Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chapter 3: Renting The Car


If you need to catch on on this story before reading this chapter, here are the prior entries: 



Today is the first official day of our adventure; Chapter THREE: the day I pick up the rental car. 

The lot where we pick up the motorhome is in Fife. That’s about an hour’s drive from Seattle. Not being sure how River would do in a taxicab, and having no other viable options to get from Seattle to Fife with dog and luggage, I decided that renting a car was the best option.  I'll use the car today and then when I pick up the motorhome tomorrow, I'll leave the car in the Camper Rental place's parking lot. It will sit there for the week while we're gone and be there when we get back. So then I’ll use the car again, to get back to Seattle.  The next day, I'm leaving for a flight to Houston so I'll use the car to get to the airport and return it then. 

So this morning I headed out to the airport. It started out as a "great transportation karma" day. I walked to the bus stop on the corner and had just enough time to check my iPhone for how long of a wait I could expect. But I saw the best possible answer: "bus arriving in: NOW."  I clicked my phone off and looked up to see my perfectly timed bus pulling up to the stop. Similarly, when I got off that bus downtown and walked downstairs to the light rail station, the train to the airport was just pulling in the station as I was walking down the stairs. I didn’t even stop walking, I just walked right on the train from the steps and sat down. Then I got off the train at the airport and walked down the stairs to where the shuttle to the car rental facility leaves every ten minutes. I had to break into a short, pretend jog so the driver would wait for me to board as he was just about to shut the doors and take off. No waiting at all, all the way to the counter, where there was no one in line!

But then that's where all the fun ends. I had made a reservation with EZRent through Travelocity online. I was quoted a price, but when I get there, they tell me that they require me to purchase their insurance for $42/day! I’m renting for ten days, (six of those days, the car will be parked) so that’s a pretty significant superfluous surprise. I took my credit card back and told her, “well obviously this isn’t going to work.” and walked away.  I simply refused to give them my business after trying to pull that kind of switch on me. 

But then I sat down in the airport and collected my thoughts. I wasn’t sure what my decisive action had left me in the way of options. I was back to wondering how in the heck i was going to get River and all of our luggage and equipment from Seattle to Fife. Fortunately, I was sitting in a room with over a dozen car rental desks, many of which had signs saying Cars Available. So I started checking with them. 

I ended up finding a very similar rate with Enterprise.  Because I had walked up without a reservation, they wouldn’t rent me an economy sized car. I ended up renting a Chevy Malibu for only about $30 more in total than the full price I got from Travelocity for EZ Rent.  And drove it home, where River was eagerly awaiting my return. 

So, first disaster averted. First leg of our adventure tackled. I’m so happy to reinforce my strongly held belief that by keeping a cool head and an open mind, we can overcome anything and even possibly put a positive spin on it. Instead of driving a tiny Focus, I’m in a roomy Malibu. And I was able to let EZ Rent have the experience that when they try to deceive the customer in their pricing, they can lose said customer. 

Well now I’ll spend the rest of the day making choices about packing. It’s a new experience to pack up for a motorhome trip. Since I don’t really know what to expect, I’m just going to pack my standard travel kit and while traveling, I’ll keep a notebook handy so I can keep track of what things do and don’t work, and things that I did and didn’t need. 

Some of today will also be spent driving around in the car with River. I want to do all I can to acclimate him to driving before we get in the goliath. One of my friends says I have to name the motor home. Of course, he was referring to one that I buy, but maybe the one I rent should have a name too. We’ll see what happens when I meet her. 

In the meantime, today is all about the Malibu. 

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