Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange => Topic started by: Thipu1 on February 21, 2012, 10:32:36 AM

Title: Distances
Post by: Thipu1 on February 21, 2012, 10:32:36 AM
It's been said that the main difference between people in the UK and people in North America is that North Americans think 100 years is a long time and residents of the UK think 100 miles is a long distance.

Another thread here started me thinking about this.

Some years ago Rose, a friend of my aunt, moved to southern NYS from Ireland.  She kept in touch with people in her home town.  One day she received a letter from her former parish priest.  Another lady from the village was moving to NYS and it would be nice if Rose had her over for lunch. 

It wasn't a bad idea but the other lady had moved to Rochester.  At the time, it would have taken almost 18 hours to get from one place to the other because NYS is almost the size of England, Scotland and Wales combined. 

Another time, a French lady working with us was invited on a road trip to New England with American school friends. The trip would take two weeks.  She was concerned because she thought New England was a small city and what would they do there for two weeks? 

We got out the atlas and showed her that New England consists of six states and they're all quite different.  It sounded like a lovely trip and there would be plenty for her to see.

We've had our own problems.  We thought that the trip from Southampton to Portsmouth would be a short hop we could do in an afternoon.  Wrong!

What misguided travel plans have you made?





Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Slartibartfast on February 21, 2012, 11:11:08 AM
My brother and his fiancee might be moving from the east coast to Houston, TX.  They're about twelve hours from where I live now in Alabama (if someone were to want to drive that far), so I was kind of excited they'd be in the southern US and therefore had to be closer.  Then I looked it up online and found that Houston is actually farther from my town than their current apartment is!  I had always assumed the southeast was more or less all in the same region, but Texas is a really big state.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: #borecore on February 21, 2012, 11:37:16 AM
My brother and his fiancee might be moving from the east coast to Houston, TX.  They're about twelve hours from where I live now in Alabama (if someone were to want to drive that far), so I was kind of excited they'd be in the southern US and therefore had to be closer.  Then I looked it up online and found that Houston is actually farther from my town than their current apartment is!  I had always assumed the southeast was more or less all in the same region, but Texas is a really big state.

Well, I've driven from Houston to NE Georgia in a day (so, about 6 hours more), but I won't tell you it's fun or easy. I would expect it to take 10-12 hours to get from Houston to anywhere in Alabama, though.

My "Gee it's big!" sensation comes from driving around Houston, actually. It can take 3 hours in moderate traffic to get from one suburb to another -- about the same time it takes to get from Houston to Austin (a journey of 150-170 miles).

I am driving from Austin, Texas, to West Bend, Oregon, in a day late next month. Google maps says it's a 20-hour drive, and BF and I are going to try to do it in a straight shot! Wish me luck.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: lowspark on February 21, 2012, 12:01:31 PM
I've lived in Houston all my life so that's what I'm used to -- the huge distances and a potentially long time to get from one place to another, all within the confines of Greater Houston, depending on traffic.

Back in the olden days when we used paper maps, a map of what encompassed Houston and the highly populated areas surrounding Houston took the front AND back of a large map. Once we went to visit Austin and pulled out the map of the city to figure out where we were going. We were in one corner of the map and had to get to somewhere in the opposite corner.

We estimated an hour and a half as travel time. Turned out to be 20 minutes. It's all relative... The map of Austin was about the same size of the map of Houston, we just didn't think about the relative sizes of the cities and therefore, the scale being quite different.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Ferrets on February 21, 2012, 02:30:20 PM
[...] and residents of the UK think 100 miles is a long distance.

And you shall never shake me from my conviction that it IS. :D

As the great Bill Bryson observed in Notes from a Small Island: "Surrey to Cornwall, a distance that most Americans would happily go to get a taco..."
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Slartibartfast on February 21, 2012, 02:59:39 PM
[...] and residents of the UK think 100 miles is a long distance.

And you shall never shake me from my conviction that it IS. :D

As the great Bill Bryson observed in Notes from a Small Island: "Surrey to Cornwall, a distance that most Americans would happily go to get a taco..."

