Our last day on the ship should have been relatively uneventful. We knew we were going to be even later than we thought (arriving at around 2 PM instead of our original 6 AM, which was later adjusted to noon). As we had cleared US Customs in Vancouver before we even got on board, getting off should have been very easy.
The first challenge was actually getting off the ship. The staff had categorized everyone that was leaving into varying groups depending on urgency and whether one was walking off with luggage in tow (us) or having their luggage moved for them from their room to a waiting area off the ship. Those who were walking off were able to do so first. Great, except we were certainly not alone. Not even part of a small select group. Nope, a few hundred was likely a more accurate head-count. Ok…better than the couple of thousand doing it the other way.
It really didn’t take all that long. Probably about 20 minutes by the time we were physically off the ship. I can handle that. We had (once again) called Hertz (our rental car agency) to warn of our delay. They assured us a car would be available.
Off the ship, through the port building, out the door, across the street to wait for a cab to take us to Hertz. This now becomes the next challenge. We got our name on a list (as there were only a few hundred people waiting), and sort of close to the top. I think we were about 40th. However…the guy making the list advised us that, at one point, there were about 34 cabs waiting for the ship. Because it was so delayed, they all left. Now we have to wait for return visits. Oh Joy, Oh Joy. When they finally started to show there were, at best, only 2 at a time. About an hour after we got off the ship we made it to Hertz. Can this day get any worse?
CERTAINLY! When we got in another line at Hertz I was amazingly in 5th spot. I had rented a smallish car (along the Ford Focus line) as it was sizable enough and not overly expensive. Now, my Only choice was a Suburban! That thing is bigger than my Venza was! In L.A. traffic, and now being forced to drive (4 hours), in darkness for the last half of the trip, and it being careless about using gas. This was NOT an acceptable choice. Why was there no other selection? Well, as it turns out, the multitude of cars that were supposed to be delivered that morning to their office, didn’t show up. Now we’re all waiting for some to be returned. At this point there are more people behind me than when I first got here.
I informed the attendant that I just couldn’t take the Suburban…it was simply way too big. Ok…no problem, you can wait for something else (once again going on a list – now I’m 6th cuz others in front of me didn’t want it either. Is there a pattern here??). A little while later I was again offered the Suburban…no thank you. Then a full-size mini-van came up…no thank you, I will wait.
Now we have been here for an hour. He once more calls me up and asks me to sit down as he has something for me. GREAT. We get all the paper work done, and he asks me to follow him so he can show me where the elevator is to the 6th floor of the parking garage. This is where I’ll get my car. Ok…by the way, what kind of car is it? “Please follow me” he says. “I don’t want to say it out loud in the office” he sort of whispers. As we head to the elevator he hands me the Key Fob. While walking I turn it over. Hmmmm…isn’t this interesting. I said to him “I understand now”.
I shake his hand, thanking him profusely. He tells me I’m very welcome and sometimes its worth it to be patient.
So…for my original cost of the Ford Focus with NO additional upcharge, my dear wife and I try to figure out how we’re going to fit our luggage in the trunk of a 2019 Mercedes SLC 300 (hardtop convertible!). Surprisingly both suitcases fit but with zero room to spare. Tomorrow we’ll try dropping the roof (which slides under the trunk lid). Apparently it is supposed to work as long as the trunk is not filled past a certain point. We’ll be close, I’m sure. Yes there will be pictures…tomorrow.
After an almost 5 hour drive (not including a quick stop at a Wonderful Italian restaurant in Santa Barbara) we show up at our hotel. As with Hertz, we had phoned ahead to inform them of our much-later arrival. No problem, if we’re past 10 PM the key will be under the mat right in front of the office door.
What will make this day complete? You guessed it…No Key when we arrived (around 10:30 PM). But, it turns out to be not a major issue. We called the office (that we’re standing right outside of and could see there was no-one there), and the manager answered. He let us in saying he didn’t leave the key as he was going to be up for a while.
Now up in the room (Finally) and unpacked just enough to make take-off tomorrow easier. The bed is not nearly as nice as the one on the ship, but it is calling my name.
I have to listen. Goodnight everyone…more to follow after (we hope) a much more enjoyable day tomorrow.