Tuesday, December 01, 2009
$168.40 to rent a reasonably brand new car for the week following Christmas. Better yet, for $24 a day I can put as many miles as I wish on their car. That's a mistake on their part.
Two years ago it was $220 for a 2007 Subaru Legacy with 5000 miles on it. My plan was to retrace the route of the Lewis & Clark expedition, which meant 9 days and about 5500 miles round trip. Only made it as far as North Sioux City, SD but that's a story for the archives.
I'm going to be turning the big Five-O in a couple of weeks and I've decided to treat myself to something. I am in absolutely no financial position to be taking a vacation, at least not the kind of vacation one thinks of when considering a winter holiday. Actually, I'm in no position to be spending $168 to rent a car but I've always operated under a rule that says when you can least afford to take a break from work, that is precisely the time to take a break from work. So that's what I'm going to do. And, my vacation will be spent driving. Got myself a new RCA Small Wonder HD Camcorder as a premium from one of my suppliers, and so I'm going to make a video documentary of my trip and post it here when I come home.
But here's the thing...I don't know to where I feel like driving. Some rough calculations tell me that I can cover somewhere between 4500 and 5000 miles if I just drive drive drive. Not sure I want to do that. I'd like to spend a couple of days driving, a couple of days kicking around, and a couple of days driving home. Whenever I open the Rand McNally Atlas my eye seems to float towards the west. I've done Colorado a dozen times, and it's winter. Not only am I not bringing my skis, I'm not carrying enough cash to lodge in Colorado during ski season.
In fact, I'm in the mood for something warmer. Been southeast a hundred times, ain't no way I'm making Texas my destination (sorry Michael, but that state stinks of Jack), so now I'm thinking southwest. I know New Mexico is high desert so it won't be that warm, but I've always wanted to check out the Very Large Array radio telescope in Socorro.
I've never seen the Grand Canyon, which is just about as far as I'll be able to travel while allowing for a reasonable pace of return, so I'm thinking of hitting those two places.
If I hook north from there I can check out Monument Valley in northern AZ. (Monument Valley was just written up in Vanity Fair. A nice read.) Where's Lono and Duc when I really need them? I could use some Arizona advice.
If time allows I can swing through the southern part of Utah, maybe see Bryce Canyon and what-not.
That'll allow me to pass through my old friend the Colorado Rockies without dumping $300 for a hotel room.
I can already picture the final leg of my trip across the Nebraska and Iowa plains during winter. Nothing like that stretch of highway to make a person feel real small, but in a nice way.
This is going to be my kind of trip, the kind that involves no reservations, no real itinerary, and no schedule to serve. Money's tight, and this is the best bang I can think of for $168 bucks. What the hell, you only turn 50 once right?