Entries Tagged as 'Travel'


I’ve been trying to scan some of my old pictures, slides, and negatives.

It’s time consuming to say the least.

Once I get the images scanned I’ll go through them and resize/crop some of them to post to my gallery to try and fill out many of the sections that have little or nothing there.

I do have a huge amount of digital images as well; but I figure since I’ve been wanting to deal with the years and years of film photography that that would be a good place to start.


When I moved my household goods I decided to rent a cargo van / truck rather than pay a commercial moving company.

I think all-in-all that decision worked out better (and significantly cheaper) for me.

Like in most everything I do, I spent a fair amount of time comparing prices and reviews of various companies.

I found U-Haul to be the most expensive, and from the reviews have the poorest maintained equipment, and the worst record of actually having what you reserved available when you got there.

I found that Budget looked like a contender, but really none of the reviews were bad or good.

I found that Penske had by far the best reviews; the newest equipment; and their price was almost the same as Budget.

So I selected Penske, reserved the truck and auto-carrier with a 20% discount — but had to test my truck on the auto-carrier before they would confirm (not a problem, it did involve a trip over to Oakland to the district office — but they confirmed that my truck could be safely carried).

The day I picked up the truck, all seemed to go well — it was available as promised, and I got it to the house and ended up waiting a little for the moving labor to arrive (but I expected that).

When I went back to the Penske dealer to pickup the auto-carrier and load my truck (which I’d left there) we found that it wouldn’t fit.  But my rental record showed that the truck had been tested, and I knew that it worked in Oakland.  After quite some time I noticed that the tie down straps were a different color; the shop person who was helping me realized that the newer straps were yellow (not blue) and that they might be longer.

So other than slightly over an hour delay, I didn’t have any issues at pickup.

On the road, the truck handled like a truck — and loaded down that heavy had a tough time making it up the grades (I choose to bypass the Los Angelos basin and took I-10 cross country to minimize grade changes).

I made it all the way to Baton Rouge Louisiana without incident, and just about right on schedule (I actually even made up for the one hour delay and horrible rush hour traffic leaving San Francisco).  Just after crossing the Mississippi River I was going up a grade at an overpass and the  and the high pressure oil line blew out — coving the truck and my truck with oil and forcing the truck to a dead stop.

It well over a half an hour to just get through to the emergency call number and get a tow truck dispatched (something U-Haul doesn’t have period).  Fortunately a police office was on the scene in a minute or so to help direct traffic around.

In all it was just over three hours of delay to have the truck repaired and be back on my way; but my truck was covered with oil and soiled everything that came near it.

My schedule was a little upset, but nothing so major since I was near my destination.

I returned the auto-carrier the next day (that was supposed to save me some of the daily charges); however when I returned the truck the invoice did not properly generate the credits.  The Penske customer service center indicated it was because the facility that I returned the truck and auto-carrier to did not know how to properly process the invoice (I would have thought it would have been automatic).  They indicated I’d have to deal with them — but when I said I already tired they said I’d have to take it up with the district office in Mobile (AL).

I’ve written a letter to the Penske district office in Mobile; and I’ll let you know how all of this plays out.

The short of it I’m not sure whether or not I’d rent from Penske again — certainly what had potential to be a good experience has been marred with incompetent customer service… and surprisingly the break down itself is not what diminishes my view of Penske, it’s the people who’ve made the rental significantly harder and more time consuming than it needs to have been.

Follow Up

Penske – Follow Up

Just a quick update on my previous post…

The Penske district office (in Mobile, AL) contacted me after they received my written complaint.

Penske was extremely apologetic for the issues I had, and offered to compensate me for the inconvenience.

Given my experience with Penske, I would probably rent from them again.

Virgin America

Virgin launched new domestic airline service in the United States a few months ago, and they’ve been steadily adding major routes to their schedule.

The economy and low passenger loading hasn’t exactly helped the airline out… but to encourage passengers to choose Virgin over the competition they have:

  • Slashed air fares between the major markets they serve.
  • Introduced a rewards program with very low mileage redemption levels.
  • Introduced a credit card through Barclay Bank, which you can actually get a free round trip right off the bat.

Service on Virgin should be better than most domestic carriers; certainly that’s part of Virgin’s model, and the fact that they are a new carrier to the US domestic market means they’ll put their best face forward.

The fare discounts are limited time; you have your reservations by today (purchase by 01-Feb-2009, for travel between 29-Jan-2009 and 31-Mar-2009).  I wouldn’t panic to make plans, I think we might see more deep discount air fares from Virgin and other carriers.


Eyjafjallajokull is the name of the volcano in Iceland causing all the problems with travel in Europe.

The news media is filled with all kinds of stories centering around eruption.

Many of the articles are about the anger travelers have directed towards the EU for shutting down four of the five major airports (and most air travel) in Europe; as well as how much money the air lines are losing (and wanting the EU to compensate them for their loses).

I wonder what these same people and companies would do if the EU had done nothing and catastrophic loss of life had occurred.

I’m sorry for all the inconvenience and the financial loses — but perhaps erring on the side of caution is the right choice.

Show me your papers!

How many times have we heard that phrase spoken in old movies depicting fascist authorities in some foreign land attempting to squash the freedoms the people enjoy.

Wait… it’s not a foreign land any longer — just look outside your window.

First the US Government needed to change the banking laws to collect more information on account holders to make us safe (yeah — why didn’t they put some regulations on the banks themselves to make us about one trillion dollars safer while they were at it).

Now the US Government has implemented gathering more information on individuals who fly so that they can better implement the so called “No Fly List”.

ASIDE:  Could someone explain to me how an individual is so dangerous they cannot be allowed to fly under any circumstances; but cannot be arrested.  Is that because to arrest them you need to worry about what few constitutional rights still seem to be left, but to deny them boarding on an airplane you seem to be able to use any arbitrary set of policies you might want from day to day?

Since 9/11 this county has rolled back personal freedoms — in my opinion the terrorists responsible for the attacks achieved far more than they could have ever hoped for… they didn’t just destroy building and kill innocent people — they’ve destroyed an entire way of life that took hundreds of years to build in the matter of a few months of clueless, scared politicians under the hands of a despotic, manipulative, dishonest administration.

Just like we American’s were so pre-occupied with revenge against those responsible for 9/11 that we blinked; now we’re so enranged with what those actions have done to out economy that we’re not taking a step back and realy looking at the root causes for these changed in American society.

Maybe we need to start fixing the economy by undoing all the damage to the American system that the Bush administration instrumented eight years ago.

Let’s repeal the “Patriot Act”, end wars we entered through manipulation and mis-information, and redirect the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to insure the FREEDOM of every American before the Gestapo comes knocking on your door.

On The Road Again…

By the time this BLOG entry publishes I’ll be on the road moving the last of my household goods.

My trips to California will be few and far between for the foreseeable future.

For all those I know; I wish you the best, and don’t be a stranger!