olive Garden. It turns out our waitress is originally from my sister's hometown in Michigan. After dinner, we stopped at a store to buy a small carrier for Kramer, our guinea pig. His cage is simply too big to bring with us so he was transported in a soft-sided pet carrier (pictured in yesterday's post). We wanted something sturdier that he couldn't eat his way out of while we slept.
We spent quite a bit of time watching the Weather Channel before turning in for the night.
* NOTE: "Evacu-cation" is a term coined by my 13-yr old Son #1. He explains that it's an evacution, but when you find out your house and neighbors are okay, it sort of turns into a little vacation.