My big "traveling north on the Blue Ridge Parkway" adventure began early in the morning when, as I was about to set out, a mysterious icon lights up on the dashboard. I check the manual. Apparently there's something wrong with the brakes and I should NOT drive the vehicle and should have it IMMEDIATELY towed to a local Mazda dealer.
I call Hertz. I haven't even left the hotel parking lot yet. I explain the situation. "Are you sure you haven't just left the emergency brake on?" Heavy sigh. I am NOT that stupid. "What I'd like is for you (Hertz) to bring me a different car and take this one back to Hertz." (Their office is just 15 minutes away.)
"I'm the only one in the office and we have no other cars. Call Emergency Roadside Assistance. They'll come by, take you to the AIRPORT, where you can get a different car."
"No. I think YOU should handle that."
Apparently that's not how it works.
I'm on the phone with Emergency Roadside Assistance when Hertz calls me back. "I've got a car for you, a Prius, and I'll be there in 15 minutes."
Hooray! There IS a god.
Fifteen minutes later, a big white vehicle drives up. This isn't a Prius, but rather a HUGE Chevy "Traverse." I make no comment. I just want something that runs.
Let's give Hertz credit. They came through.
I sit in the parking lot for a while, figuring out how to adjust the mirrors, the a/c, the seat, the built-in Hertz navigational system, satellite radio, and espresso maker. I back out of the parking space and a video comes on, showing me what I might be backing into because the rear window is so tiny.
I lumber out of the parking lot and head toward the Biltmore Estate (my first stop before heading up the parkway). (And thank you, Sandhills Photo Club, for the free pass.)
Hooray! My photo adventure has finally begun!
I arrive at the estate. Ooh. Ahh. Big house. Cool stuff to shoot outside. Once I figure out why my new camera has decided to shoot photos in "blue" format (don't ask), I hand over my ticket and go inside.
The first thing I see? A sign saying "no photography allowed."