(Photo Above: Sunset at the Super 8 Motel in Forest City)
There was a point in my career that I was logging some 100,000 mile years. In those pre 9/11 days air travel was still a hassle, but compared to today, about 100% easier. More legroom, quick dashes to catch tight flight connections, and no calculation of fees for bags, entertainment or meals.
This month, on assignment for Winnebago, I flew from Denver to Minneapolis, rented a car and drove a couple hours south to the factory in Forest City. My flights were on time, my iPhone apps and GPS performed flawlessly, my bag arrived on the carousel, I had a nice rental that was fun to drive, and my motel room was clean and comfortable.
This was a business trip and it seemed that the most efficient way to accomplish it was to fly. But was it?
It essentially took a day of transit time to get to Forest City and (with the help of a time zone change) a half day to return. That compares to a day and half of driving each way. So, in terms of travel time: advantage air.
Cost-wise when you added up a pretty good fare from Delta, car rental, and three motel nights the cost was close to $700. The cost of fuel and couple of hook-up nights mid-way would have been around $650: advantage RV.
This trip reminded me how much I've come to dislike the process of air travel. Of course for a longer trip across the country the time/cost trade-offs would be more extreme. However, as I think back to the go, stop, go, wait, watch, queue, wait and worry of air travel, that extra day and a half of travel time across I-80 and I-35 with my bed and all my stuff "at home" at the end of every evening looks a lot more relaxing. And don't even get me started on legroom. . . .
One perk of a trip to the factory was to see our new Navion (taking delivery at the beginning of the year) getting ready for its week-long trip through the painting process.