Maybe not a taco, but I know someone who drove twice that distance to get a hot dog  :P  (Nashville to Chicago - about eight hours, or 450 miles - the hot dog was from someplace featured on some Food Network show, and my friend's fiancee decided since he had the weekend free they could throw the dogs in the car and make the drive.  My friend says the hot dog wasn't entirely worth a 16-hour round-trip drive, but her now-DH disagrees.)
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: veryfluffy on February 21, 2012, 03:07:49 PM
I once accidentally drove from London to Land's End, ie the westernmost tip of England, and back in a weekend.

I'd driven with a visiting American friend to Stonehenge, and then somehow decided it wasn't too far to Cornwall. And then once we hit Cornwall, it somehow seemed reasonable to head for Land's End. I had no idea how long it was. We managed to get as far as Newquay by nightfall, got to Land's End after breakfast, and then had to head straight back to London to return the rental car.

The other thing I remember was the look on my friend's face when it was her turn to fill up with petrol. Now this was at least 15 years ago -- she couldn't believe that it cost almost 40 to fill the tank of this small car. These days it would be more like 75.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Thipu1 on February 21, 2012, 06:26:44 PM
[...] and residents of the UK think 100 miles is a long distance.

And you shall never shake me from my conviction that it IS. :D

As the great Bill Bryson observed in Notes from a Small Island: "Surrey to Cornwall, a distance that most Americans would happily go to get a taco..."

I also love the books of Bill Bryson. it's especially nice that he lives in rhe same New Hampshire town as my MIL.  Reading 'I'm a Stranger Here, Myself' I know many of the places he mentions. 

I started reading 'Notes From a Small Island'  the day before we were taking a transatlantic cruise from Devon.  that book put the icing on the cake for me. 
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: baglady on February 21, 2012, 10:02:56 PM
No way that it would take 18 hours to go from southern New York to Rochester, N.Y. Eight hours, tops, and that's assuming that "southern New York" is the easternmost tip of Long Island in rush hour traffic. Once you get out of the metro area and onto the Thruway, you can get to Albany in about 2 hours and Rochester is about 4 hours from there.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Sophia on February 21, 2012, 10:52:44 PM
Even Americans in densely populated areas can be confused about distances.  I friend of mine worked in Texas (Dallas area) and his boss (NYC, I think.  NE definitely) was constantly setting up lunch meetings for him for that day in places like El Paso or Houston. 

On the other hand I used to work for a German company and when I was at headquarters I would sometimes pop over to the auxiliary site 40 miles away and two towns over.  My German coworkers thought the drive was so long that they got the rest of the day off if they made that trip.  It was a nice drive, no traffic, good roads.  No turning, even.  Just head down the road and turn into the parking lot when you see the building.

eta:  I do remember once going to Headquarters in Germany direct from Monterrey, Ca.  In Monterrey they have this adobe building/house that I think was the first in the area.  Basically, it was special because it was really old, so they made it a museum.  Then the hotel I stayed in two days later in Germany was nothing special, heavily remodeled and about 100 years older than the museum building in CA. 
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Shopaholic on February 21, 2012, 11:03:24 PM
In Australia's Northern Territory distances are huge. We rented a car in Darwin, with plan to drive down to Uluru, with quick stops at Litchfield and Kakadu parks.
We did the math it should be about 2400 kms... closer to 3600.
Kakadu is just slightly smaller than Israel...

Next stop was the Great Ocean Road - all of 250kms, a seemingly short distance - not when it's a winding, one-lane road and you just have to stop to take in the views and photograph the koalas..
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: dietcokeofevil on February 21, 2012, 11:07:44 PM
I grew up in a small town in the Midwest.   Our town didn't have much to offer besides grocery stores and a couple of pizza places.  To go to Wal-mart, the movies or to get fast food we had to drive about 20 minutes to the next town.  If you wanted to go to the mall, nicer restaurants or just about anything else, you had to drive 45 to 60 minutes to CollegeTown.    None of us thought anything of driving to CollegeTown to grab dinner or do some shopping.  However, almost everyone lived close to their work.  Commutes of more than 15 minutes were rare and usually just because people lived way out in the country.

