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How Do Motel Chains Rate? Who's Good? Bad? Ugly?

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We have an unplanned segment in our upcoming northern California road trip, which means grabbing a motel room without meticulous overplanning and reservations.

What are the reputations of the major chain name motels, such as Motel Six, Super 8, Holiday Inn, Best Western, etc., etc.?

Experience, rumors, useful advice, all will be appreciated.

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