It’s 10:45 a.m. at Fort Lauderdale Airport, and my plane just landed. I’m blogging now because (a) I have a little time to kill before picking up the rental car, and (b) unlike SFO, this airport has Free Wi-Fi.
I always believe that good karma at the beginning of a journey is a sign this will be a fabulous vacation. Last night, before I had to catch the plane, my good friend Jennifer Longley insisted that we do what we usually do early on Friday evenings — go to Martuni’s, San Francisco’s best piano bar. Thanks to Jenn, Luke Klipp, Christine Smith, Brian Leubitz, Brian Devine, Joe Eskenazi, Alexia Aubault and Benjamin Wachs for making my final hours in the City so fun. Benjamin even went up to the microphone and belted out “Riding on the City of New Orleans” to wish me farewell.
My plans after Martuni’s (which is at Market & Valencia) was to walk a few blocks to the 16th Street BART station, and then ride to SFO. But as I exited the bar, it was raining pretty badly. Good news is there was a cab right there. Even better news, to my surprise, was that the cab driver was Lon Parker — an old client of mine from the Tenderloin Housing Clinic who I worked with closely when he had a TERRIBLE slumlord. He gave me a ride to the BART station, as I rode shotgun.
SFO wasn’t as fun. I got dinged $15 for traveling with one bag. I don’t need to tell you about America’s deteriorating airline service. It’s really pathetic what air travel has come to. Thankfully, my plane left without much difficulty – despite the weather.
Now the fun part of my vacation starts – the road trip. One of the reasons I love driving places on vacation is that I can truly see everything between Point A and Point B. When I was a kid, my family was from Europe — so we would fly there every summer. Our “travels” consisted of red-eye trans-Atlantic flights where you have no idea where you are at a given moment. That’s the magic of road trips.
Going to pick up the rental car. It’s an expensive way to do a road trip, but I don’t own a car — and the advantage is that you don’t have to worry much about auto maintenance. They take care of it for you. The trick is to find a rental company that doesn’t charge you $400 for dropping off the car in a different city (in my case, Memphis.) I found Budget and Alamo, and Budget was slightly cheaper.
Another tip when you rent a car is insurance. Of course, you want your car to be insured — but check with your credit card company (assuming you rent the car on your card), and see if they help cover that. My credit card will pay for any collision damage — which will save me a ton off my rental car bill.
Okay, all this talk makes me excited to leave this airport. Stay tuned for notes from the road …