TRAVEL THERE: WHEN YOU’RE NOT THERE YET
Just to be at the airport, headed to California, was something of a miracle. We tiptoed through the minefield of an excess baggage charge without derailing the vacation, but there were still many long hours ahead.
In the past, I’d never felt the need to carry a laptop on vacation, especially since Bill always carried his. However, since Bill and I vied for computer time on a recent trip, we decided it would be smart to bring separate laptops this time. (Note to self: The only time I took the second laptop out of my bag was going through security.)
Bill’s laptop is a sleek number of the latest fashion. My laptop lives on the handlebars of my exercise bike and was handed down to me several year ago by Bill. The battery is shot, so it has to be plugged in all the time and since the plug unplugs itself from the laptop indiscriminately, we’ve plastered the cord in place with electrical tape.
As you can imagine, I looked very uncool dragging the laptop and its taped-up cord from my carry-on. I also looked very uncool stuffing it all back in. And speaking of cool (or unclool, if you will), I almost lost it when Bill told me the security people didn’t need for me to take the cord out. How soon he forgot the joys of owning our second laptop!
Still and all, we were not detained at DFW for any reason and the flight was uneventful. When we arrived at LAX we discovered, that in spite of United’s expensive baggage fees, they weren’t very nice to our luggage. Bill’s bag had a pretty serious ding, so we detoured to the lost/damaged baggage department.
Their people were quite nice about it and since we’ve been home they’ve let us know they’re sending us a new bag. Still, it all takes time and I was supposed to be enjoying my vacation. We drug our luggage out to the curb to wait for the rental car shuttle.
Hello Midway Car Rental
When we made it to the Midway car rental desk, the travel gods tried, once again, to trip us up. When I pulled out my reservation documentation, the agent informed me my reservation had elapsed. I must have given him a look, because he explained the reservation was for 10 AM. My look must have become even more menacing, because his fingers started flying across his keyboard. He looked relieved when he told me he was able to retrieve my reservation.
We got a car, but I spent the next couple of days trying to figure out the elapsed reservation. Right there on my paperwork, it said my reservation was for 10 AM, when I knew I’d put the correct time into Expedia’s search engine. I wouldn’t have made the reservation for 10 AM, when our plane didn’t arrive until after five. For the trip planners among you, I figured it out.
I dutifully plugged Wednesday at 5:30 PM into the pick-up time when I researched my rental, but I also plugged 10 AM into the drop-off time for the following Wednesday. Somebody’s software automatically changed the pick-up time to match the return time so I’d get a weekly rate. I guess it didn’t really make any difference since they honored my reservation, but it could have been a disaster. I can just see us being told they were out of cars and we were out of luck and money, since I’d paid in full. So keep and eye out for that if you’re the one booking a car.
On the Road Again
When we headed out of the rental car facility, there was a sliver of light left, so I suggested we take Highway 1. That way we could watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean as we drove to our hotel in Carpenteria. I should have asked what sunset.
Within minutes it was pitch black and the GPS was really angry. Navi (that’s what we named our GPS) insisted we take Sepulveda to 101. Usually, after we ignore a few of her insistent commands, she decides to try it our way, but this time she was having none of it and kept insisting we turn.
I was too tired to do battle, so we acquiesced to her instructions. Within a few more minutes the sun wasn’t the only thing to set. The travel adrenalin which carried me through the baggage fees, laptop cord, damaged luggage and elapsed car rental, also went dark.
Why in the world had I thought I wanted to drive all the way to Carpenteria to spend the night. I wasn’t exactly giving myself an A+ on this trip – at least not yet. Come back next week to see if it gets any better.