Flying to San Francsico and on to Monterey today to drive the Ford Mustang Boss 302 on Laguna Seca Race track tomorrow.
But our plane sat on the ground in Toronto for over an hour. Turns out we were waiting for a group of kids, a hockey team from San Jose who must have been at a midget tournament or something.
Then, we had to be de-iced.
So we touched down in San Francisco about 1:10, at least 40 minutes late, which was too tight to catch the 1:40 flight to Monterey.
Close, but no Kewpie doll.
The next flight at 3:00 was full, so we were re-booked on a 7:00 p.m. departure.
Five and a half hours in an airport? Come on; we're car guys. Where's the rental car desk? Monterey is only a couple hours' drive from San Francisco.
Well, you practically need a rental car to get to the rental car desk in San Francisco - it's at the very end of the inter-terminal railway line, which you only get to after a marathon trek through the airport.
Budget had no cars we could just leave in Monterey. The guy there suggested we try Alamo.
Turns out Alamo also handles National. Maybe they're one and the same; I seldom rent a car so how would I know?
There were four of us, so we asked for a full-size car.
"How about an Impala?" said the ever-so-cheerful clerk.
"Um, well, we're going to a Ford event - do you have any Fords?"
"How about a Fusion?"
Hardly our idea of a full-size car...
"Actually, you take this paper, go down to the lot and choose any full-size car you like!"
When we got to the garage, 'Edwin' the attendant told us, "Take anything in Row N6!"
"Can't we have that lovely Mercury Grand Marquis?" I asked. "I can pretend I'm a cop or a cab driver. It's built in Canada and everything."
"It's really an 'executive' car," said Edwin, "But - well, go ahead. Tell them at the check-out exit that Edwin said it was OK."
Edwin, my man.
So there we were, in a Mercury Grand Marquis heading down Highway 101. Me driving. Left Lane. 55 miles per hour. Left turn signal on for forty-seven miles.
I even had my flip-up sunglasses on.
Geez, it hurts to know you're in the demographic for this car.
But I DID drive a Grand Marquis to the Monterey Plaza Hotel. Here's the picture to prove it:
Problem with being the designated driver - some of my passengers got this on Facebook and Twitter before I will.
And I always thought Jean Jennings (a.k.a. Lindamood) of Automobile magazine had it right when she said Mercury should have offered a 'de Sade' package on this car. Black leather upholstery, of course. Steering wheel made of welded chains. Seat belts - well, you get the idea...