In which life is really difficult for people without drivers' licenses

Or: I am really annoyed with my boyfriend right now

This Saturday, my boyfriend and I are flying to California to go to a wedding. Specifically, it’s his college buddy’s wedding and he’s one of the groomsmen. It’s a madcap trip; we’re flying into Santa Barbara airport on Saturday morning, attending the rehearsal dinner that night, attending the wedding in Santa Ynez on Sunday and flying back to New York City on Monday.

Because we’re there for such a short period of time, the boyfriend (From now on referred to as TB) ran into a great deal of trouble finding a hotel room. Since it’s Labor Day weekend and the area is a popular spot, many hotels required a three-night minimum. We were finally able to find a hotel in Solvang, about 35 miles from our airport and about 8 from the winery where the wedding will be held, that would let us stay for just two nights. “No big deal,” College Buddy assured TB. “It’s easy to get around!”

Of course, College Buddy forgot that we’re from NYC and we don’t actually have drivers’ licenses. I’ve never had one and TB’s is long since expired. Renting a car is not an option for us. TB is pretty blasé about the whole thing, breezily saying “Oh, we’ll make it work. Don’t worry.”

After picturing myself in high heels and a fancy dress hitch-hiking along the highway, I decided to start researching mass/public transportation options. And they suck. Amtrak doesn’t stop in Solvang. Greyhound neither. I found a mass transit bus that will work for our arrival on Saturday, but it won’t be running on Monday. Cabs and limo services are quoting me astronomical prices. I found a website called “Car Free California” and just about laughed my ass off. It is apparently impossible to not have a car in California! I’m totally freaking out. I have a feeling this is going to be a disaster.

Bummer of a situation, but why is it your boyfriend that you’re annoyed with, and not his friend?

Yep, you are screwed. Sorry.

I live in California and had a boyfriend who never got a license and it ultimately was very damaging to our relationship (I was a wine writer and having to be my own designated driver at wine events was a huge bummer).

Hopefully there will be others in the wedding party who are also staying in Solvang and you can carpool with them. Or you are just going to spend a bucketload of cash on cabs. No way around it, I’m afraid.

Student Driver, I’m mostly annoyed at him because I’m left to do all the research for a trip I don’t care about one way or another. If I knew his friend at all, I’d probably be annoyed with him too.

Fried Dough Ho: Yep, I was afraid of that.

What’s up with expired driver’s licenses? How long are they valid for in the US? Mine expires 2046.

Merchandise, since this weekend is all about your boyfriend and his buddy, your best bet is to bring some really good walking shoes, a good book, and just relax and enjoy the scenery. Solvang is a really great town to walk around and when you can’t get to whatever event you should be at in a timely fashion, don’t sweat it (and DON’T DO ALL THE WORK FOR YOUR BOYFRIEND!), just “go with the flow” of where you are and enjoy the scenery.

Seriously. Your boyfriend isn’t worried about it and neither is his buddy. It is their problem. Bring something to occupy yourself and let them worry about it…

It varies by state, but here in MA they are good for 5 years.

Yeah, this is officially Not Your Problem. Every other person there will have a car, and it’s up to your boyfriend and the groom to work out how to get you where you need to be. Just double down on the patience, bite your lip whenever you’re tempted to bitch at him (or anyone) over any poor planning that comes up, and try to have fun.

As an out-of-towner at a friend’s wedding I would imagine lots of people will be available to help out. I wouldn’t be worried.

My problem was in Illinois they will randomly select (or did at the time) a few people so when they renew their licenses they have to either take a written test or a driving test.

When I went to renew mine in 1994, they sprung the you will have to take the driving test to get it renewed. Fair enough it was with the renewal notice, but I couldn’t find anyone with a car. No one I knew had one. So I waited and after a year I had to take the entire thing over again. Fair enough. I took the written and eye test and past and again, had no one to lend me a car for the driving part.

Now it’s 2010 and I haven’t driven in 16 years, I wonder if I still could? Hmm… But it makes no difference as I don’t know anyone with a car :slight_smile:

You know what? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a car! (Well, a car in the family, obviously.) Not knowing anyone who has a car is completely and utterly strange to me. Wow.

So is the whole “never had a license” from the OP. Its difficult to wrap the brain around. Been driving since I was 16, I cannot imagine life without a car.

Most states are about 5 years. Arizona is one exception, I think they’re like 40 years. For the most part, renewal can be done by mail, unless you have serious infractions or are getting on in years.

The best thing to do is to plan two vacations in your head. The first vacation is the one where TB manages to find transportation to and from wedding events for the two of you and you have a lovely time. The second vacation is the one where you simply can’t find a car and you are in a lovely hotel in California for a few days and have to entertain yourselves with no wedding activities. Either way you can have a great time and a much needed vacation!

If you just can’t bring yourself to not worry about it your best bet is to find a bridesmaid/maid of honor and ask them about how people are getting to and from the wedding. They are the go-to people for this kind of thing and will probably be glad to find someone to get you to and from the ceremony in one piece.

I know - I know bicycle commuters, but they all own cars also.

There are some parts of California where you could live without a car. Solvang is not one of them, I’m afraid.

Your best bet is to find out who else is attending the wedding and see if you can get rides with them. You should ask TB to do that for you, since he’s far more likely to have connections in that direction.

Thanks for all the reminders to be relaxed about this. One of my biggest personal failings is not realizing when things are Not My Problem. I have an inherent need to plan and fix and figure things out.

Leaffan, I know just two people who live nearby that own cars. One lives in the Bronx and never drives it. The other lives in New Jersey and never drives it.

otternell, I didn’t even grow up in New York City! I had an accident when I was 15 and was blinded in the left eye. Never felt comfortable driving with that particular handicap.

Is it too late to look at other hotel options closer to the wedding site? Paying for a third night that you’re never going to use at a more convenient hotel may be cheaper than car fare to get to the “cheaper” hotel.

I agree with suranyi - your boyfriend should be doing the legwork here and finding another wedding guest who’d be willing to give you guys a ride. I wish you the best of luck in handing over the problem to TB - I know that’s tough to do sometimes!

But while you’re in Solvang, head over to Anderson’s restaurant for some of their famous pea soup. Seriously. It’s good pea soup.

I would have called a driving school and worked something out with them. Bonus - arrange for a driving lesson or two and learn some good skills!