Diane Becker, "Country Life"

Flying in a jet isn’t as fun as it used to be. We came to that conclusion after having spending too many hours in airports this past week. My husband, Tom, even went as far to say he’d drive to Florida next time rather than fly. I’m not going to agree with that statement but it made me think.

We were in a good position to compare as we drove our daughter’s car 1,500 miles to get her to college and then flew back two days later.

The advantages of driving to Florida was that we saw a lot of America we never get to see. We had never driven through the Appalachian Mountains and loved all the tree lined highways. We always like to see rivers and oohed and ahheed over the bridges as we went over the Mississippi, the Tennessee, and innumerable other rivers of America.

There was also time on the drive to talk and sing to songs on Maddie’s phone we all knew. She even made us play a few car games. Since we liked to stop at convenience stores for snacks every few hours and eat a hearty dinner at night, it took us two and half days to get to Gainesville.

The advantage of flying was that it took us only 12 hours to get home. This includes travel time to and from airports and layovers which brings up the disadvantages of flying.

We spent too much time sitting in airplane terminals waiting. Both flights out of Florida and out of Chicago were delayed which is the rule rather than the exception anymore. We also had to wear masks for nearly all of that time which can make a person crabby.

As I recall going through security, hauling around our carry-on luggage, and sitting for hours in uncomfortable plane seats, I have to wonder whether Tom was right, maybe driving is better.

There are disadvantages to driving though. We stayed at two hotels and ate more meals than we would have had we flown. The traffic at times was pretty congested, especially in Atlanta at rush hour. We also were on the edge of the remains of Tropical Storm Fred and had a few tense miles of torrential rains to drive through. Maddie slept but Tom and I don’t ever sleep much in the car as we’re both too nervous about everyone else’s driving.

So, all in all, we’ll probably fly back to visit Maddie. The drive may be more mundane next time. The miles past the St. Louis Arch, Georgia potato fields and Kentucky horse farms may not hold our attention as much on the following trips.

One thing we do know, fly or drive, America is an interesting, colorful, exciting country and traveling reminded us we’re very proud to live here.

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