When It Makes Sense to Drive Instead of Fly

Road Trip Car

The holidays bring many things: festive decorations, various holiday foods, crackling fireplaces, and general merriment and cheer. Oh, and travel. Lots and lots of travel. Looking at expensive plane tickets during this time of year, it’s pretty clear the air-travel industry is aware of this, and who are they to pass up the chance to leverage a little supply and demand? Airlines may love it, but at times, the juxtaposition of Thanksgiving and Christmas–just 30 days this year–can put plenty of strain on even the fattest wallets. In some cases, it can make you wonder whether it’s more affordable to drive instead of fly. Continue reading >>>

Remember the True Meaning of Memorial Day

traffic jam

Ahhhh, Memorial Day. It’s the time of year when we leave early from work on Friday, load up our favorite recreational vehicle with hot dogs and baked beans, then drive for 14 hours to a place that would take only 3 on any other weekend.

Yes, this is the sacred time of year when we also take Monday completely off of work and take time out of our busy schedules to remember and reflect on the fact that 1.4 billion other families with RVs also take road trips on this weekend… to the exact same campground.

This is why we pledge every year to revise our Memorial Day schedules in hopes of missing the traffic.

Of course, everyone forgets and makes the same travel rituals again next year.

This weekend, my family and I embarked on a day trip to Seattle, completely unaware of the fact that every other human on Earth would be traveling the same highway.

I didn’t intend to become a Memorial Day statistic this year. I typically like to enjoy my Memorial Day by going to Costco and forgetting that it is closed so employees may spend the day remembering why they don’t like to travel on Memorial Day.

Rather than a peaceful 4-hour drive, this trip consisted mostly of idling over a mountain pass with one kid chanting she had to pee and the other making dire warnings about an impending poop.

Of course, the true intent of Memorial Day is to take time to remember and honor those who have passed on to the great freeway in the sky. For some reason, we as a society have decided that the best place to do so is in an outhouse on the side of a backed-up Interstate.

Maybe next year we’ll all remember to stay home and honor our ancestors from the comfort of our living rooms.

Happy Memorial Day! Did you take a road trip this year?


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Green Update: Bill Ford Says Car Networks Are Coming

Bill Ford at Mobile World Congress

At a speech before the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Ford Motor Co.’s Executive Chairman Bill Ford (Henry’s great-grandson) made some notable remarks about how the future will need to accommodate 4 billion cars on the road by mid-century. (We already have about a billion.)

While people around the world keep buying cars at a rapid pace, traffic jams are endemic, seemingly endless and growing: 100 miles in Sao Paulo, for instance, lasting 2-3 hours a day. You heard about the one in China lasting 11 days? Elsewhere, “the cost of congestion to the economy in England through lost time will rise to around $35 billion (€26 billion) annually by 2025. In Germany, sustaining a town of 300,000 people is estimated to require 1,000 truck deliveries daily.”

So Bill Ford proposes collaboration between public and private transport, government and the telecommunications industry, to develop an interconnected network whereby cars, bicycles and pedestrians will be part of some giant integrated system to control their movements, especially in gridlocked cities. A business opportunity here? Oh yeah.

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