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Fun with Rental Cars
Jul 14th, 2011 by Jessica

We’ve traveled to some incredible destinations over the past decade together.  Some of those trips have created the memories to cherish for a lifetime.  Ironically, many of those instances were tied directly to the cars we rented at our destination’s airport.

It’s seems like a funny thing to do doesn’t it?  Who would generate a blog entry dedicated to rental cars?  Cars are a big part of our life.  From my husband’s love of Transformers to my father’s career with General Motors to our travels to auto museums throughout the country, cars are always a big part of our adventures.

I’ve chosen three cars in particular that have played an integral part of three very special vacations, and I’d like to share with you why.

2004 Jeep Cherokee

2004 Jeep Cherokee

2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee – We rented this Wonder Jeep on the Big Island in Hawaii and used it to circumnavigate the island multiple times.  This vehicle took us where no other rental car could dream of.  Its 4×4 action climbed lava rocks, sandy beaches and even suffered a coconut concussion.  Without it, we never could have made it to the Green Sand Beach.  This Jeep made our trip amazing, and we still talk about today!

2009 Mustang GT

2009 Mustang GT

2008 Ford Mustang GT – We rented this beautiful blue convertible Mustang in Vancouver to enjoy in our days prior to board our cruise to Alaska.  Much to our dismay, it rained almost the entire trip.  Just before we were about to take it back, the sun broke free from the sky and we rejoiced!  This little beauty took us around and around Stanley Park with the top down, wind in our hair and spirits finally free.  This Mustang was one of the best things that happened to us in Vancouver.  I also loved the “butt warmers” which made for an especially pleasing ride.

2009 Camaro

2009 Camaro

2009 Chevrolet Camaro – Cliffjumper (from the Transformers) is what this red beauty is known by in our household.  Arriving in Denver for the Fourth of July was the last thing Andrew wanted to do.  Sick to his stomach and exhausted from travel, you can imagine the brain crunching that had to occur when I gave him the keys to our secret rental.  Driving around Denver in a real live Cliffjumper may have just made that trip bearable for him.  We quickly determined that we both pretty much hated the vehicle, but it was really fun to rent one.  We were both scared of harming it in any way.  Getting dirt on the floorboards was some kind of sin.  The blind spots in this car were absolutely horrendous.  People stopped in the parking lots to take their picture with our rental car.  It garnered a massive amount of unwanted attention from the public in Denver.  This rental car definitely made the trip a memorable one.

Here’s hoping that our future holds many more destinations, and more incredible rental cars.

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Fred in Michigan
Jun 23rd, 2011 by Jessica

We took our traveling gnome, Fred, on a trip to Michigan in 2009.  We photographed him all over the state doing funny things.

These are two of my favorite shots.  The first one is Fred at the Mackinac Bridge.  He enjoyed the views of the lake!  The second one is Fred on the Ausable River bank in Mio, Michigan.  I used to raft and canoe down this river from this exact boat launch when I was kid.  Fred enjoyed listening to me relive the memories of this spot.  (Probably more than Andrew did, but they both listened to my story anyway.)

Fred at the Mackinac Bridge

Fred at the Mackinac Bridge

Fred at the Ausable River in Mio, Michigan

Fred at the Ausable River in Mio, Michigan

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Four Corners and Monument Valley
Jun 6th, 2011 by Jessica

Andrew and I took Mom to visit Four Corners in April, 2008. It was a whole lot of driving and not a lot to see.

Jessica and Andrew at Four Corners

Jessica and Andrew at Four Corners

The best part of the trip came courtesy of our spontaneity on the way back when we detoured to see Monument Valley. It was really incredible to witness the extraordinary landscapes there!

Monument Valley, 2008

Monument Valley, 2008

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Sunset over the San Juan Islands
May 16th, 2011 by Jessica

May 15, 2007

May 15, 2007

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Lighthouse on San Juan Island
May 2nd, 2011 by Jessica

May 15, 2007

May 15, 2007

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Downtown Seattle from the Air
Apr 27th, 2011 by Jessica

Taken from a private airplane over Seattle, Washington.  A special thanks to my friend Noel who took us on this amazing adventure!

