Limbo, August 2015

We haven’t left yet, as my co-workers keep reminding me. Our house was rented out the beginning of the month  so we are staying elsewhere. We were at Pennsic for a week, then six days at a friend’s house who was away, now the kids + Mr. Fantastic are trying to get to the cabin (more on that later) and I’m alone for six days house-sitting in south philly. 

I’m pretty sure I just confused those older Chinese-looking ladies in the park with my attempts at mandarin. I’m trying to learn a little mandarin and do some travel planning before I work my final two days at my job and go to the cabin for Burning Chicken 10, which is also like our going-away party. Except we can’t leave from there because we have some loan paperwork that needs to be done first. Also, there is the matter of the car.

We have always faced the fact that our overworked Dodge Caravan may not be up for the cross-country trip. We have backup plans of renting a car, taking the bus or train, even buying a car and reselling it on the west coast somewhere. And it appears we may have to enact those plans sooner than we had hoped; the car has broken down. 

It happened yesterday while the Fantastics, minus yours truly of course, we’re heading north to the cabin. Mr. Fantastic texted the grim matter to me and stayed in a hotel with the kids, who probably loved it. So now I find myself comparing various ways across this vast country for the six of us. What will we do? Stay tuned!

Some notes from frantic research:

Rental car to Ohio, bus to Chicago, train to San Francisco, rental car to Seattle, bus to Vancouver:

$400 for a two-day rental car to my parents’ place, then Megabus from Cleveland to Chicago (6.5 hrs) is $32ppx6=$192. Then there is the Zephyr train to San Francisco (50 hrs) for $164-$321pp, probably at the higher end since it is tourist season, but also discount for kids, so $984-$1284 total. And no driving! Then car rental again to get us to Vancouver. A week for a one-way minivan from San Fran to Vancouver is difficult; looks like you go to Seattle then take a bus. A week of car rental one way from San Francisco to Seattle looks to be $1000. Bus is about $20 for the 4-hour ride, train is $45, also 4 hours. What is the grand total for transport? About $3100, not including gas and food and lodging. We were hoping for about $1000 less than that including gas, room, and board in our car, as I had calculated in a previous post. Bummer. But I do get kind of psyched about the big train ride!

Skipping San Francisco may make things easier:

I don’t really want to, but maybe we should. Same trip to Chicago and then Amtrak to Vancouver. The train is $985-$1400. Depends on which train, transfers etc. but not bad. It’s only 50 hours, so that means more lodging costs and no camping gear. 

Train to San Fran then fly to Vancouver?

San Francisco to Vancouver flight looks like $150. So $600, not bad compared to car but I really want to see a friend in Portland. Drive San Fran to Portland w/ 2 day car rental =$400. Just a 10-hr drive so maybe 1 day car rental=$200. Why is it $200/day for a car?!? Drop fees, which seem standard for one way rentals, are killing me!

11 days one way car rental from philly to Seattle is $1800. That may be the way to go. I guess renting longer is less per day, only 1 drop fee. Also, we can take all the luggage we can fit and we can camp along the way. 

Flights

Cleveland to San Francisco for us $1400 per cheapo air

Chicago to San Francisco for us $768
No idea how this will turn out, but we have a lot of options!

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