We drove to Detroit on February 29th after dropping Jonesy off with our friend Susan. He wasn't crazy about the car ride across town, but we knew that after he survived that ordeal it was going to be 16 days of fun for him, getting to know a new place and a new person, as well as being treated like a prince.
Our flight the next day was scheduled for noon but we'd wanted to get to Detroit on the 29th so we wouldn't have to worry about what kind of weather we might get on the 1st. As it turned out, that was a wise decision on Vicki's part, as a big winter storm was forecast for here for the 1st and we would've been scrambling to figure out if we could get up early enough to beat it or somehow drive through it. Instead, we woke up in our hotel room and had a leisurely breakfast before catching the shuttle to the airport and arriving with plenty of time to spare. Oh, and it was carry-on only for this trip, something I'd seen Vicki and Tammy pull off for their trip to Italy last year. Vicki only winced a little over that particular detail!
We got into Maui right around midnight local time, roughly an hour late thanks to a "problem with one of the restrooms" on our second flight out of Seattle. Because we'd been scheduled to arrive late in the day to begin with, Vicki couldn't use any of the big name car rental agencies, as all of them closed for business by 11 p.m. Instead, we were getting our vehicle from a bunch of surfer hipsters called Maui Budget Rentals. To their credit, they handled our even-later-than-expected arrival with exceptional grace, showing up in good spirits within minutes of when we called after finally locating a pay phone in the Maui airport. And so, by around 1 a.m. Maui time, or 6 a.m. according to our body clocks, we were in our red 2009 Mazda 3 looking for highway 30 to take us to our hotel in Kahana.
My brief relationship with Mazda did not make me a fan. The unfamiliar polygon-shaped gear shift arrangement, combined with the fact that it was pitch black outside and I'd been up for 24 hours straight, led to me putting the car into "M" rather than "D" when I started it going, and therefore driving the first mile or so in first gear. I'd never before encountered a car with both Automatic and Manual transmissions, and as luck would have it I'd accidentally put it in Manual mode. Luckily, the high revs of the engine clued me into there being something wrong with my choice, and at the next stoplight I figured out how to get it into Drive rather than Manual. This was only the first of several surprises our little red piece of crap had in store for us, as the trunk refused to open for us when we got to the hotel, despite us trying everything we could think of. We were about to pull our luggage out through the back seat when the trunk magically opened for us on our final attempt, after which we never put anything into it again. For more fun, about 20% of the time when either of us would take the key out of the ignition, the car would beep and indicate that the doors were open, even when they weren't. When it was in that state, it was impossible to lock the doors with the key fob... seriously?! Through trial and error, I eventually discovered that when it did that, putting the key back into the ignition and then immediately taking it back out again would fix the problem, Yeah, that's good design! And, as if all that weren't enough, on our final weekend in Maui, the Tire Pressure Low indicator light suddenly came on, accompanied by an ear-splitting series of beeps, necessitating us quickly stopping at a gas station to put some air into each of the tires. Needless to say, this car was not my friend for the two weeks I was in it...
More to follow soon. You know: like actual vacation stuff!