Freedom of the Road

I needed to be in State College, PA to speak Monday, and to be in DC on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Now, State College PA is one of those places that  you can’t get there from Texas — not easily anyway.  There is a regional airport, but there are no direct flights from Dallas.  You normally have  your choice of flying through Detroit, or Philadelphia, or somewhere.

In this case, I knew that I needed to be in DC later in the week, so I looked at how to fly into DC, then take a commuter flight to State College.    Turned out from DC I could either take a connecting flight for 3 hours (or similar) or take a drive for 4 hours.  I of course took the drive.

Now, traffic coming out of Washington Dulles airport one would expect to be a bit congested, even on a Sunday.  But I got the navigation unit along with my Chevrolet Malibu from National Rental, and off we went.

I think the navigation unit was set for ‘maximum sightseeing, or ‘seconday roads only’, or ‘avoid tollroads’ because it led me on a merry chase past vineyards and orchards and through villages along the way.  It rained a bit, but I crossed the Potomac and the highway opened up for a while before we tucked back into the scenic route.

Given the opportunity, traveling by car was MUCH more luxurious than traveling by air.  My entire trip up to State College, no one hit the back of my seat; no one sat *way too close* to me.  There was more than plenty of room for my luggage, and no one put luggage in the storage areas near my seat because *they* brought way too much luggage.  My seat was fully adjustable for my comfort.  I had terrific leg room, and wonderful shoulder room.  I picked the entertainment on the radio.  I picked the temperature.  The ride was very quiet, with no continuous jet engine noises.  I stopped for meals or snacks along the way when I felt hungry.

Yes, I could not sleep as I traveled, but let’s face it — sleeping on a plane is a mixed bet at best.

I arrived in State College on schedule having seen and enjoyed all the scenery along the way, and having a much higher opinion of the area because I drove through the forests and vineyards and orchards and mountain passes.  I certainly recommend driving when the time difference is within an hour or two — and it often is when you include security checks and early arrivals.

You never know what you might see along the way and what adventure you miss when you fly over instead of driving through.