Showing posts with label rental cars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rental cars. Show all posts

Saturday, August 18, 2012

WAWeekend: Wine ‘Tasting and Toting’

Tasting and toting in Washington Wine Country just got easier thanks to a new program announced yesterday.

Tourism Walla Walla, Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau, Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau, and Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance announced the launch of a new collaborative effort with Alaska Airlines and Enterprise Rent-A-Car to promote Washington Wine Country.

Map picture

Launching September 2012, Washington Wine Country Taste and Tote will make it easier and more affordable to taste and travel the Yakima Valley, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla Valley wine regions.

DCVegasSeville2011 157As part of this new partnership, Alaska Airlines will expand its existing wine check-in program Taste and Tote to the Yakima and Pasco/Tri-Cities airports.

Originating in the Walla Walla Valley in late 2011, this program allows outbound passengers to check their first case of wine free on their return flight. In addition, Enterprise Rent-A-Car will waive car drop-off fees for visitors flying on Alaska Airlines into Yakima, Pasco or Walla Walla regional airports who wish to fly out of one of the other two airports.

WARoadTrip2012 198"The Taste and Tote program has been a big success in Walla Walla and we feel our expansion to the Pasco and Yakima airports shows our dedication to being Washington Wine Country's airline of choice," said Clint Ostler, Alaska Airlines' manager of retail advertising and sponsorships. "Washington State's tourism and wine industries are so closely connected and we are committed to making it easier for travelers to visit our award-winning vineyards."
(Photo: Marcus Whitman Hotel, Walla Walla)

Other features of the new program will allow travelers to sample wines at participating wineries and pay no tasting fees when they show a current Alaska Airlines boarding pass from one of the three airports.

WARoadTrip2012 215The majority of visitors to Walla Walla Valley, Tri-Cities region and Yakima Valley wineries come from the Seattle and Portland metropolitan areas. Organizers hope that with these added incentives, visitors from these destinations and others served by Alaska Airlines will utilize air service for their trip to Washington Wine Country.
(Photo: Walla Walla).

For more information on the Taste and Tote program:

Note:  Thanks to Seattle’s GreenRubino PR for providing today’s news. The photos are mine, (the planes flown to these destinations are smaller than the one pictured above).

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

High Plains Drifters and Sherman our Tank

There is something about us and rental cars in Arizona. . .

Remember Ol’ Orange from last spring? We felt as if we were in a Sunkist citrus commercial as we buzzed through the Valley of the Sun in a burnt navel orange.
Then there was that little tin tuna can we drove for a week last fall – the one that cost us $600 because we missed the small print about a one-way drop charge.

So, it should be no surprise when I introduce you to Sherman, (short for Sherman the Tank) our wheels for this spring’s Arizona road trip:

Arizona2012 019

Sherman, a Mercury Marquis, is a big ol’ boy. So big that I sit on towels that I take from the room so that I can see out the front. . .that’s one big ol’ stretch of hood you might notice.  Joel, who operates this tank, has compared some maneuvers to how it might be steering a cruise ship.

We got a great rate on a small compact car for our 16 days here. Advantage price: $385. But they didn’t have a compact for us and after we turned down their offers to pay a bit more for a bigger car, they simply told us they were upgrading us at no charge. End result? Sherman.

The travel tip with this story is: sometimes bigger isn’t better even if it is free.

On the flip side: if for some reason we needed a place to sleep, we could certainly stretch out in our car. 

Sherman's gotten us to some mighty nice places this last week and I’ll be telling you more about them later on.  Right now I have to figure out what that little red light on the dashboard that came on this morning might mean. . .

Monday, March 7, 2011

High Plains Drifters Ridin' Ol' Orange

Hula Babe and Beach Boy put away their aloha duds and are once again the High Plains Drifters for a southwest road trip which will hopefully take us from winter into spring. We flew to Las Vegas and then set out for Scottsdale -- ultimately Tucson, Arizona, -- and then will head back to Las Vegas for our return flight.

We got our rental car from a lobby kiosk at the Monte Carlo Resort, just a couple of blocks from The Jockey Club.
  • Money-saving tip:   We outwitted those highway robbers, known as cabby's, by rolling our suitcases from the JC to the Bellagio Resort next door and riding the free tram from it to the Monte Carlo. (Eat your heart out cab drivers!)
  • Money-saving tip #2:  We had found the best car rental rate on Hotwire where the price was a couple hundred less for a Dollar Rent-a-Car than the cheapest we had found on our trusty Expedia.  
The car, a compact Dodge something, looks like, well, lets put it this way, think of an enormous orange rolling down the road. You got it; that's us.

Ol' Orange - only one of its kind we've seen so far
Speaking of fruit, have you ever been waited on by someone with the personality of a prune? No pleasantries, limited eye contact, staccato answers. . .that's my definition of "prune personality disorder". For example:

Joel: Can my wife be added as a second driver? (Enterprise had said spouses were added without charge in Hawaii).
Prune: "Sure. $10 a day extra."

Joel: How much grace period do we have on the return? (usually 15 minutes to a half hour).
Prune: "One minute late - one day additional charge."

When we declined their insurance, Prune said he needed to see our insurance papers (we've never been asked for those in the history of our travels)
Prune: "You must sign showing you declined coverage and that you are driving uninsured," pointing to the signature line.    Joel pointed out we weren't uninsured, Prune pointed to the line all the same. Joel signed.

We were sent off to find the car in the parking garage and did so quite easily (it is orange, and the only orange car in sight, probably the only one in all of Arizona). I noticed a significant scratch on the passenger's door but saw nothing noted on the rental form.  (Actually, I think some giant tried to peel it thinking it was an orange.)

I marched back to the lobby to report to Prune my findings and took great delight in watching another couple return their rental:
Prune:  "Did you fill the car with gas?"
Couple: "Yes we did."
Prune:  "I need to see the receipt."

I reminded myself that we are saving a couple hundred dollars, reported the scratch to Prune, and we were off. Next post from The Timeshare Trail.  But if you happen to see us drive up, stop by and say hello.


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