Friday, December 9, 2011

Rental Car Blues Redux

Ahhh, finally back in my own car. Gleaming white all over: they cleaned it! Not just the parts they replaced but every darn last inch of it. Even the inside is clean, though I'm having to drive with the windows open in 10 degree temperatures in a still-cold car just to get the fumes out from whatever they polished the dash with.

Note to the interested: ABRA does good work.

And my bill: $0.00. Perfect!

I forgot to mention the thing that really annoyed me about the HHR. It's not about the model but this specific car. It pulls to the left. You don't dare take your hand off the wheel for a second, unless you have some screwey idea about getting up close and personal with oncoming lanes of traffic. I can't just hold the wheel, I have to spend all day pulling on the wheel. My arm aches. While driving I feel like I've gotten a muscle pull from the back of my wrist to halfway up from the elbow. Every moment behind the wheel is annoying.

I was going to leave Enterprise a note about it, but after the run-in with the guy at the gas station, filling up so the guage registered at least as high as it did when it was rented out to me, it slipped my mind.

This car takes E85. There is one (!) station in Forest Lake that has one (!) double-sided pump for E85. When I pulled in tonight, one side of the pump was blocked by the tanker filling the reservoirs with new gas. The other side was blocked by two cars filling up (regular gas, mind you) and one waiting.

One might note that during the whole incident there were unused pumps at the other two islands at this station. Nobody had to wait in this row, unless they were waiting for E85. And none of the others were. Technically this takes standard gas as well, but I'm paying for gas somebody else will be using, and I'm not about to pay the extra $.50/gal of standard. Plus, I checked the last couple days, and the car claims to get just 1 mpg less than with standard gas. Definitely not worth the price.

A side note here, I'd let the gas get low during the day, unwilling to have more than the required 1/4 tank in it at drop off. After dropping paperwork off at HQ, I pushed the buttons on the trip up to the gas station to see how much further it said I could still drive on the remains of this tank: 78 miles. No sweat. After a couple miles, it changed to 79. Then 80, 81, and by the time I had driven about 15 miles, it claimed I could still go 85 miles on this tank. Pretty slick, eh? Wonder if I could repeat that?

I judged the space between the tanker and the pumps to be a tad small for the HHR, especially allowing for my need to open my door (big enough that it'd already clipped my leg a good one once) and my need to stand on the other side of the car where some idiot placed the gas cap, another annoying feature of this beast. I circled the pumps, and the line for "my" island just got longer. I swung around the outside of the tanker, and killed off a minute talking to the driver. He informed me he'd just finished, expressed surprise that there was only the one E85 pump, and offered to move his rig in a minute. I continued around to get into position, and suddenly the other side of the pump had cleared. I just needed to back in from where I was, which I proceeded to do.

Of course, that required a bit of back-and-forth, tight quarters being exacerbated by both my turning radius and the sudden presence of another SUV blocking me in so I had even shorter runs to make in my turn.

Got the picture? Are you ready for it? This new driver got impatient with me after complicating my task, and decided to just whip around me and pull up blocking the E85 pump so he could use another one to get regular gas.


I honked at him, something I ordinarily consider the height of rudeness, unless done for safety reasons. Then I backed up - suddenly with more room - and pulled up to the pump on the side that the tanker was no longer blocking.

I could not resist. I rolled my passenger window down and yelled out to him,"You know I was backing up for that pump you just blocked."

He just looked all innocent and puzzled, and responded, "No I didn't. I just thought you were parking across the end of the pumps."


I'm not sure why I bothered, except to vent. Some people just aren't trainable.

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