So on my MQ travels this week, I elected to drive to visit a customer. Typically driving to a customer who is less than 200 miles away is faster and with less hassle then flying (Take off your shoes! Put your laptop in a bin! Bend over!). Or so I believed.
Beliefs are meant to be tested, and mine were.
I had arranged to pick up a rental car at 11 am, after the morning rush and in plenty of time for me to make it to my destination (2 hours) for a 3 pm call, both early and late enough to avoid the dreaded Atlanta rush hour.
There were no cars. Yes a car rental place with no cars available. This was not a walk-up rental, I had made it well in advance and I do have a certain status with this company. No cars in the class my company allows us to rent at any rate, there were a couple of nice Mercedes in the lot.
A waiting gentleman just rejected a Jeep, on the grounds that the whole reason he had rented a car was to avoid the gas bill of an SUV and where was his sedan. I was told a 10 minute wait as a return was being prepped. And as you have surely guessed, it was 30 minutes and I received the rejected Jeep.
Then there was a classic error on my part – in something of a hurry now, I drove it back to my house (<2 miles) before adjusting all the mirrors. I just did the rear view. After getting my overnight bag and laptop aboard, I ran thru the full trip prep. And the side views would not adjust electronically. All the buttons pushed, prodded and sworn at and it ignored me like my cat. Well, I can do it manually I thought. I adjusted them, and before leaving the drive they were by to their original skewed focus.
Back to Hertz, where they tried and got the same effect. And the refrain, ‘We have no cars at the moment.’ ‘Oh if you wait 10 minutes we have one being returned.’
40 minutes later I had a Mazda 2, or 1.5 as an extended teammate calls it (“They rounded up on that.”). It ran. sort of. It was subject to sway with every passing semi – and there were a whole lot that passed me. The sway almost pushed me into a long line of orange barrels several times. The driver seat is equivalent to a coach seat on just about any airline. It had the same size fuel tank as a riding mower, with less power.
It got me there, even though I did have to get off the highway for my conference call. The trip back was just as exciting, as the road construction in various places slowed all traffic up just enough for me to hit Atlanta at the awful afternoon rush hour. Did you know that a disabled vehicle has never been seen on I-285 before?
A slightly more than 2 hour trip took > 5 each way. It would have been faster to fly. Of course if I elect to fly next time, there will surely be tornadoes.