In the circles I run, there are folk that would loan a drive out or let you come over to use their drive while you visit.

I have yet to find an alternative to the external USB DVDRW. Besides any CD/DVD drive and 13 bucks gets you an external so it can be cheap! Example at http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=2020

I've used cast off CD/DVD drives and that cable to help other make their own cheap externals.
Bob