I’m sitting at the Greyhound bus station in Los Angeles, California around 4am, when I learn that my bus is actually going to be leaving in the 5 o’clock hour instead of 4:15. No big deal, right? I think this is pretty typical of a morning on the Greyhound bus.
Here’s the problem. When I get to San Diego, around 8 something, the transfer bus to Calexico had left. The next one wasn’t coming until 1. The half marathon wasn’t until Saturday morning, so that shouldn’t seem to be a huge deal, right?
Except that then the next bus to Yuma was in the middle of the night. I had originally planned on getting into Yuma at 11:35am so I could finish the last little part of the road trip with my bffs Wendy and Marty. So much for that.
Not to hate on Greyhound. I take their buses all the time. In the last few years, it seems they really have tried to be a lot better. In the past this would happen every time. This year, I’ve had a lot of on time buses. I see the improvement, and I appreciate that they’re trying.
It doesn’t change the fact that I was practically stranded in San Diego on at 8 o’clock this morning.
I ask the gate agent if they can just send me to Lake Havasu instead. They can. Yet again I’ll get there in the middle of the night. I was thinking maybe that wouldn’t be the biggest deal. I could sleep on the bus and go straight to the half marathon. It would make for a really long day at a lot of layovers in Greyhound stations.
They also wouldn’t put any money toward the ticket to Yuma toward the ticket to Lake Havasu. “But, my first bus was late and it’s changing my arrival time by about 16 or so hours… to go to a place a few hours from here.” “No refunds or exchanges. That’s the policy.” Well, then…
The wheels start turning in my head. I call my dad and ask for his advice on rental car companies. I was a little worried that a rental car would cost a billion dollars (especially for someone under the normal “rental car age.” (Though I had heard that places were starting to be a lot more accommodating to anyone 21 and over. 16 – 20 year olds, you’re on your own!)).
I typed “Rent a car in San Diego” into my iPhone, and called the first place that came up. It happened to be down the street. And they had an incredible weekend special. I took a deep breath. Okay, let’s do this.
I walked down there, and couldn’t believe I was really going to rent a car. “Okay, so I just sign these papers, and pay this amount of money (that’s less than a round trip bus ticket), and you just give me this car for the weekend?” “Yep.” “Wait, that’s it. You just let me take your car?” “Yeah.”
My license is basically for show. I misplace it way more often than I have it. I drive pretty much never. I would not necessarily say I’m the best driver ever. (Okay, I’m a pretty horrible driver.) They didn’t seem to care! (Well, I didn’t really offer up the information that in the last few years I’ve driven a total of probably 8 days.)
I thought there must be a catch somewhere. I combed that contract and double checked the rate a few times. My sweet dad told me to grab all the insurance possible, and he’d foot the bill for the insurance part. (Thanks, Daddy.) (He knows what’s up.)
I signed the papers. They took me down to the garage. We checked the car for any scratches. (Though it doesn’t matter too much ’cause I’m insured 100% with no deductible for anything that happens to the car – including a scratch. What, what?)
(I felt like Jerry Seinfeld when they asked whether I wanted insurance (2:23 into that clip). Then, the car guy just handed me the keys! (I couldn’t believe people had ever trusted me with a bicycle, but a car?)
I pull out of the garage. Oh my gosh, I’m driving! I’m really, really driving! 10 and 2! 10 and 2! The streets were surprisingly empty for San Diego. The streets were quite empty the whole way, actually.
I made it here alive! Everybody lived!
I have the absolute worst sense of direction of anyone. In the world. Ever. I was pretty positive I was going to end up in Mexico (or maybe even Canada), but I actually made it here to Lake Havasu!
I know. I’m pretty flabbergasted, myself.