Sonoma (Aug 18)

There are race weekends where it’s all about the race (Texas, Iowa) and then there are race weekends where the location just screams for a race/vacation combo.  Sonoma is definitely in the second category.  Since this was our first trip together to the area, we decided to blow it out into a full week.  After enduring the econobox rental in Edmonton, we wanted something a little more fun to drive.  This turned out to be a Dodge Challenger.  For you non-car buffs, think General Lee in the Dukes of Hazzard.  In order to get a reasonable rate, we used a nondescript rental company.  I started getting a little nervous as Tim waited in line at the service counter because there seemed to be a lot of unhappy people there.  One older couple stormed off in a huff complaining about rate increases and another couple had an issue when returning a vehicle.  The second couple got into some pretty nasty words with a woman who showed up and tried to cut in line, stating that she had waited in line for an hour previously and was “in the middle of the transaction.”  Not their problem, clearly.  Turns out her credit card had been declined when she first tried to complete the transaction.

I am continually astonished at the amount of time it takes some people to conduct a simple business transaction.  After waiting in line for about 15 minutes, Tim went up to the desk and was ready to go in 5 minutes.  Meanwhile two young women who had been at the counter when we arrived were still there when we left.  Really?  What is so fricking hard about renting a car?

Our flight had landed at 4:30, so by the time we had collected the rental car it was after 5:00.  This violated our second cardinal rule about flights – don’t arrive in a major city at rush hour.  Unfortunately, our only other reasonable option violated our primary cardinal rule about flights – don’t arrive so late that you are navigating to an unfamiliar location in the dark.  We made it to the VRBO cottage just before full dark and just before the battery on our portable GPS died.  Turns out the lighter in the General Lee didn’t work, so we couldn’t power our trusty Garmin off the car battery.  Fortunately we had brought a map of the area so I navigated old school style and we kept the GPS off as long as possible, until we really needed it.  Sent us down the wrong dam street anyway.

The cottage was a lovely little studio with a sitting area, comfy bed and kitchenette.  Unfortunately it also had NO A/C, a tiny shower, a huge fake tree that threatened to take over the bathroom, and no dresser for clothing.  A big closet with lots of hangers is great but it doesn’t do much for socks and underwear.  Plus we had to kill a HUGE spider in the bathroom.

So, it was lovely, but we won’t be staying there again.

And yes, the drive out of San Francisco sucked.

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