California With the Top Down

By Andrea Sachs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 24, 2007

Q. I want to rent a high-end convertible to drive from downtown San Francisco to the Los Angeles airport. Any suggestions?

Noralyn McGuinty, Washington

A. To cruise with the California crowd, you need to drive alfresco. "Finding a convertible in California in the summertime should be fairly easy," said Sean Comey, a spokesman at AAA of Nothern California. Most of the big-name rental car companies stock convertibles; however, they may place restrictions on the higher-priced models -- mainly, the pickup and drop-off must be in the same vicinity or city. In addition, prices are higher when you rent one way.

National (800-227-7368,, for example, rents convertible PT Cruisers, VW Beetles and Ford Mustangs, all of which can be driven one way. For the PT Cruiser, you'll pay from $200 a day for a San Francisco pickup and an L.A. return, or $79 for a San Fran round trip. (Rates include unlimited mileage.) Hertz's roofless models include Mustangs, Miatas, Audis and Corvettes. However, the company allows only certain models to be driven one way, such as the Miata for $139 per day with unlimited mileage. To tool around just San Francisco in an Audi, the rate is $123 a day, with unlimited mileage; for the Corvette, it's $203, plus 39 cents per mile for distances exceeding 100 miles. Info: 800-654-3131, http://

I'd like to go to New York for the Commerce Bank Five Boro Bike Tour next May. Are there hotels in New Jersey from where we could get our bikes to Battery Park?

Bill Bryan, Springfield

New Jersey is linked to Battery Park, on the southern tip of Manhattan, by various modes of transportation. Where you stay can determine how you reach the starting line of the bike tour.

The George Washington Bridge connects Fort Lee, N.J., to the Upper West Side (178th Street). You can drive across the bridge and down to Battery Park, or cycle on the bridge's south sidewalk and along the Greenway Path, which parallels the Hudson. The Hilton Fort Lee at the George Washington Bridge (201-461-9000, is two miles from the bridge and allows bikes in its guest rooms.

If you overnight in Hoboken, Weehawken or Jersey City, you can transport your bike on a N.Y. Waterway ferry to various spots along Manhattan's West Side. The closest drop-off point to Battery Park would be the World Financial Center, which can be accessed from five locations in New Jersey. However, the ferry services that route only on weekdays; on the weekend, take the boat from any of eight New Jersey docks and disembark at West 39th Street, then hop on the Greenway. Info: 800-533-3779, Another alternative is to take the PATH train from Hoboken to the World Trade Center and cycle on over. Bikes are permitted on the train but are banned on weekdays from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.; only two bikes per car. Info:

Hoboken does not currently have any hotels, but a W Hotel is scheduled to open next year. In Jersey City, the Sheraton Suites on the Hudson (201-617-5600, has a heated pool for post-race therapy.

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