Preferred Method of Travel?
By Jeff Salter
Naturally, when one of the Foxes asked this question for our weekly topic, I had to answer honestly — time travel is THE way to go. Not only can you select your destination (sometimes down to the very hour you prefer) but you get there in a flash. No messy delays and no intrusive TSA agents patting you down.
The only downside is that in some instances of time travel, you have to leave your clothing behind – something to do with the destructive effects of the space-time continuum on cloth fibers or something – so you tend to arrive at destinations nekkid. I hate that. But the higher end, premium time machines don’t have that drawback and you can travel in fully-clothed comfort… even bring along snacks and reading material if you wish.
On these excursions, I’ve so far only dealt with the PAST. Being a history buff, there are so many fascinating historical people, events, and places I want to visit. My primary reason for not visiting the FUTURE is that too many people have become demoralized – or horrified – at what they find there. It’s tempting, of course, because I’m curious by nature. But I’d hate to learn something like I missed the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction by one vote. I mean, how on earth could I find out who voted the wrong way?
In the Present
For travel within the realm of present-day, however, I do have some preferences. Let me preface this portion by saying: since middle 2010, when certain medical issues began to restrict my ability to travel, I’ve hardly left this county more than a handful of times. And those restrictions have been quite a challenge. That said, when I USED TO travel a lot, my favorite mode was to jump in my truck and drive up to 400-450 miles per day. For example: when our daughter moved from LA to the Memphis area, I made frequent visits – sometimes alone and sometimes with my wife – and enjoyed them all. Once we relocated to KY, I still visited our daughter in Memphis often, even when my wife couldn’t get off her job.
Before we leave the mode of automobile travel, let me say another word about road trips. As a kid – with my parents and siblings – I went on several LONG trips… usually in very crowded conditions for endless hours at a time. Even though we got to see all sorts of marvelous places and things, I’m afraid that austere style of travel soured me on “family trips.” And on this part of the subject, let me say – generally – I don’t much like traveling with other people. Nope. Even before my medical issues became involved, I preferred to be in my own vehicle on my own schedule, and with unilateral choice on when and where (and why) to stop.
From 1966 to about 1999, I flew all over the country — not to mention all the way to northwestern Greenland (and back) three times. In the military, I flew many places, whether on temporary duty or change of station. Back in civilian life, I even used to do a bit of commuter–type flying — sometimes (for example) flying from Shreveport to Baton Rouge for a library meeting… and back home the same day. But along the way of those 33-plus years of plane travel, I had one too many negative experiences in terminals and one too many bad experiences “upstairs” with severe turbulence. All that and the post 9/11 chaos of TSA lines — well, I just don’t intend to subject myself to that much hassle any more.
I’ve also flown in a small civilian helicopter and a large military chopper.
I’ve ridden in a tourist submarine which went as far as 100 feet below the surface — not exactly 20,000 leagues, but still enjoyable.
I nearly forgot to mention my [ ? five ? ] nights on a Carnival cruise ship in the fall of 1998. No space here to reveal any details, but suffice it to say that it’s basically a restaurant on the ocean.
I’ve ridden on a train for a sizable trip (to a nephew’s wedding several years ago) from Birmingham to Baltimore and back. That was interesting, but there were enough awful aspects of the accommodations (including extreme temperatures within my cabin) for me NOT to want another AmTrac trip.
In addition to several years of commuting on metro buses, I’ve also ridden Greyhound or Trailways buses quite a few times for sizable distances — though none within the past 36 years. It wasn’t all that great back in the 1970s… and I fear it’s gotten worse.
What about YOU? Do you enjoy traveling? By what mode? With a crowd or by yourself?
[JLS # 305]