After college I moved to the Boston area.  A lot of my co-workers had commutes of close to an hour.  Those same people that drove 2 hours a day to get to and from work, thought it was weird when I mentioned traveling that same distance for something social.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Ereine on February 21, 2012, 11:14:56 PM
The problem with Europe is that it includes places like this (http://ohjelmat.yle.fi/files/ohjelmat/u304/dprojekti_saamelainen.jpg). Finland is a relatively small country, about the size of Florida but about half of the country is very sparsely populated (for the rest of the country it's about 17 people per square kilometer, for Lapland it's two). The nearest place to give birth at may be 400 km away, for example or the nearest school 50 km. For me 100 km is a decent day trip (I've travelled 8 hours in one day to go to a rock festival, it was a lot but not crazy), I live in the more densely populated south (population density 727/m2), for them it's nothing. We are also located next to Russia. I don't really probably get the distances there but it's so huge that compared to it, America looks smallish, sort of like Europe and because traveling all around Europe isn't that uncommon (because the train system is so good and you can get train passes that cover the whole continent), at least for Finns, then that probably creates the illusion that if I can easily travel to Italy from Finland by ground then I should be able to travel from New York to Florida.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Slartibartfast on February 22, 2012, 12:30:20 AM
http://goeurope.about.com/od/europeanmaps/l/bl-country-size-comparison-map.htm - great map at that site where you can compare the size of Europe and of the US, including individual countries/states.  I think this is part of why some Europeans are shocked that many Americans only know one language and don't have passports - some parts of the US are more than 1400 miles (~2200 kilometers) from the nearest non-English-speaking border.  If you don't count Quebec City, you can be more than 2400 miles (~3800 kilometers) away, roughly the distance from Helsinki to Madrid.  There's also lousy rail transportation for most of the US with the possible exception of the East Coast, so we drive for anything less than six or eight hours away because air travel is expensive :P  (And for a six-hour drive, you're probably going to take just as much time to get through the airport as you are to drive the distance anyway.)
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Thipu1 on February 22, 2012, 08:15:30 AM
No way that it would take 18 hours to go from southern New York to Rochester, N.Y. Eight hours, tops, and that's assuming that "southern New York" is the easternmost tip of Long Island in rush hour traffic. Once you get out of the metro area and onto the Thruway, you can get to Albany in about 2 hours and Rochester is about 4 hours from there.

Today it wouldn't but this was back in the 1930s before the Thruway existed.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: lowspark on February 22, 2012, 08:37:10 AM
I'm a Bill Bryson fan too. I have to admit though, that I haven't read his books, I've listened to them on CD. He reads them himself which is an added bonus. (As an avid CD book listener, I always think that a book read by the author is inherently better.)

I recommend The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, an autobiography of growing up in the 50s in Iowa. Also, A Walk in the Woods, about hiking the Appalachian Trail.

I recently listened to At Home: A Short History of Private Life, and his biography of Shakespeare, Shakespeare: The World as a Stage. Not as good as the other two I menteioned above, but still both were very interesting!
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Thipu1 on February 22, 2012, 10:05:41 AM
Getting off-topic but Bryson's best has to be 'The Mother Tongue.  English and How It Got That Way'.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: baglady on February 22, 2012, 10:21:40 AM
No way that it would take 18 hours to go from southern New York to Rochester, N.Y. Eight hours, tops, and that's assuming that "southern New York" is the easternmost tip of Long Island in rush hour traffic. Once you get out of the metro area and onto the Thruway, you can get to Albany in about 2 hours and Rochester is about 4 hours from there.

Today it wouldn't but this was back in the 1930s before the Thruway existed.

Oops, I missed the "at the time" in the OP. [emily litella voice]Never mind.[/emily litella voice]  ;)
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Thipu1 on February 22, 2012, 01:47:20 PM
No way that it would take 18 hours to go from southern New York to Rochester, N.Y. Eight hours, tops, and that's assuming that "southern New York" is the easternmost tip of Long Island in rush hour traffic. Once you get out of the metro area and onto the Thruway, you can get to Albany in about 2 hours and Rochester is about 4 hours from there.

