I woke to a warm, but hazy morning in Hollywood, before my alarm, as I was excited about my road trip. I checked out of the lovely Renaissance hotel and went to the car rental desk. After about 15 minutes cruising down Sunset Blvd in my rent-a-bomb, a car came out of nowhere on my right, side swiped me and knocked off my side mirror! Luckily it was still hanging on by a wire or two.
Ok, ok. That's not entirely true. Replace "rent-a-bomb" with "2009 red Ford Mustang convertible" and "a car side swiped me" to "I hit my side mirror on a parked car's mirror" and you'll have the true story. Big whoops! I know I'm going to cop a lot of crap for this one (particularly after I received an email from a friend telling me to be careful even though I'm a safe driver!), but please take into consideration that it was the first time I'd ever driven on the wrong side (the right) of the road!
Of course, hands shaking, I drove back to the hotel, very glad I'd paid the $15 for insurance, and the man was really cool about it. Unfortunately the other Mustang they had, had been reserved by someone else, but he did have a Chrysler Seabring. He brought it up the front, only to tell me that the top didn't go down. Now, while I did get myself into this predicament, I sure as hell didn't fork out for a convertible with a faulty roof! The car did, however, have GPS that could locate other Hertz offices nearby, so I plugged in the nearest and took off.
I got one block away from it, and the road was closed due to a charity walk. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get to it. So I tried another one. Closed! I was getting a little bit frustrated at this point, and though 'to hell with it, I'm just going to cruise along Venice Beach and find one after that'.
As I got close to Venice Beach (as close as I could get without paying $15 for parking!) I decided to try again...CLOSED!! Grrrr, arrrgh. I noticed that the next closest was at the Venice Marriott, and figured that since my hotel had a desk that had been open on a Sunday, they would too. Thankfully it was, and they had a mustang. Unfortunately it was white, but hey, beggars can't be choosers!! But back to having no GPS.
Not to worry, I found my way to the Pacific Coast Hwy and started to relax, with the wind in my freshly dyed hair (it's a bit too dark actually), that was safely ensconced under my hat, and lots of sunscreen too. The music was up, the cruise control was on, and I loved every second.
Eventually, I got to a place called Oxnard, maybe 80 miles north, when suddenly Highway 1 disappeared and I didn't know if I should go on the 101 as it wasn't labelled on my map. I found a visitor's centre and the extremely lovely ladies there assured me that the 101 was the way to go, recommended a town to stop in and two alternate routes to get to my final destination. I put the top up for this highway and watched the miles fly by. 144 miles later I pulled into a Motel 6 in San Luis Obispo and felt the relief wash over me as I managed to park between two cars without bumping, scraping, scratching or denting either.
It's a terrible feeling to go back to those first few times you drive a car, and don't know how big it is, or where the wheels are. Reminds me of a girl who went to my university whose parents bought her a BMW Z3 roadster for her 21st birthday (she'd gotten a boob job for her 18th!). Her boyfriend took her out to teach her how to drive it and as they were pulling back into her place, he told her to put the accelerator on lightly to go into the garage. Well, she slammed her foot on it and went right through the back. Yep, that's how blond I felt every time I had to drive in built up areas!! But hey, it's an adventure right!
Another 250+ miles to go, catch me if you can!
And yes, go on, leave your scathing, sarcastic, ridiculing responses in the comments! I can take it.