Field of Science

The luxury of driving

Not too many of you are old enough to remember when travel by air was quite nice, comfortable, convenient, decent food, good treatment.  Now it's inconvenient, you're treated like a terrorist (by now the FSA must have a remarkable collection of pocket knives), the food is non-existent, and you just hope for no major hassles.  So now rather than dreading a drive across 4-5 states, it sounds like a pretty good deal, especially because Kansas, Nebraska, and Montana are not in among those states.  Your nice little GPS unit keeps you updated, on track, and helps you find decent food and lodging; why the only thing it doesn't do is serve you drinks.  As long as you aren't in a big hurry one of the best things you can do is ditch the interstates where you play bumper cars with huge trucks, and take one of the old US or state routes.  You never know what you'll find along the way, whereas on the interstate you know exactly what you'll find, and it's boring.  A couple of our best day's travel in recent years resulted in driving across Colorado and New Hampster/Vermont on two-lane roads.  Rather than worry about how big your bottle of shampoo is, you can travel with your survival supplies and arrive with the promise of margaritas and salty snacks like the airlines used to have.  This is sort of a return to TPP's youth when his family traveled everywhere by car, and as a result he has visited all of the lower 48 states by car.  Then upon becoming an academic professional, the travel changed to air, and it was quite a luxury; you really thought you had made it.  Perhaps you will be surprised to learn that TPP did not fly on a plane until he was 25 years old.  Now travel by air is only done out of necessity, when time and distance are an issue.  When driving, TPP gets to practice his road side plant ID, done at 100 kph; much more interesting than clouds.  And not only that, but you can buy things and cart them home with you, like bottles of wine, or smoked sausage, or what not, that you could never ever get on a plane.  Even when you bring your own food, things may not work out well; an airline got quite perturbed when we were eating smoked Pacific salmon and cheese, quite aromatic in the close confines of the carbin and some of the food whimps were offended, or perhaps because we would not share.  So we'll be traveling in class, by driving, and won't miss air travel one bit.  Now if only the USA would fix their trains!    


Anonymous said...

Dearest Phactor,

"When driving, TPP gets to practice his road side plant ID, done at 100 kph"

If you get bored with this can I suggest copying the late David Webb, a plant taxonomist at Trinity College, Dublin. He developed a classification based on the highest speed that you could confidently identify a species at. Testing this classificatory system on trees was quite exhilarating.


Beth at PlantPostings said...

Enjoy the trip! I can't imagine IDing anything at that speed (62 mph?), although I always try.