After returning everyone safely home in the hired SUV, mom and I went over to the nearest National Rent-a-Car center, which was in Whittier. It seemed like the guy at the counter wasn’t exactly sure what to do since we were returning a car that came from St. George, Utah.
However, after getting continuous offers by the clerk to sell us one of the abused rental cars, mom finally hired an alternative rental car (to temporarily replace dad’s MPV) while leaving the Utah SUV here.
The fallout from all this was that I had to pay a one-way drop fee of some $500 but the insurance would cover the car hire for mom.
About a week after the end of the Narrows trip, dad’s MPV was declared totaled. So dad collected whatever little amount the car was worth from the insurance company and proceeded to buy a new SUV, which mom was happy to have after going through decades of driving beaters. Besides, the MPV paint was peeling (doesn’t it seem like all MPVs do that?) and it was already on its way out, she contended.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of gas guzzling SUVs, but at least we now have a recreational vehicle that was roomy enough for our gear and removes the hassle of hiring a car and arranging to pick it up and all the baggage that comes with it. I certainly took mom and dad along on several more trips with their new car so at least we were making good use of its high clearance when we had to go on unpaved roads.
And that was the end of that. It looked like 21st Century really came through on this incident (can’t say the same for other more trivial incidents when I wasn’t at fault in more recent years though), and life went on business as usual.