Before my Salt Lake City trip, I knew without a doubt that I’d be tagging on two extra days to take in a little of the surrounding area once the SNAP conference was over. But that meant one thing.
I’d have to rent a scary rental car.
If you’re puzzled with that statement, that means either - #1: someone’s always rented and drove the rental car FOR you, or #2: you haven’t needed to bother with a rental car because you’ve had other transportation to get you around. Or you are quite simply the bravest person I know.
Up until this trip, I was both those things. But I vowed to change that. I needed to rent a car all by myself.
I quizzed those living in SLC. “Is it hard to drive around? Do the roads look like ribbons on the top of a present?! (Or worse…) If I miss a turn off, will I end up in the next state?!!
That’s really my #1 fear. That there will be no way to turn back for 7 hours.
After I found out I’d be frequenting a grid road system and that it was dead easy, I pulled the trigger on a little economy number.
I even had the nerve to ‘bid’ for it online before I left. And I got it! Cool. Proud day indeed until all the BIG taxes added up, easily doubling the cost. Sheesh. #learningcurve
( Temple Square, Salt Lake City )
But I did not purchase their insurance. I had quizzed my local agent about being fully covered before I left under my own plan, with a cute little wallet card to prove it.
Once arriving to SLC, I found the car booth we’ll just call “X.” Proudly showing my bid ticket, they started pelting me with all kinds of warnings and scary doom and gloom stuff.
In other words, if I didn’t purchase their insurance, I was on my own and out of luck should ANYTHING happen. Much like stranded on a deserted island with no wifi. Very, VERY bad.
Me all chipper and bursting with knowledge having done all my homework.. “Oh that! My insurance agent said I was fully covered. Here’s my card, and the number is on the back so you can call them.”
“We don’t call that. We don’t care whether you are insured elsewhere or not. I’ve given you our options. You choose no so you’re on your own.”
This was not a happy day kinda thing to say. Especially for the paranoid rental car newbie. So I turned off the sunbeam for a spell and bit… which was my first mistake.
“How about I call my agent to make SURE I’m covered for ALL THOSE THINGS you listed? (there were LOTS, with hefty rates per day on each item.)
“You can do whatever you want. Here are your keys. NEXT!”
Not comforted. Freaking out, I shuffled my oversized luggage mountain to the side, and called my local insurance place. At home. IN CANADA. They ensured me I was good to go, but I asked if she’d speak to Ms. X anyway.
Can you BELIEVE I did this?!?! I did.
And they spoke. But “X” revealed nothing. It was a waste of time.
The phone was handed back to me. It was my choice at this point.
“Ma’am? (that would be to me) DON’T forget to fill it up with gas. You chose NOT to pay for the full tank so if you are at the very least bit empty, you WILL pay ______. (what sounded like a million dollars a gallon. It was outrageous.)
And then I got rained on one last time.
“Would you like to upgrade the radio to a _______ (whaat?) ?”
“Would you like to upgrade the wheels?”
Yeah, right. No.
“Do you want seats in your car? It’s an option.”
NO!!! No seats!
I kid, but it was getting a little out of hand.
And then my internal small town girl alarm went off. Why did I rent a car? Why am I not home petting my cats in my safe little bubble at home while eating popcorn in bed in front of a girlie Netflix movie? Picking up (dragging) my bags, I set out to find my severely under insured car. (with no seats)
There it was. Cute and sleek and black! My little black (scary) bullet was waiting for it’s new adventure.
Staring at the remote with a gazillion new buttons, I made it jerk and moan and beep and strobe light and popped the trunk plus. And then I got it open.
Nice! It was really nice! Very cute! I was trying to make friends but it was a forced relationship at this point.
And then I noticed it had seats! And I didn’t tell.
I loaded it up, fiddled with some weird cover that covers the luggage, (what IS THAT thing, a luggage blanket??) finally yanking it out and sticking it in the back seat and turned the thing on. Plugging in my GPS, the satellite wouldn’t connect. Hmm…
I walked outside the parkade but it wouldn’t respond. Remembering I’d had this issue before, I waited.
And waited some more.
I gave up. I went to my iPhone, threw on the google map, (so glad I sprung for a US package. I am amazing) set up the address to my destination, vowing to give the GPS a chance to wake up once I drove for a bit.
So off I drove, getting use to the touchy brakes. And then I tried out the lights and the wipers went off. In which I couldn’t turn off. Whatever. And then the voices fired up…
Lady iphone / “Turn right on 47298467249287498. Take a deep breath, let it out, sip your cold coffee with both hands on the wheel, check your makeup, (I had cried it all off at this point) then turn left.”
Man GPS / “Turn right. Then turn left.”
So vision this if you will. I’m crusing down the highway at grandma speed, the back wipers won’t shut off, and I have Ms. iPhone (in high detail) and Mr. GPS (very vague) both arguing different things in unison. In a new town. In a different country. Beautiful.
And magically, I finally found my destination. Funny how that always works itself out.
I parked that thing, and stared at it. Daunting. Absolutely daunting. I went into my hotel room to hide from it for the rest of the conference.
( conference conference conference conference )
The last day of the conference, I recieved a FB message. Virginia from Fynes Designs, also of Oh Canada asked if I wanted to do anything the next day, as she wasn’t flying out until 10pm. Why yes, I did. I had planned to take in the town or Park City with ‘the car’… so I messaged her to join me.
( We made it to Park City, Utah!)
So we set out the next day. And what a blessing this turned out to be! Although she claims to be as directionally challenged as me, she was able to help out. She didn’t even laugh too hard at my double GPS system… much.
(MUCH more on our trip to come!)
For the next two days, I finally made friends with my little black bullet. The brakes got strangely unsticky (heh) and it took me to places that made my jaw drop! Which I’ll be showing you next!
So, my point for all this needless rambling?
This rental car hurdle was serious business for me. It was a painful one to jump. But I KNEW I had to do it. I did not want to be at a taxi or bus’ mercy until the end of time.
And I mean, when I glance back at the amazing photos captured, every hardship was so worth it.
I’m deadly serious here. If you have directional challenges, please go straight to Costco and get a GPS and go rent a car in a new town. Free yourself! It’s like free falling off a cliff!
Point is, every single time I’ve had to climb a hill, I’ve always reached a higher plateau, and more became of it because of it. Braving the rental car in Salt Lake City with the arguing GPSs was worth every little bit of anxiety. Because now I know better.
I’m going to be jumping yet again this summer and again in the fall. And it shouldn’t be any issue now, because I’m officially a pro world traveller car rental kinda girl!
And if you believe that, I have 2 arguing GPS systems for sale…