Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Part 2 (Automobiles)

Once the flights were all squared away...I started worrying about getting from the airport to the house.  As part of the exchange, we are using our French counterparts' car and they are using ours.  Very cool and saves on renting a car and trains...or it would if only 3 or 5 of us were going.  The car we're using seats five with not a ton of trunk space.  So, for the first month, it should not be a problem...we can all fit in the car for the excursions we are planning.  But, how were we going to get from the airport to the house...which is 1.5 hrs by train.  Oh, train!  Although after traveling about 15 hours (with the clock saying it's been 24 hours), I got to thinking that we might not be that gung ho to get a train into Paris to catch another train to Auxerre.  So, I started researching shuttle services or some option like that.  Didn't get very far with that.  Seems an hour and a half is considered too far for those types of services (that is unless I wanted to pay $700 - $1,000...then I could pretty much get anyone to take me).  Since I was still looking for economical ways to travel (the train would definitely have been the cheapest option at about 33 euro, one way), I did not jump at the $700 shuttle service.  Rather, I sent an email to our exchange family and asked them their recommendation. 

Low and behold, they graciously volunteered to have someone pick us up.  Gotta say, I jumped at the offer.  My note did include something like...what's the best way to get to your house from the airport...are there any good shuttle services?  Oh, by the way, we'll have someone pick you up when you arrive in Los Angeles.  (Not too subtle hint, I know.)  Then I worried that they might be sending the car that we are going to be using (which seats five and not tons of trunk space), so I had to send another email saying we really didn't want to be a bother, but wanted to let them know there would be five of us with lots of luggage and we'd be happy to take the train so as not to be an imposition.  I received an immediate reply saying they would be bringing two cars to pick us up and to bring as much luggage as we wanted.  Another worry put to bed.

I then took to worrying about what we were going to do when all eight of us were there.  Clearly, we would not all fit in the 5 passenger car (especially with all these teenagers).  I researched renting an 8 passenger van for the month, which was actually quite difficult to find and about 4,500 euro for the month (James noted we could just buy a car for that much money).  Then I considered renting a smaller car, and we'd just take two cars everywhere.  Then I thought, we'd just leave a few folks at the house each time we left (I figured at any given time 2-3 of the teens would be ready for a break from us).  I have finally arrived at a wonderful solution.  I'm going to decide when I'm there.  I'll have a whole month before the rest of our group arrives and I'll have a much better understanding of how close the train station is and whether we want to be driving at all.  (It will also give me a chance to meet some neighbors and maybe someone has a car they want to rent to us for the month at a much better rate.)  So, I've left a detail unfinished before I leave...and it feels pretty darn good!  Kind of like I'm living on the edge.  Are you starting to get the picture that I might be just a tad bit of a control freak???   No, not yet?  Don't will!

Stay tuned for the final installment on my transportation worries.  Can you imagine what's next?  Have you fallen asleep yet from the tediousness of my mind?  Feel free to share your comments.

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