Monday, January 15, 2018

Visiting Colorado: Grand Lake Wedding

This is really less about visiting Colorado and more about our rental car fiasco.

Mike and I flew to Denver in July to celebrate a friend’s wedding (and yes, I'm just now blogging about it).  Our flights out west were uneventful and our baggage made it unscathed.  Not so fortunate was our friend Tammy, whose suitcase was unzipped at some point in transit and was overflowing when it appeared on the baggage claim.  Her bathing suit bottoms and razor were mysteriously missing.

The real drama began after we left the airport and boarded our shuttle to the rental car place, which of course is conveniently situated about 100 miles (give or take) from the airport.

I booked our rental car on CarRentals.com and the cheapest option was through Fox Rent a Car.  Let me tell you now in no uncertain terms: if you’re flying to Denver, do not use Fox Rent a Car.

When we entered the building at 11:30 a.m., the check-in line snaked through the lobby.  Children were running rampant, bouncing off chairs and couches, screeching like wildlings.  Other wary travelers stood in line, eyes down, defeated.  I joined them.

I waited in that line for at least an hour before I finally made it to the desk where a cheerful but sloth-like cashier was waiting to "help" me.

She asked the typical questions about insurance and offered to upgrade our vehicle for a nominal fee.  I hate sedans, and I figured a small SUV might be better equipped to handle the mountain roads, so I agreed.

The small SUVs pictured on their pamphlet are Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ford Explorers, but please do not make the mistake of assuming that is what you will receive.

We drove off the lot in a red Dodge Journey and let me tell you, that candy apple finish pretty closely matched the color of the blood I was ready to spill after driving from Denver to Grand Lake in what is LITERALLY the worst vehicle EVER.

The stupid thing maxed out at 55 mph on flat interstate.  It accelerated about as fast as hamster in molasses.  Going up any incline greater than 1% felt like the engine might shudder and explode at any second.  At one point, not long after we began our ascent up the mountain (still on the interstate, mind you), the oil overheated and, according to the dashboard display, our speed was compromised (as if it hadn’t been from the start).

Even going downhill, the engine was revved and the transmission wouldn’t shift properly.

It was truly a nightmare.  I mean I am still having nightmares about it.

Somehow we made it the more than two hours it took to get to Grand Lake, where the festivities were held.  We rented an adorably tiny cabin just blocks away from the water via Air BnB.

The weather didn't quite cooperate, and we battled rain each day of the trip.

But we love Colorado, so we made the best of it and enjoyed the company of Mike's friends.  The wedding (which I didn't take any photos of) was beautiful.

I really don't have anything else to say about it, so I'll end on this note:

NEVER rent (or buy) a Dodge Journey.
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