Driving Mr. Lurch

For our honeymoon, Kurt wanted to rent a convertible for part of the trip. Given the rain and vog (volcano fog) on the Big Island, we decided to get one for our week on Maui.

This sounded fine until it came time to price convertible rentals. The cheapest I found at a major company was over $500 for the week. A regular car: $130.

Um ... heck no!

Being the miser recessionista I am, I decided to go bargain hunting. My dad said he'd gotten good deals at local car agencies, and while the cars weren't always brand new, there was nothing wrong with them.

I hunted through the local Maui agencies and finally settled on one that shall remain nameless (you'll see why soon enough). They offered a weekly convertible rental for half the price of the big guys.

The choices were a Sebring or a Mustang, and you could almost hear Kurt's heart murmuring, "Mustang, Mustang, Mustang" on the drive to pick it up. When we arrived, we were presented with the keys to a not-so-shiny, not-so-new Chrysler Sebring. Poor Kurt.

Upon a (lengthy) inspection, it was determined that amid the dents and scratches and general aesthetic scariness, the ol' Sebring had a malfunctioning convertible top. Jackpot!

Before we knew it, we were ushered into the white Mustang that Kurt had been eying the whole time and were heading off to Kihei. Granted, the seats looked a little off and the car was hardly pristine, but with the top down, the seabreeze blowing, and the radio on, how could we go wrong?

We were so naive.

When we turned onto the main road, we noticed something odd. We got dusted by ... a Corolla?!? Not even a new one at that. Before we knew it, several cars had passed us, and we were barely getting up to speed. What kind of Mustang was this anyway??

Honeymooners, meet Lurch.

Not only was Lurch not the peppiest car on the block, he also made some disconcerting sounds. At one point, I turned to Kurt and warned that from the sound of it, the passenger door might fall off at any moment. It didn't, thank goodness, but I was ready.

When we got out and inspected the seats more closely, we noticed some stains. Concerning stains. Quite possibly blood stains. The pattern on the back seat inspired jokes about a mafioso who met his end back there (clearly a midget mafioso since leg room was sparse). We spent the rest of the trip tugging our shorts down to avoid making contact.

Lurch also had rust in unusual places. Like inside the car. While Maui is humid, it seemed like Lurch might have spent some time in the Pacific at some point. Snorkeling perhaps (or see above re: mafioso).

Lurch hobbled along fairly decently for a while, rattling, shaking, brakes squeaking until one evening midway through a left turn when he decided he didn't feel like going any farther. Maybe he was tired, or he'd had a bad day, or he was feeling put out from the 600 turns on the Hana Highway. I don't know. He just coasted to a stop, and we sat on the side of the road in the dark wondering what we should do.

We sweet talked Lurch a little. Pounded .. er ... patted his dash a bit. Before too long, we were up and moving. We never knew what the problem was.

Our most troubling moment with Lurch came driving up Haleakala to see the sunset. As we navigated the hairpin turns with steep drop-offs to the side, I turned to Kurt and asked, "He will be able to make it back down, right?"



More silence.

Finally, Kurt said, "Probably."

We did make it down - slowly and with lots of protesting and squeaking on Lurch's part (and in the center of the two lanes since there was no one else around).

It was almost sad to say goodbye when we dropped him off at the airport. If nothing else, he had personality.

But next time? We'll spend the $200.


casch said...

Scarey, but what an adventure!

Craig Miyamoto said...

I lucked out once. On the Big Island. Rented a standard-size and Hertz gave me a red Nissan convertible. Now THAT was a thing to behold -- me with one arm draped on the seat and steering with one hand, my hair blowing in the wind and young girls waving at me ... okay, I lied about the girls.

Rebecca said...

Convertibles in Hawaii are a beautiful thing!

When we were driving at night with the stars and the breeze and the palms overhead, we could almost (but not quite) forget that Lurch was ... Lurch.