Do you name your rental cars? I do. You may not remember, but last summer MWG and I had the car we lovingly referred to as the "Gold Nugget." (see August 2009 for a photo, I'm too lazy to go get the pictures off the other computer.)
Well - Lindsey, Lana and I returned to the O.C. this year. (shout out to Amy in Okinawa.) Last year, we did it hardcore and rented a convertible. Since we already went that route, we just went with a regular car this year. Recommendation #1: Go with hotwire.com. I got a car for 3 days for $88. Recommendation #2: Put your game face on when you go to pick up the car. Talk about UPSELLING.
Hertz lady: Would you like to upgrade to a luxury vehicle?
Me: No, thank you.
Hertz lady: For only $8 more a day, we can put you in a Toyota Camry.
Me: No, thank you. (Really? Maybe you could suggest a car that hasn't been in the news.)
Hertz lady: Would you like X,Y, and Z? (as she points them out on the colored flyer.)
Me: No, thank you.
Hertz lady: What about insurance X,Y and Z?
Me: (thinking that since all of us are insured, we'll be fine) No, thank you.
Hertz lady: Okay, well you will need to inspect the car for any damage and indicate on this form anything you see.
Me: Um, doesn't a Hertz representative need to do that?
Hertz lady: No, you declined coverage, so you are responsible.
Me: Okay, I'll take the liablilty insurance for $15/day.
Longest check out ever. But, I finally get the keys and we go to the car. A white Nissan Altima Hybrid. Push-start. And hypothetically, we may or may not have had to go get the nice attendant to show us how to turn on the car. (Apparently these push-start hybrids are really really really quiet and even when you turn them on it doesn't really even sound like it is on.)
Have you ever driven a hybrid? I don't really know how they work. Apparently they are somewhat electric or something? I don't know. But this car was ridiculous. A.) You couldn't tell when it was turned on. B.) At stop lights, it felt like it was dying. C.) When you try to accelerate, it lurches and feels like you are just barely learning to drive a standard. D.) All these random lights blink on and off at random times. I don't know if you can tell in the picture below, but you should be able to see a green, yellow and orange "EV MODE" light on. Occasionally, a random blue picture would light up. And don't make me mention the "Check Engine Soon" that showed up on day 2 of the trip.
To make a long story short, we named the car "Lurch." The valet guys didn't really "get" us, but that's okay. Lurch did a good job. She even gave me enough courage to drive on the 405.
Yes, that is like 6 lanes. Maybe more. I don't know. But I drove on it 3 times. The last time I even made it past 70mph. Holla!
Having Lurch was an experience. However, it was an experience that I will request again.... we drove up and down the Pacific Coast Highway for 3 days and when I went to refill the gas that we used before heading to the airport????? Less than $7. Um, yeah. I'm sold.