Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back in San Jose for a week

Odyssey is safely ensconced in a secure location provided courtesy of a fellow bus nut, who responded to my plea for parking on the bus conversion bulletin boards.  As is usual in such circumstances, I am not posting a map link or address, both for security reasons and out of respect for our host.

We spent Sunday night at the Wal-Mart on Johnson's Ferry Road in Marietta, a location that another area friend had told us disallowed overnight parking.  When we arrived, though, there were no signs prohibiting it, and there were already a couple of 18-wheelers parked for the night.  We picked a discreet spot at the edge of the lot and were not bothered.  Somehow I forgot to update the DataStorm map location, so our map link still shows us at the laundromat in Roswell.

We chose this particular spot because it was en-route from the laundromat to our parking space for the week, by way of the kennel.  As it turns out, though, we had a change of route plans anyway.  We'd been calling around trying to get some kind of ride to the airport from Marietta, and the quotes were all in the $60-$80 range.  Moreover, we were also trying to figure out how to get the pets to the kennel on Tuesday morning before our flight, rather than cough up another $37 to drop them off Monday instead.  I ended up renting a car for $35 that we could simply drop off at the airport.  There's an Enterprise car rental within a couple blocks of where we are parked, but Enterprise wanted a $50 one-way drop-off charge to take their car to the airport.  Budget, however, was happy to let us drop the car at no extra charge, but we had to drive to downtown Marietta to pick it up.

So after a hearty breakfast at IHOP, adjacent to the Marietta Wal-Mart, we drove down to the Budget office and picked up a car.  They gave us a Dodge Caliber, which I think is a couple grades above the econobox that we paid for, but which was perfect for transporting the animals to the kennel.  We proceeded to our parking location, set up for the night, and began preparations for a week away.  Yesterday morning we loaded up the beasts and drove them to the kennel (whose driveway was impassable to Odyssey, so just as well we had the car), and made it to the airport in plenty of time for the latest and greatest TSA procedures.  Speaking of which, it is almost unbelievable the number of shampoos, hair sprays, deodorants, toothpastes, etc. that people are still bringing to the screening area -- they filled two huge tubs in just the five minutes or so that we were there.

We had an uneventful flight, and, after dinner with some friends and family last night, checked in to our hotel, the Hilton in downtown San Jose.  These are our old stomping grounds, so it is a comfortable base of operations for us, and I had enough Hilton points for a free stay.  Also, there is free ultra-high-speed internet in the lobby, from where I am posting.  Unlike the last time we stayed here about a year ago, I am now in the "gold" membership class in the Hilton points program, and we have access to the la-te-da concierge-level lounge, where hot breakfast is served daily, and happy hour runs from 5-7.

We have a full calendar of visits and errands for the week.  We will be here in the San Jose Hilton until Friday morning, when we will drive over to Santa Cruz in a borrowed car.  We will be staying at the Chaminade resort there, for our friends' wedding, through Sunday morning, when we will return here to the Hilton for our final two nights.  Our return flight on Tuesday will get us back in to Atlanta nearly 11pm, and we hope to rent another car to reverse the process that got us to the airport in the first place.

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