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Booking hotels/motels in advance

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We are travelling to the Southwest USA in September or October. We intend to drive around Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico for 2-3 weeks and would like to do it at our leisure, that is, without a definite timeframe for each overnight, so if we find somewhere we like we can stay an extra night or two.

If we make reservations for our first and last couple of nights, are we likely to get reasonable places to stay as we go along? We don't need fancy, but we would like to feel safe and comfortable. It would also be nice to hit the occasional swimming pool.

Any advice?

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