Friday, November 18, 2011

Let the RV adventure begin!

We flew out of Maui on November 10 and landed in San Diego close to 10 PM. We’d rented an RV for the next day so pricelined a hotel for the night. We usually try to get the highest star level for the cheapest price but we kept getting denied. So we reduced our bid to a 3-star hotel and got the Holiday Inn On the Bay for $70. Upon arriving at the airport, Rich called for a shuttle and was told that it would be leaving the hotel in 8 minutes. Thirty minutes later, we had seen a bunch of car rental shuttles and a few hotel shuttles but no Holiday Inn. Rich called back and was told the shuttle would be leaving in 10 minutes. LOL He said he’d called at least 30 minutes ago and was told it was leaving then. The woman insinuated that we must have missed it, though we’re not sure how we could have not seen it since we were sitting right there watching expectantly. At this point, tired and frustrated, we decided to take a cab. We walked over to the taxi stand and were assigned the next taxi in line. WELL, this cabbie was apparently having a very bad night. When we told him where we were going, he almost shouted “They have a SHUTTLE!” We agreed and briefly told him our issue. He seemed angry to even have to deal with us. Rich told him we were going to the Holiday Inn by the bay. He wanted to know the address. Rich asked, “You don’t know where it is?” He said there were lots of Holiday Inns. We said “by the bay” and he still wanted the address so Rich looked it up and told him. The driver then shouted “ON the bay, not BY the bay!” I asked “There’s one called ‘on’ the bay and another one called ‘by’ the bay?” which I totally had my doubts about. He said yes so I asked him where ‘by the bay’ was and he said “behind us.” So we are completely off on the wrong foot with this guy and he seems to hate us for some reason. J We figured it was partly because he was hoping for a good fare and this hotel was not really very far away. No big money for him for this ride. I usually try to make small talk with our cab drivers but I was actually a little scared of him. He drove like a maniac to the hotel and then just stood there while we unloaded our luggage from his trunk. At one point, Rich was getting one suitcase and I was struggling to
pull one out of the trunk with one hand because my other hand was full. The dude literally stood right next to me with a semi-sneer on his face and watched me battle with the suitcase.

It was the Marine Corps’ birthday and a bunch of young Marines and their wives/girlfriends/dates were hanging out in the hotel parking lot looking for a ride. One of them came up to our cab and asked if it was available. The guy didn’t really even respond to them. I told them, “Good luck, he’s not very friendly!” As we were walking away, they told me that he refused to take them! Wow, not sure what his problem was but he was determined to pass his bad mood along to the rest of us.

The bad karma of the night continued as we entered the hotel. There was a little bit of a line to check in and just one very slow, methodical guy working the desk. Some poor man had reserved a room online for a certain price and was quoted a different price at check in. They were going round and round with the clerk saying “it’s an estimated price online” and the guy wondering why he had to pay more, plus leave a $100 deposit because he was paying in cash, and so on. Really, the price difference was not that much and you would think that good customer service would dictate that you just allow the guy the price he had quoted on his online reservation form, but no. Finally, another clerk came to the desk and helped us check in. We had a HUGE room at the Holiday Inn, awkwardly so. There was a bunch of empty space which made me think it used to be a conference room or something. We quickly left our belongings and went back downstairs to see if we could grab something to eat at the restaurant/bar. As we approached, the waiter told us that he had just submitted the last food order for the night. We then walked over to the gift shop, hoping to buy a snack there instead. As we walked in, the young woman at the counter told us we had three minutes before she closed so we’d better hurry. “And no more room charges!” she added. As we rushed to the shelves, she revised her timeline to say, “Actually, you have a minute and a half!” None of this was said with a smile or in a joking manner. Anyway, our dinner for the night was an ice cream bar—yippee!

Before checking out, we had breakfast at the hotel (where the day shift employees were all in pleasant moods!) and saw this sailing ship across the street. We then called for a cab to come get us and take us out to Spring Valley to pick up our RV. We thought by calling in advance, we could make sure that the cab was willing to take us out that way and that it would be there on time without us having to flag one down. Well, you would think! Sitting outside the hotel waiting, Rich received a call from the cabbie asking where we were. He was “there” and didn’t see us. We were “there” and didn’t see him. Yes, of course, he had gone to a different Holiday Inn, even though Rich had given the dispatcher the address. Rich asked him if he was coming to the correct place and he started to say something like “well, by the time I get there….” at which point Rich hung up on him and we asked the doorman to flag down a cab. So much for planning ahead! This cabbie was nice and didn’t mind going out to Spring Valley. Whew.

We picked up our vehicle, had a little orientation, and hit the road. First stop, Target, to stock up on necessities. The RV folks don’t provide anything unless you want to rent stuff, which we did not. We had packed a set of sheets and pillowcases and I always carry a little blanket with me on the plane, but we needed pillows, a heavier blanket, towels (didn’t think to pack those!) and a few kitchen items. Rich brought a couple of knives and kitchen tools with him but we needed a pan. And we had to get food, of course. We spent a good while wandering the aisles of Target, which we like to do anyway, since we don’t have any such thing where we live. So by now, the day was whipping past us and we needed to get going. Okay, let me just say that I am pretty nervous riding along in the passenger seat of an RV when we take up a full lane with not much margin of error and the roads are crowded with cars flying by at top speed. The mirror next to my seat makes everything look like it’s coming straight at me. I don’t even like to look! Thankfully, Rich is on his hyper-alert mode and is managing well, even if I am a nervous nelly. We don’t go very far the first day since we didn’t even start till afternoon and it gets dark in California at 5 PM. What’s up with that?!

The first night was spent at an RV park at Cardiff by the Sea. It is right off the water and we were amazed at the large number of people surfing in November. Most had on wetsuits, but still! They are serious about their surfing! We parked our vehicle and walked several blocks across town to a restaurant for a nice dinner, stopping by Starbucks on the way back so I could get some tea. With no internet to keep me amused into the night, we read for awhile and turned in early. It made me realize how much time we waste with TV and internet at home!

The next morning we went down to the beach to watch the surfers and take some photos before taking our leave. We had to stop at Starbucks for more tea and free internet so I could check in and see what I was missing in the world of cyberspace. I really am trying to fight my internet addiction but I have to admit that I hate not knowing what's going on. :)


Suzassippi said...

Only Jane would be in California wearing a hoodie and sweatpants. :) Glad to hear from you--you've been on the mainland 8 days and just checking in--they must be missing you in the cyber world!

Gigi said...

It was chilly at night, okay?! :) Having fun, but behind on posts, obviously. Have managed small updates on FB but blogging takes a lot more time. I typed up a bunch of posts so maybe now can catch up with photos and publishing. How's everything in MS?