...and we're back. The traveling is over, for now. Our trips back from the west coast usually involve overnight flights. It's a bit of a hassle, but ultimately it's the simplest way to return. I would rather fly overnight and nonstop than have to deal with changing planes. However, I am almost never able to sleep on planes, so I have to plan on devoting the rest of the day to sleep and recovery. I hit my pillow around 6:30 am and woke up about seven hours later.
The San Jose airport is mercifully easy to deal with. It's not huge, but it's not so tiny that you have to disembark from the plane onto the tarmac. Everything is laid out very logically, and the signage is excellent. Even if you'd never been there, you could probably drive out of the rental garage and figure out which highway you needed to be on and how to find it.
Visiting northern California is always interesting to me. The climate is agreeable, the people are uniformly friendly (sometimes a bit too much so for a New Englander's comfort), and there are lots of old cars. And by "old" I mean cars that are 30, 40, maybe even 50 years old, being used as daily drivers. (The weather means rust just isn't the issue it is in the Northeast or Midwest.) This makes observing everyday traffic much more varied and colorful. Unfortunately the cars I saw were gone in a moment or two, so I wasn't able to get any pictures.
As for us, we were driving around in a rented Nissan Sentra, a car that can charitably be described as funny-looking. But it was comfortable enough and didn't use much gas, and when we got to the car return area at the airport, the check-in staffer told us to stay in the car and someone would drive us around to the terminal, so we didn't have to take the shuttle. It was a small gesture that made our lives a bit easier, but one I've never had another rental company offer, and it was appreciated.