Tuesday, May 11, 2010
On the Road Again - Day 1 of 6
Ok, today wasn't as fun as it was supposed to be. I made it from my apartment to the rental car place perfectly and effortlessly. Then the trouble started. I had listened to the advice of my friend Barbara and had checked the prices and last night changed my reservation when the same car, same company was $40 less. I should have listened to her about the part of "check to make sure you can get the car out of the tri-state area" -- In this case, "tri-state area" means NY, NJ, CT. I was able to convince the guy that Ohio (I was truthful about my destination) is just "one over" from the tri-state area... well, if you think PA is one of the three states.
Next I got caught my by own carlessness. Who checks for whether the deal is "unlimited mileage?" Evidently, not me and I could only blame myself when I was told you get 150 miles a day and it's 25 cents a mile over. Holy Moly.
You could buy miles, which I was going to do, but then he said he'd give me unlimited miles for 80 dollars more and I said yes. I didn't want to be calculating miles and I figured I had already saved $40 on the rate so it was "only" spending $40 more.
Then... oh small problem, there is no fricking car! They said they were expecting returns "within the hour" and I said no, that's not acceptable. So they bring out this "mini-SUV" which I really didn't want because of the gas mileage.
He told me that they could bring another car from another location and that would take 15 to 20 minutes. I just plain didn't believe it. Told him I'd take the mini-SUV if he waived the $80 and he said no, but he did mark my gas as 1/4 when it was full so I did wrangle 3/4th of a tank of gas from him.
Then it was off with my Google map directions and once across the GW Bridge, it is such a mess of spaghetti -- I mean the roads... and you know how the computer directions give you every road your tire touches. The directions said "exit 14" but there were four exit 14's all at once -- 14A, 1`4B, 14C and 14D so I ended up in downtown Elizabeth NJ -- not a real happy place and finally found the right way.
I drove for about 2 hours and was getting hungry, but I was really in a fairly rural part of NJ and see an exit sign that there's a McD's and I thought I'm not going to try to get fancy and thought I'd go there.
As I got off the exit, there's the McD sign and it said 2.7 miles... Ok, I thought but I drove about 4 miles, didn't see, turned around, didn't see it and at this point I became obsessed with finding it. We know what a McD's looks like, right? Golden arches and all that??
Finally I see it, in a strip mall, like a regular restaurant, no arches, no street signs. The guy who sold me my food could barely communicate with me as he was fighting with the manager over his hours.
Ok, fine... then it's back on the road where it gets colder and rainier and foggier so there were places where the speed limit was reduced to 30 mph but, of course, all the trucks whiz by spraying your car with rain. It was about 45 degrees most of the afternoon.
Ok, I'll jump to the finish. Found my hotel. The lobby is totally torn up in renovation, but my room is clean and nice. The photo is of a lap desk that was on the bed -- have never seen that before and that's the view from my window.