Today it wouldn't but this was back in the 1930s before the Thruway existed.

No problem, Baglady.  Have some tea, a scone and relax.  Yes, clotted cream will be provided.

For those who don't know NYS, the distance between where Rose lived and Rochester is roughly the distance between London and Inverness.  Not an easy hop for a lunch, is it?

Oops, I missed the "at the time" in the OP. [emily litella voice]Never mind.[/emily litella voice]  ;)
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Elfmama on February 22, 2012, 08:29:54 PM
I've lived in Houston all my life so that's what I'm used to -- the huge distances and a potentially long time to get from one place to another, all within the confines of Greater Houston, depending on traffic.

Back in the olden days when we used paper maps, a map of what encompassed Houston and the highly populated areas surrounding Houston took the front AND back of a large map. Once we went to visit Austin and pulled out the map of the city to figure out where we were going. We were in one corner of the map and had to get to somewhere in the opposite corner.

We estimated an hour and a half as travel time. Turned out to be 20 minutes. It's all relative... The map of Austin was about the same size of the map of Houston, we just didn't think about the relative sizes of the cities and therefore, the scale being quite different.
That scale caught DH a time or two when we were living in England.  I wanted to go see something at a nearby town; DH looked at the Road Atlas and said "I don't want to drive 40 miles to go see [whatever it was] because there won't be time to get there, see it, and get back before dinner."  I was ??? "Dear, look at the scale.  It's not 40 miles, it's more like 4."  He'd applied usual US road atlas scaling to the English map.

And on the other hand, there was the nice British couple who wanted to know if they could drive from Niagara Falls to the Grand Canyon in a day.  We had to gently disillusion them -- it's 2200 miles, 36 hours of driving if you drive straight through, changing drivers and only stopping for meals. 
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: kareng57 on February 22, 2012, 08:54:25 PM
Not really a "distance" situation, more of a "mistaken destination" situation.

There have been two instances (I think) in recent years when tourists from the UK have attempted travelling to Sydney Australia and have wound up in Sydney, Nova Scotia in Canada.  I can sort of see how it could happen - Sydney NS vs. Sydney NSW.  In both cases they were rather novice travellers and didn't really question it when they landed in Halifax and were directed to a much smaller plane for the rest of the journey.

While Sydney NS isn't exactly a tourist mecca, apparently the townspeople really took care of them until things could get sorted out.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: iridaceae on February 22, 2012, 11:50:35 PM

And on the other hand, there was the nice British couple who wanted to know if they could drive from Niagara Falls to the Grand Canyon in a day.  We had to gently disillusion them -- it's 2200 miles, 36 hours of driving if you drive straight through, changing drivers and only stopping for meals.

I've had to explain to more than my fair share of New Englanders that Tucson to the Grand Canyon and back isn't a simple day trip; it's about 7 hours to the Grand Canyon from Tucson. 
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: starry diadem on February 23, 2012, 02:04:50 AM
<snipped>
I also love the books of Bill Bryson. it's especially nice that he lives in rhe same New Hampshire town as my MIL.  Reading 'I'm a Stranger Here, Myself' I know many of the places he mentions. 

I started reading 'Notes From a Small Island'  the day before we were taking a transatlantic cruise from Devon.  that book put the icing on the cake for me.

I think he's back living in the UK now.  His last book - a social history of 'how people lived' - is based on his house, a rectory in Norfolk.  Highly enjoyable, but I agree with PPs that Mother Tongue is the best of his books.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: oz diva on February 23, 2012, 03:12:06 AM
I liked his Australian book (can't remember the name and it's different depending on you country)

Anyway, I lived in Glasgow once and we went to a party in St Andrews. When I told my father (in Australia) he was shocked But That's the other side of the country. Yes, it was and it was about 40 miles away.

I think many tourists get thrown by the size of Australia. You can't drive from Melbourne to Sydney and back in a day. You can drive one way, and it will take you 10-12 hours.

Here's a comparison between Europe & Australia
http://www.freepchelp.co.uk/threads/3630-Size-of-Australia-comparison-to-Europe.

