I forgot to mention our rental car experience, which was very positive. We rented from Alamo and got a fantastic deal. Just for future reference, they had the best prices. The rental car office was back at the airport in KC, so I needed to catch the shuttle back to the airport and then drive back to the hotel, which meant that it was a perfect opportunity for me to get lost in a new city, something that is not without precedent. I tried to focus on the shuttle ride to the hotel after we landed to see if I could see any landmarks as to how to find the hotel the next day. How's that for planning? I usually shut my mind off when I'm in a cab or bus, which is why I like them so much, but this time I knew I had to be in tune.
Now it just so happens that the guy driving the shuttle took a roundabout way to the hotel, for whatever reason, and when I tried to relay this to the woman at the front desk, she hinted that she couldn't figure out why he went that way and that is was a bit more complicated. Great. All my planning, out the window. Anyway, enough of my whining. The guy who took me back to the airport lived in California for a time, if you can believe that one. He said he missed it and was working towards getting back there, and I kept thinking, you couldn't pay me to move back to California.
Just a side note, I have a career opportunity to move back to California, albeit the Sacramento area. One of my best friends is trying to get his start up going and he got an offer to run a big lab in Sacramento. He offered me a job and a chance to go back to California, as well as stock options, but I said no thanks. I have zero desire to go back to the same state that my mom lives in and the same area of the state that my glorious brother lives in. AND, at this stage in our lives, I can't imagine living anywhere but Vermont. We just love that state.
Besides, there ain't no "real-man" training going on in California because they define real men by different standards. Anyway, I'm veering way off topic.
When I arrived at the rental desk, the woman actually mentioned that we'd gotten a great rate, so chalk one up to Orbitz. Now based on past experience, I assumed that they'd give us something hideously ugly like a Chevy Caprice or a Buick, because I assumed rental companies only carried American cars, kind of like the police and the armed forces. Buy American!
Well, first off, she told me to go and choose one. Wow, you mean I was going to have to make a decision? Scary thought. Then, when I went to the lot, there were all sorts of cars, and many of them were Japanese. I went with the Toyota Matrix, since it was a car we were toying with buying at one time, though as anyone who knows us knows, we never bought.
Either way, I figured it would be reliable on our big road trip, and reliability was what we look for most in a car. The kids were excited about it and it has one thing that I've never in my life had in a car I've owned - air conditioning. Good to have in the hot and humid plains.
There's more to this story, but I'll get into it at another time. Until then, thanks for reading.