We began the week with a flight to Florida for a fairly short business trip. We “Ubered” to the airport from our Houston campsite, and left the car with the motorhome. Flying accompanied with the specter of COVID everywhere isn’t too much fun. Masks on from time of leaving home, to the airport, waiting in the airport, sitting on the plane, train to car rental, grief getting rental car, finally in car – masks off and BREATHE! YAY!
Thoughts on Rental Cars… Back when I was working, we travelled a fair bit by plane, and rented cars frequently. I rented from Hertz, and with the many rentals and subsequent Gold Plus or whatever the nice status is, we never waited in line, and could choose from almost any car. But we paid for that convenience. It’s been quite a while since we’ve rented, and I thought maybe we could save some money by going cheaper. I found a “deal” online with a company called FOX. The experience was terrible! In the far corner of the airport, the Fox desk had two men processing paperwork, and a long line. They were calling people’s insurance companies to verify coverage, and if they didn’t get the answers they wanted they were doubling or tripling the rental fee for insurance! They were rude to the people ahead of me, and some left in disgust. I looked in my wallet for my insurance card, and found it was outdated. The current one was in my car. I had him call the company rather than pay the outrageous insurance fee, but he got some holding company that couldn’t give him the answers he wanted. I, like some ahead of me, left in disgust.
We jumped on the internet, reserved a car with Dollar (like Thrifty, owed by Hertz), then waited in another line. All three Hertz companies were being processed at the Hertz desk. After waiting in line, we were treated nicely, with respect, and given our keys. Sigh. It was getting pretty hot under that mask!
We chose a small apartment in Tampa rather than a hotel room. With a single trip to a grocery store, we could then eat in, and save having to got to restaurants. It was very quiet, had a pretty well furnished kitchen, a washer and dryer, and even a small balcony with a view of the pool.
We had beautiful weather for a day and a half, then the edge of Hurricane Eta got close. She was now downgraded to a tropical storm, but still packed LOTS of rain and wind. The radio kept warning of hurricane-caused tornados close by. We felt very safe in the apartment, but outside it wasn’t conducive to sightseeing! Our last day we discovered a tree down on our running route, but otherwise no damage.
Flying Back to Houston
Just as we were checking out of the apartment, we got texted that our 12:10 flight would now leave at 12:47. Not too big a change, so we dropped off the car and checked in at the airport. A little while later, we were informed the new flight time was 2pm. Then it was changed to 5pm. At about 2:30, when they announced the departure would now be 8pm, we gave up. The agent said he could get us on a 5pm flight from Orlando, but we’d have to get to that airport. We took the change, rented a car from Thrifty, and drove the 1.5 hours to Orlando. More riding cool automated trains in the airport, and then an uneventful flight back to Houston. Our bags were delivered to the motorhome the next day.
We did get out a bit more in Houston – we’d been told of a nice long bike path along a river, with the city as a backdrop. We found something like that, but it didn’t go far, and we had a very short ride.
I was amused by this guy, using a very expensive crane to hang a not-so-fancy boat high in the air. Nobody was nearby – just this old boat hanging around.
We toured a bit in downtown Houston, but didn’t get out and take pictures. I did catch this one of a building being created.