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The Annexe

The Annexe

The Annexe
The complete (all fourteen chapters) story in the 'Lower Methil Annexe' series!
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Avoiding the Toll

A quick bus trip from the Terminal to the Car Rental office. We’d done well, so far, but car rentals are fraught with all kinds of disaster. Long queues, missing staff, missing cars – the list of screw-ups has a bizarre consistency. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and in ways unimaginable. Only car available found abandoned in a field, wrong type, charged twice, booking lost, being told to “just take one one of the cars ‘over there'” and hoping that the paperwork matches. Been there, had it done to me.

This time, it took about 30 seconds. No fluffing around with paperwork. Show driving licence, show credit card, “go collect car”. Even gave us a complimentary upgrade to a bigger car. My suspicious mind wondered … why? It was a one-way rental – were they offloading a lemon? Friendly guy gave me the keys to a Toyota Camry. “Have a nice day!” Would have been a nice thought if he had shown me how to switch on the lights. It was about 10pm.

Now for the fun bit. Boston Logan Airport is practically an island. Most of the access is via tunnels. With a Toll Charge. Clocked by camera or transponder. No cash option. They send the bill to the car owner (in this case, the Rental company, who take the toll from your credit card, and charge a hefty ‘admin fee’. A $2 toll can cost $20, after the Rental company has grabbed its chunk! No way, Jose!

I practiced for weeks on Google Maps and Street View. I have a TomTom satnav that can route around tolls. I drove through a busy international airport, late on a Sunday night. Took a service road, and a truck bypass route. Crossed a lift-bridge, and zipped through East Boston to Revere, and on to the Revere Beach Parkway. All by memory. Didn’t even set up the satnav until we were well away from The centre of Boston. Smug pat on the back!

We stopped to eat at a ‘Texas Steakhouse’. Huge portions, strange tastes, big crowd – obviously popular. The toilets were clean, but the walls, doors, and most of anything you could touch, had a disgusting, thick layer of tacky grease. Spare the oven-cleaner – spoil the decor. Never again.

The next few hundred miles, driving through the night, took us from Massachusetts, through Connecticut, New Jersey, New York State, to Pennsylvania. Very tired! Nearly ended up on the Massachusetts Turnpike (a toll road) at one point. Fortunately, we had been to our destination before (from a different direction) so we knew the slightly oddball, and wayward route to our residence for the week.

It took longer to find the night staff than it did to offload our baggage. Made it. Lake Harmony. Slept like the proverbial log.

The next day, the place looked familiar – but a few years have brought a few changes. See the next episode …

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