The Maserati convertible was not quite ready for the road, I felt, in spite of my best efforts (having taken the carburetor off – twice – to rebuild, etc.).
With no other options, I caught a ride to the new Buena Creek Station in Vista to catch the 12:14 Sprinter commuter train, took that to the Transit Center in Oceanside, and from there, not wanting to wait for the 3:15 southbound Coaster, I caught the NCTD Breeze Bus Route 101 – all to rent a car I had some reservation for at A Plus Car Rentals Inc. in Leucadia.
Their first issue to me was a micro-mini red Chevrolet something – “Aveo” or something else nondescript – whose interior dimensions did nothing but cramp the legs of this 6’ 2” frame; more importantly, the vehicle lacked interior dash lighting, which impeded nighttime operations, which was imperative to me. News to them, and a simple repair matter to them, but untimely for me.
Having already paid for a week’s worth of transportation with unlimited mileage, I was looking around their lot for something more when one of the owners rolled in with the Caddy.
While not a real fan of Cadillacs – nor of most American automobiles at all – I was at first struck by the constrained, yet massive presence of American rolling luxury. What with the cloth-top, faux convertible design, the four doors, cushy leather interior, the gold pin striping along the side to complement the gold name badges and wheel trim – the whole assemblage just cried out “pimp” to me.
My Junior Associate and Navigator for the impromptu trip – the whole idea was to leave NOW, dash up to San Francisco, and take the Coast Highway down – was on break from her studies at SDSU, and, as my only offspring, we never seem to have enough time together, what with our respective schedules, lives and obligations.
We were rolling northbound on the 5 outside of L.A. at top speed as traffic would allow, studying the maps and trying to divine immediate and future impending traffic patterns: whether to take the 134 due west, which becomes the 101 through the San Fernando Valley to the 101 Northbound along the coast outside of Ventura, or continue on the 5 to the 118 west through Simi Valley then back down the 23 through to the 101 again, or take our chances and continue on the 5 through the Great Central Valley of California.
My Junior Associate had had the opportunity to take a class in “Driver’s Education”, by invitation to participate, by the Court system of San Diego. As such, she was aware of some fine points of law with which I was unfamiliar; notably, that aspect of operating at top speed – reasonable and prudent of course – and to what degrees those “overages” would technically result in what level of theoretical violation.
One of the “must-do” aspects of the weekend trip, only proper to do, was to stop by The Lodge at Pebble Beach, perhaps for some light refreshment – a beverage or two. Already behind schedule with a long way yet to go, a respite from our travel (and ahead of the gendarme we had just passed at speed) was in order, I felt, as we launched off that freeway exit.