May 15, 2007

May 15, 2007

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Frontier Airlines Classic Plus Fare: Is it worth it?
Apr 24th, 2011 by Jessica

We flew Frontier Airlines with their Classic Plus fully refundale airfare for the first time two weeks ago. The following is an account of our trip for those who are considering upgrading to this fare.

I originally purchased the tickets online through frontierairlines.com.  the fare went down a few hundred dollars before our trip. I called Frontier and they gave us a price match, only because we had fully refundable Classic Plus tickets. If they were not refundable, Frontier will not price match their own fares.

Phoenix to Denver
Online check in was fast and easy. At the check in desk in Phoenix, two lines were available but no staff monitored who was in line, so all customers were using the Classic Plus line.  The automated system worked well.  At the gate, many customers were asked to gate check carry on luggage for free because the flight was completely full.  Classic Plus customers were offered first choice of boarding.  Our Direct TV monitors were activated for us by the flight attendants.  We were given a drink and snack included in the fare, as well as a cookie.  The attendants were all very friendly.

Denver to Louisville
Our flight gate was changed twice in two hours while waiting for our layover. The rest of the flight was exactly like the first leg.  All was very well.

Louisville to Denver
There was only one check in line available, and only one attendant in Louisville.  All customers used a single line. There was no way to pass regular customers as advertised in the Classic Plus airfare.  Our boarding passes didn’t designate us as Classic Plus customers, which we failed to notice.  When the boarding began, we boarded first without question by the gate attendant.  Once on board, we were quickly told by the flight attendant that we were not Classic Plus customers.  Other customers were also affected.  The flight attendant was very clear to me that it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure the correct designation for the fare is written on the boarding pass.  After arguing with her, she eventually tried to swipe her card to give me access to the Direct TV, but my seat monitor card reader was broken.  They did not offer us any drinks or snacks. We were given a cookie.  Randomly on this flight leg, they offered Military service personnel the Direct TV access for free.  We were later told that the crew was an emergency replacement and they were not given any paperork, so they had no way to know who was Classic Plus and who was not.  Our flight stopped in Denver and continued on to Phoenix. Originally we were told that we would be staying on the plane. After landing, the temp crew told us we had to deplane and they didn’t know what gate we needed to go to.

Denver to Phoenix
We found our new gate across the A-terminal with a few minutes left. I approached the gate and asked the attendant to print us new boarding passes that said Classic Plus, to try to eliminate the problems from the first flight.  She said she could hand write “Plus” on our tickets, but that was all she could do. She assured us the paperork for the flight showed our status correctly.  We were allowed to board first. Our Direct TV was activated right away without any fuss.  The flight attendant later came through and said, “We have snacks for sale, but first what would you like to drink?”  We said, “Nothing to drink, thanks,”  she never came back to give us the snacks. Another lady came through and gave us a cookie.

Overall, Frontier is the least consistent airline for customer service in-flight that I have ever experienced.  The first four rows of comfort seats were very large and I enjoyed the Direct TV (when we got it) and the cookies.  Just be ready to fight for what you pay for with this airline.

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Jessica at the Shore
Mar 13th, 2011 by Jessica

Taken on Highway 1 near San Diego, California on March 13, 2007.

Looking out to the Pacific Ocean

Looking out to the Pacific Ocean

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Just for Fun: Legoland San Francisco
Mar 10th, 2011 by Jessica

Taken at Legoland in California on March 10, 2007.

Lombard Street (Lego Style)

Lombard Street (Lego Style)

San Francisco Homes (Lego Style)

San Francisco Homes (Lego Style)

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Corridor, The Getty at Malibu, June 2006
Feb 8th, 2011 by Jessica

Corridor, The Getty at Malibu, June 2006

Corridor, The Getty at Malibu, June 2006

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