Florida Part 1

So... We drove down to Sunnyvale and left our car at Mike's house and took Caltrain to BART to SFO. That took about 1.5 hours. Then we went through security and waited at our gate. Our plane was delayed, apparently because of a mechanical issue in Salt Lake. But it wasn't delayed much. So we flew to Salt Lake and found that our connecting flight was already boarding. So we power-walked through the airport and grabbed some slices of Sbarro so that we'd have some real food to eat (we also packed all sorts of snacks into our carry-on bags, and we didn't check any bags, but those slices of pizza would soon prove necessary). So we got to our next gate and attempted to board to find out that they had run out of carry-on space so we had to plane-side check our bags. So despite not having any bags to check we still had to wait at the baggage claim when we got to Orlando.

The flight wasn't too bad, we watched The Abyss on my laptop which killed about 4 hours. However, our backs are still a bit tweaked from the service project on Saturday, so sitting on the plane wasn't a bunch of fun.

We arrived in Orlando and went to the baggage claim. Our bags showed up fairly quickly and then we went down to the Thrify rental car desk. There were about 25 people in line and 2 people working the desk and I think it really took them about 20 minutes per customer. It was pretty ridiculous. Eventually a third employee showed up which helped. It took about an hour. So by this time it was 1:00am.

The employee had given us a little map telling us to go out to the area labeled "Economy", as it was labeled on our map. Well, they don't actually have an area labeled "Economy". So I eventually found another employee who said they don't have economy cars and they were out of compact cars so we should pick one of the SUVs or minivans in the mid-size section. Well, we didn't want to drive an SUV or minivan in an unfamiliar area. There was, however, a compact sitting off by itself in an unlabeled area. Since Jess has to do all the driving I was letting/making her make the decision. But the lack of sleep, and frustration and stress of traveling was getting to us both and things were looking grim.

An employee drove by, apparently done with his shift, and asked if we needed help. We told him our problem and he said that the compact was available, but seemed confused that we wouldn't want the "free upgrade" to a mid-size. So we took the compact, a thoroughly unimpressive Chevy Cobalt. But we'd rather be driving that than a big honking SUV or minivan.

Now it was time to start off for the hotel. Placing too much faith in magical electronics I hadn't looked up any specific directions because we brought our GPS. Well, the GPS had no hope of getting a signal inside the airport or the parking garage. So we started driving out of the airport "blind". I did know we needed to go south-ish and west-ish. So we started following signs matching that plan which worked out fine. It only took about 5 minutes to pull up a solid signal.

We then discovered that to drive anywhere around Orlando you apparently have to pay $1.25 for every 8 miles. So we paid a toll. Drove 8 miles on the same road. Paid another toll. Drove 2-3 miles and exited. And paid another toll. We finally arrived at our hotel, Holiday Inn Express at Summer Bay Resort. Which is actually fairly decent. We checked in around 2:00 and asked where we might find some 24-hour fast food. So we went to McDonald's to get food. We drove back to the hotel and got to our room, ate 'dinner', and fell asleep.

We had originally planned to spend today at Epcot, but, since that plan also thought we'd get to the hotel by midnight (local, so only 9:00 our time), it was abandoned and we'll push Epcot to Saturday. So this morning we slept in, and are watching the History channel.