How to Kill a Rental Car

Andrew Walker

Andrew Walker has spent six years as a freelance stage manager for the performing arts. During those years he logged thousands of miles on American and Canadian highways. He currently lives in Seattle where he is desperately trying to avoid the rat race.

For years he and his friend Josh had been talking about traveling together, but they had never been able to make good on their promises. Time and circumstances conspired in their favor this summer, so they took advantage.

Planning to spend 12 days touring the American Southwest, each had things he wanted to do. Compromise was going to be a prominent theme. Andrew and Josh’s 4,264-mile road-trip was to be as much an exercise in delving into their own personal dynamics as it was an exploration of Utah, Arizona, and California.

Andrew knew his vehicle would never survive such a trip, so he and Josh decided to rent a car. They first agreed on three basic requirements: good gas mileage, air conditioning, and a CD player. Josh does not own a car and until recently had not had a driver’s license. He was eager to get behind the wheel. "I could just drive for two straight weeks," he would say. Somehow Andrew knew better.

You can reach Andrew at

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