Finally, Greenville, South Carolina

So you’re going to drive about eight hours, as we intended to do yesterday. A good thing to do is to have an almost-violent flat tire in the first hour of your trip, things change.

So there I was, side of the highway, tiny little shoulder, inches from trucks whirring by as I pulled off an empty case of vulcanized rubber and put on a smaller tube of air. Sometimes the trucks move over. Sometimes they can’t, because there’s someone in the left lane. Sometimes you could look down the road and see they were going to be so close I’d simply stand up and move away. I’m used to cars and trucks not leaving me any room on the road, but on the highway it seemed a bit much.

Anyway, to another rental car office, where they could not give us a new sedan. Finally, after the three staffers tried for a long time to reconcile our route and their other stores along the way, they gave us a Dodge Ram pickup:

And you’ll forgive me, but I didn’t take a photo of the first rental car. Why would you? Anyway, it was an Altima, a few years newer than mine, but there is virtue in renting a car with which you are familiar. This was one of the reasons I wasn’t interested in a pickup. I don’t normally drive a truck and I’m not interested in parking one all weekend and gas mileage and so on.

Also, the big, bad Dodge Ram doesn’t have a gear shift. It has a knob:

Odds are pretty decent, you’d like to think, that Sam Elliott didn’t know about that when he signed on to do the voiceover work in their TV spots. He might have. He probably didn’t care, but it fits the idea in your mind, doesn’t it?

So we drove the Dodge for about an hour yesterday, which was the plan, to another rental car shop, where the crew would have either a sedan or a small SUV waiting for us. So we got this:

I moved the luggage in the first part of the rain while The Yankee handled the paperwork. We got into the Liberty and realized it didn’t have a USB port. She wanted a USB port. So we changed to this Mitsubishi:

If you’re keeping track, that’s four rentals in a few hours. And through part of Kentucky and all of Tennessee we drove in the big storms and learned that the Mitsubishi is not an especially fun thing to drive. Crosswinds were pushing us all over the lane. I would have looked like a DUI if there were any police on the road, but they were probably off stopping floods or something. The storm was intense, but hey, the Mitsubishi did well with standing water and hydroplaning.

We may try to swap this one out this weekend. How can we get to rental car number six and seven if we don’t get number five, first?

Crossing over the Ohio River to Louisville, just before the traffic and the storms turned this eight hour journey into a 12-hour odyssey.

Which made this morning’s panel no less fun.

Hey, we’re here now — and the subject matter improves, too. There were storms and almost everyone had a tough time getting in, but we’re all here, from Texas and Mississippi and Indiana and the fun and friends and scholarly talk can begin.

Comments are closed.