Driving High…

Hello friends.. Kammerer here again..

You may think, by the title of todays offering, that I am about to embark on an object lesson on Driving while intoxicated.  Tut tut!  Nothing could be further from the truth..

Rather, I am about to relate a tale about getting from one place to another, not by driving, but by flying. Not really so unusual an event.  Lots of people fly from point A to point B every day. In fact I did that tonight, myself.  I flew from Phoenix, AZ to Fresno, CA. I did the exact opposite on Sunday, after a brief five hour layover in Fresno. (Of course, my starting point WAS fresno, but that’s another tale for another time.)

You may even have flown, yourself, at some point..  You may have flown from San Diego to Seattle. Or from New York to London.  Or even from Rome to Salt Lake City.

And if you have ever flown anywhere at all, it probably would have been for good reason – like it’s too far to drive. Or you wanted to get there sooner than you would if you drove.  Or you like peanuts and Ginger Ale.

Indeed, the biggest excuse for flying is option one – it’s too far to drive. In fact, I would venture to guess that we choose our reasons for picking any form of transportation based on distance..

  • You decide to walk because it’s too far to sit your way to the refrigerator.
  • You decide to ride a skateboard because it’s to far to walk to your BFF’s house.
  • You decide to ride a bike because it’s too far to ride a skateboard to the local park to watch an exhilarating Lawn Bowling Match.
  • You decide to drive because it’s too far to ride your bike to the ball game.
  • You decide to fly because it’s too far to drive from Florida to Antarctica.

As you can see, there is a direct correlation between the distance to be traversed and the method of traversing that distance..

Usually, if one is to fly somewhere, the distance to the destination would probably be something more than a couple of hundred miles.  Say, from Los Angeles to Fresno (but only if you want to end up in Portland, OR via Salt Lake City, UT.  That’s because you can’t get directly from Fresno to where you want to go without going to at least one place you don’t want to go, first.  And the reverse is true, also – you can’t get to Fresno without going  – well, you get the idea. But I digress and, again, that’s another topic for another report.)

Suffice it to say that people fly because where they want to go is a very long way from where they are. You don’t fly from your house to the grocery store, but you do fly from your house to the other side of the country.

Unless your name is Hildegard (perhaps not your real name). And you need to get from Burbank to Orange county. A distance of 52.2 miles. And you don’t like traffic between airports.

Yes, my friend Hildy  (short for what is perhaps not her real name) used to fly from Burbank to Orange county…

Now 52.2 miles is well within normal “driving” distance, but I can see where someone might want to fly so short a distance if they really hate driving (or bicycling, or skateboarding or walking.  I have to draw the line there, though, because 52.2 miles really is way to far to sit your way there.)

I have reservations about this habit, though, because my friend probably lived somewhere between the two airports, and she probably wanted to get somewhere also between the two airports.  This would reduce the distance between her house and her desired destination to something below 52.2 miles.

And when you take into consideration that her house is probably not right outside the Burbank Airport gate, and her destination is, likewise, not right outside the John Wayne Airport gate, you could end up with a fairly large reduction in distance to be traveled in order to get from point A to point B.

Let’s assume that you live in an area where there is a gas station relatively close by. Let us also assume that you want to go some place that is also near a gas station. You can automatically reduce the distance from 52.2 miles to a maximum of 32.2 miles.*

*This is based on the Bill Kammerer law of “It’s Impossible To Find A Gas Station Within Ten Miles Of Any Airport That Actually Exists In Reality”.  **

Now the 32.2 mile figure assumes that you actually live at the gas station. This is not often the case in real life, so we can assume that there is a further reduction to be had by locating the residence some minimal distance from the gas station.

Let’s also assume that, because if you live in a gas station, you are probably not going to drive very far to get to a gas station and, therefore, your desired destination is also probably not at the gas station, either.

So what’s a good minimal distance from the gas station for your house? I’d say at least a mile.  For the sake of reality, let’s also apply the same minimal distance to the destination/gas station ratio.

Hence, the distance is now 30 miles. (Figure rounded to the closest whole number for the sake of keeping me from having to go and correct the rest of the figures below.)

But wait! What if your house is not right in the commercial district of Burbank, but is located some distance away in a nice middle class suburban neighborhood?

Ah… Add another 4 miles to the distance to the gas station from your house.  And that distance will always be further from the airport than from the gas station, so we now have a further reduction of 4 miles, or 26.2 miles between home and where you want to go.

We will further assume that “destination” is in not in a commercial district of some sort, but is in a business park. And because business parks are usually located out in the middle of absolutely nowhere, we must move it another 10 miles away from where it really isn’t in the first place.

So, now we are at about 16 miles between points A and B.

At this point, it may be helpful to see exactly where we are…

Your residence is 15.1 miles away from Burbank Airport.

Your desired destination is 21.1 miles away from John Wayne Airport.

This gives you a combined distance away from the airports of 36.2 miles

Total distance between airports = 52.2 miles

Combined distance away from airports = 36.2 miles

52.2 – 36.2 = 16 miles between home and destination.

OK, so now you are 16 miles from where you want to go. So let’s fly there, shall we?

Drive 15.1 miles from home to the Burbank Airport      15.1

Fly 52.2 miles to John Wayne Airport                               52.2

Drive 21.1 miles to destination                                            21.1

15.1 + 52.2 + 21.1 = 88.4

You have just gone 88.4 miles to get 16 miles.

Then, once you got to the JW Airport,  you had to rent a car.

Then flew back to the Burbank Airport. Once you got there, you paid for parking for your car and drove it home.

And all of this doesn’t take into account the fact that you probably drove half way there in the plane just getting to and down the runway.

I have to go to Sacramento in the morning, a distance of about 200 miles. I have decided to drive. Largely because there’s never a Space Shuttle available when you need one…

Also, I’m not a member of Congress…



**  The two exceptions I have found are in Aspen, CO and Sacrmento, CA.

I can’t really count the one in Aspen because they charge about 1.5 times the national average for a gallon of gasoline.

The one is Sacramento is pretty awesome – it’s right there on the airport grounds and you have to pass it to get to the terminals and the rental car return.   The problem with that, though, is that if you rented your car in Atlanta and feel obligated to return it to the same location from which you acquired it on time to catch your return flight home, you can’t  return it in Sacramento, can you?


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