Our Rental Car
Upon arriving in San Jose and taking the bus to the rental car park area, we found Hertz and got issued a car. It was a decent looking silver Toyota Camry. We loaded our bags into the trunk, when I noticed there wasn’t any navigation system. I really really wanted one of these things for two reasons actually. One, we were planning on driving all over the bay area and sometimes navigating by traffic signs really sucks hard. And two, I’m a gigantic nerd and wanted to play with it.
So, we walked back to the counter and asked if we could get a car with their “Neverlost” system. After a bit of confusion (they thought we had left and come back) they gave us a new car, one with the system installed. I was kinda bummed that this new car was worse than we had first. A extraordinarily boring white Ford Taurus. All that car did for me was confirm that I will never buy a Ford, but I digress.
We got in and fired up that thing and plugged in our destination in Santa Cruz and hit the road. After a few interface issues (mine, not the machine’s) I figured out the kinks and really started to dig it. See, this thing works with a little screen. After you punch in the address, or cross streets, or a destination (a city center or a tourist attraction that is in its memory) it basically tells you how far to your next turn, what street or exit you’re looking for, time until you arrive (ignoring traffic) so on and so forth. Jess decided we needed to give this lovely mechanical female voice a name to refer to for the week, and in honor of the immortal Mel Gibson vs. California Highway Patrol drunken driving stop, I decided to go with “Sugar Tits”.
Frankly, I think Jess was a little jealous of Sugar Tits. She would be talking and Sugar Tits would bust in and interrupt her and she would get all bent out of shape. And frankly, even though Jess was removed from the responsibility of navigating (which is a GOOD thing, sorry babe, but its true) I think she still wishes she wasn’t around. The funniest comment about the unit by Jess was the following. When discussing the voice feature of the unit, and how it would tell you what you should be looking for (“dong-ding… right turn in… 1 point 1 miles”) , Jess figured that “was a good idea to include for blind people”… um… okaaaay…. It took her a few seconds to realize what she had said. By then, I had gone from incredulous to laughing uproariously. I almost had to pull over I was laughing so hard. Good times.
I gotta say, I loved this thing. Now, I wouldn’t want or use one around town here as I know where I’m going just about everywhere. That being said, I don’t ever want to go on a car trip to anywhere again without a GPS nav unit. Seriously. The amount of stress it removes from you is amazing. I highly recommend it. I’m wondering if I can rent one for our trip to Seattle Sept 8th.
That’s what Jess called it. See, I’m a car guy. Not in as much as I like to work on them or know specifically how a carburetor works. No. It’s more that I like to look at them, price them out, and really really like to spy exotics on the road. I kind of equate it to being on safari and spotting exotic animals. Sorta the same thing. And lemme tell you, California is a dream destination for someone like that.
It started on the drive from San Jose to Santa Cruz about 45 minutes away. On that trip, I began to notice the BMW’s and Mercedes on the road. In fact, I noticed this the whole week… that place was absolutely LOUSY with them! I mean they were everywhere. In fact, you really just had to stop paying attention to them. It was like spotting Hondas or Fords here at home.
My dream car is the new Mercedes SL’s. The SL 500 all the way through the SL 65 AMG. There are a few of them tooling around Boise. I have a habit of calling them out when I see them. In the bay area, I drove Jess nuts with it. I was calling them out about 25 times a day. They were everywhere. Now, when you realize that the entry price for the lowest end one is about $95,000, you realize what kind of cash we’re talking here.
But of course, I also saw the big dogs. First up was when we were walking through the parking lot for the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. I hear the engine start up and literally stopped in my tracks. Jess was wondering what the hell was wrong with me, and I told her, “just wait a sec…” as we were right by the parking lot exit and it would have to drive right past me. Turns out, it was a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. Metallic mint green. Rumbled right past us with some rich dude at the wheel and a blonde hottie next to him. It didn’t even have plates on it, but had a “Lamborghini of Orange County” dealer plate on it. So, either it was brand new, or some dealer took it out for a spin for the evening. Although, that would be quite a spin as it is 450+ miles from OC to Half Moon Bay. I also saw a Lambo go flying past us on the freeway a couple days later.
On Monday, we went into San Jose, and went to this shopping district that had a bunch of upscale shops. Jess wanted to hit the Crate and Barrel. Anyway, there, parked on the street was a beautiful bright red Ferrari F430 Spider. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know why I was so amazed. I mean, it was just sitting there, on the street with the top down. Personally, I’m so paranoid that I lock my POS Acura every time I get out of it. And here was a Ferrari. With the top down! I didn’t get to see that one up close, but just to know I saw it was enough.
Until a few days later when we went into Carmel. We were walking up and down Ocean St. with all the shops on it. What did we come across? Another absolutely beautiful red Ferrari! This one was a hard top, but no less beautiful. Personally, I think Ferraris should be one of two colors… Red or Yellow. And if anyone wants to lay one on me, I ‘d take either!
I know, I’m a total nerd ball for caring about other people’s cars so much. I can’t help it. It was fun for me, and annoying as hell for Jess. But what can ya do? If you want to do the whole automotive safari, I highly recommend the bay area.