Living in Roanoke is like living in a British colony circa 1765. It takes months if not years for fashion and news to filter down and it’s next to impossible to find an efficient way to other places. Just as it took colonists months to sail across the Atlantic to Mother England, it takes ‘Noker’s hours upon hours to get to a hub such as DC or Charlotte in order to travel elsewhere. Such is my quandary for Africa. Roanoke is merely a puddle jumping stop so there’s no such thing as direct flight to anywhere. I will be flying out of Dulles to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. One would think that would be the great distance to be traversed but oh no! It’s not. The big hurdle is not the Atlantic. It’s that 250 mile stretch of Commonwealth that separates me from an international airport.
I have several options:
1. Fly from Roanoke to Dulles – Not going to happen. It will cost nearly $400 and more importantly, the headache that results from dealing with TSA and other airport shenanigans such as making connections, dealing with luggage, etc. just isn’t worth it. Sure, it might only take 37 minutes to fly from Roanoke to DC but the truth is when you factor in all the airport drama it takes hours. Why pay $400 for hours worth of travel when I can spend less money and same amount of time (or less) going via car.
2. Train – HAHAHAHAHA. The problem with this option is that, despite living in a town the railroad built, there are no Amtrak stops within a 50 mile radius. I don’t feel like driving to Clifton Forge OR Lynchburg. Plus, they don’t go to Dulles and I’d have to take a cab from Union Station to Dulles. I’d have to sell an organ to cover the fare or enter into some sort of indentured servitude. I enjoy my freedom and my kidneys too much to consider either.
3. Personal Car – My car is 14 years old. I love my car and it’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had but….frankly, I’m not sure I feel confident soaring up the road in it. I wouldn’t want to deal with breakdowns or other car issues 200 miles from home, especially with a flight deadline pressing me for time. Plus, I’d have to park my car at the airport and the cost for that would bring me back to the “selling an organ” issue that I want to avoid.
4. Rental Car – This seemed like the best solution. However, I will be gone for two weeks so parking a rental car for two weeks is absurd so I checked into one way rentals. Holy Gouging! A one day rental is only $20 a day UNLESS you drop the car off at a different location. Doing that jacks the price up to over $100 a day. That’s ridiculous! I refuse to pay over $200 just to a rent a car for a combined trip total of 8 hours ($100 for going up and another $100 coming back).
Luckily my dad stepped in and offered to drive me if I rented a car (he has a brand new Toyota but doesn’t like driving it anywhere, go figure) so instead of paying $100 a day, I will just pay $20 and he will have the fun of returning it.
I feel badly though. Similar circumstances happened years ago when I returned from Albania. My poor dad got stuck carting me back and forth from Roanoke to Dulles. So I guess I wonder, dear reader, am I just a cheapskate and a bad daughter for trying to save a few bucks, thus causing my dad to drive me?
Maybe in the grand scheme of this whole adventure, it’s silly. Truth is, I’ve spent a fortune on this trip but I guess I hate spending money on ridiculous things. Spending money on a safari or some other awesome experience seems like money well spent. Spending money on ridiculous things like rental cars seems pointless. I’d rather spend my money on fun and adventure and frankly, there’s little adventure to be found on I-81.