Tuesday afternoon we said our goodbyes and boarded the Grayline bus to make the 5 hour drive from Tamarindo, and we were the only 2 passengers, to the San Jose airport where we would spend the night in a Holiday Inn Express. During the trip, the bus stopped at a restaurant to grab a snack or drink and definitely the bano! The highlight was that while there we watched beautiful scarlet macaws flying around in the huge mango trees on the property. Although we had seen them before in Panama sitting in trees, this was a first for seeing them flying around in their natural habitat!!
After checking in at the hotel, Mike and I decided to go across to the casino and have a snack and night cap in the bar. Low and behold, it was karaoke night! Well, this was like no other karaoke we had ever heard!! The singers were all tremendous!! We were blown away and didn't want to leave. A great final evening in Costa Rica!
Up early, a quick trip to the airport, checkin, through security, and off to the gate. All uneventful! We arrived in Phoenix and made it through customs without a hitch. But now we had 8 hours to fill while waiting for our last leg to Spokane. We had lunch, walked the shops, road the Sky Train to the end and back to pass the time. Then it was time to just sit back in the "reading/recharge area" where we caught up on the Internet and read our books. Of course, before we boarded at 7:30pm, we had to have another snack and a drink.
We arrived in Spokane and walked to our hotel across the street and collapsed into bed at almost midnight. The next morning we walked back over to the airport to pick up our rental car at Thrifty to only be adamantly told we needed to produce a hard copy of our car insurance. After telling them we don't carry a hard copy, we were told unless we produced the hard copy they would not honor our reservation. Said it was a "company policy".
In order to try and get them, we had to walk back to the hotel so we could make a Skype call because we didn't have our US sim chips yet to make a local call. I called American Express to get a copy of our collision policy but they said it would take up to 48 hours to get it while Mike called our agent who was going to fax a copy directly to the Spokane counter.
Back we walk to the airport only to be told that their fax machine was completely torn apart and they couldn't receive faxes. So even if I could have gotten American Express to fax, it would have made no difference. I asked that they call each party who would confirm that we did have insurance BUT NOOOOOO!! It's "company policy" so we were plain screwed!!
As we now felt completely stranded, frustrated, and angry, the only thing we could do was pay $10 more a day and $25 more on the weekly rate through Budget to get a car. Oh, and did I mention that this was Bloomsday Weekend in Spokane where they had 47,165 participants in the 10K race from all over the world??!! So, getting another car was not easy. Fortunately, they had a few cars left but rather than our $421 total, it grew to $587 !!!
Our travel agent who booked this reservation is now on the hunt and investigating what happened because when they did a "blind" call to both corporate and to the Spokane Thrifty counter, they were told no they didn't require proof of insurance. So, go figure!! Are we really that scary looking that they didn't want to rent to us, or could it be they gave our car away to another higher paying sole and were trying to cover up, or who the hell knows. But, I can tell you I'm furious all over again!!
Letting it go and trying to just start over fresh with being excited about seeing our daughter, Ara, Mike & I just moved on. We had a wonderful visit with Ara for a couple of hours over coffee and brunch in Spokane. Then off we went to the Mac Store to buy a new iPad for me and Mike would get my "older" iPad since his Nexus Tablet never did work properly since the day he bought it just before our trip. A quick trip to stop and buy wine and beer and we were off on our drive north back "home".
We both commented on how well organized everything in the US is. The weather has been absolutely, positively glorious!! The week before it had been freezing temps with snow. It was now mid to high 80's with beautiful sun and warmth!! Yeah, we must have brought it with us.
The week has been filled with visiting with goods friends, hanging out at our old haunts, going for beautiful drives in the mountains and along the glistening rivers. Taxes are turned in to the accountant, personal business taken care of, so now we are truly enjoying every glorious !! BUT, have NO REGRETS about the decision we made to do the journey we're doing.