We picked up a Budget rent-a-mini-van and headed north, stopping in Virginia for the night. It was there in Virginia that I noticed there were no license plates on the car. Not front, not back. Mmmm, they do things different here. I didn't worry much; if the rental company left the plates off their vehicle it must be ok, right? Not my problem . . .
Elliot Street in Brattleboro; my gr-grandmother was born at the end of the street (out of view)
Ms. Policewoman brought to my attention the missing plates and asked for the registration. Surprise! Another Budget blooper--the glove compartment was vacant. I offered her the only document I had: the rental agreement. It was against the law to drive without plates or registration, duh, and she could take the car from me right then, yikes. But she peeked inside the car, saw 4 wide-eyed children with all our junk, and said she wouldn't do that. The deal was, she would meet me at my hotel to write a citation (and I made sure it was going to be to the rental company), then I was not allowed to drive the car except to go to a Budget rental-car location for a switch the next day.
The nearest Budget was in Greenfield Mass. an hour away, but I could visit my cousin Maureen in West Springfield on the same trip, so no harm done. Turned out the Greenfield office was closed that day, a Saturday. From Maureen's I spent a good 40 minutes on the phone attempting to find an nearby Budget that was open; the closest one turned out to be down at Hartford/Springfield (BDL) airport in Connecticut. My research time in Vermont was going to be sucked up fixing this stupid rental car mess. But wait, I was going to pick up Craig at BDL in a couple of days anyway. My choice then, was to live as a fugitive from the law for the next few days, because I darn well wasn't going to squander my vacation making 2 trips down to BDL.
So back to Brattleboro we went. I cautiously stayed within the speed limit on back roads to get there. I parked in obscure spots hidden from the road. While I transcribed gravestones at the cemetery the car was secreted behind shrubs. Not a good feeling, to know I was disobeying a cop, especially one who gave me a break, but the whole thing was a dumb error on Budget's part, not mine.