And one between Australia & America
http://www.anbg.gov.au/maps/aust-usa-map.jpg
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Shopaholic on February 23, 2012, 04:02:28 AM
Not exactly distances...
My husband likes to hike, and uses topographical maps where lines are used show altitude.
He is used to maps that are graded every 10 metres.
When he went hiking in Bulgaria he found out the hard way that the local maps are graded every 50 metres...
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Dindrane on February 23, 2012, 11:07:33 PM
And one between Australia & America
http://www.anbg.gov.au/maps/aust-usa-map.jpg

Is it just me, or does Australia kind of look like an upside-down-and-backwards version of the US?  It's even upside-down and backwards in terms of the weather! :)

Distance can be kind of a funny thing.  Like many others, I grew up in Houston.  As a result, my concept of mileage is horribly skewed.  I do fine on freeways and such, because it's pretty easy to tie mileage to elapsed time (if you're going around 60 miles per hour, you'll drive a mile each minute).  But for shorter distances at slower speeds, I have absolutely no concept of how far a mile is or how long it'll take me to get there.  Inside the city of Houston, the two things are so entirely unrelated that I just never learned.  Getting from point A to point B could take 15 minutes or an hour and a half, depending upon the time of day.

What I find extra hilarious, though, is my apparently highly flexible concept of what "far" is.  In Houston, anything that was within a 30-minute radius of me (during non-rush-hour traffic) was reasonable and not that far.  I might not want to go there during rush hour (when that 30 minutes could take 2 or 3 times as long), but I didn't see it as inherently unreasonable.  Most of the restaurants and stores I went to took me at least 15 minutes driving.

But now I live in a much smaller city.  30 minutes of driving takes me from one end of it to the other, no matter which direction I'm going.  And that includes long stretches of road where the speed limit is a tortoise-like 20 mph and strings of intersections where you either hit every single light green, or every single light red.  Despite having lived in Houston until after college and having learned to drive there, I never go to places on the other side of the city here.  It's too far!  But when I visit Houston, I'm right back to thinking that something 30 minutes away is "pretty close."

I amuse myself, I really do.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: cabbageweevil on February 24, 2012, 05:16:45 AM
I'm a Bill Bryson fan too...

...I recommend The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, an autobiography of growing up in the 50s in Iowa. Also, A Walk in the Woods, about hiking the Appalachian Trail.

I recently listened to At Home: A Short History of Private Life, and his biography of Shakespeare, Shakespeare: The World as a Stage. Not as good as the other two I menteioned above, but still both were very interesting!
More Brysonery, if I might be forgiven -- I'm sort of "split", where his writing is concerned. To me, he can be extremely funny and perceptive; but he can also be annoyingly highly conceited and preoccupied with himself. And, IMO has a tendency to -- in the interests of getting a laugh, or trying to make a point -- come out with stuff which is downright preposterous, and sometimes bordering on actual untruth.  I greatly liked his Shakespeare book, partly because the subject didn't give him much chance to drivel on about himself.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Wench on February 24, 2012, 06:38:52 AM
We've had our own problems.  We thought that the trip from Southampton to Portsmouth would be a short hop we could do in an afternoon.  Wrong!

I presume you were referring to Southampton NY to Portsmouth NH.  :P  This statement made me laugh because in the UK Portsmouth to Southampton is theorectially a 45 min drive in good traffic conditions.  In bad traffic conditions it can take about two hours and normal traffic conditions it can take an hour to an hour and a  half.   

The biggest problem in Britain is it is geographically a small but crowded country and many short journeys can be come twice as long due to the volume of traffic on the roads. 
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: camlan on February 24, 2012, 08:04:10 AM
In Boston, a trip that could take you 20 minutes at 8 am on a Saturday morning could easily take 2 hours at rush hour on a weekday evening.

My nephew has some on-going medical issues that are being treated at Boston Children's Hospital. On regular weekdays, it take 2.5 hours to get from my house to the hospital, 1.5 hours to get from my city to the outskirts of Boston, 1 hour to get from there to the hospital. Last Thanksgiving, with no traffic on the roads at 8 am, the trip took an hour and 15 minutes.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Luci on February 24, 2012, 09:39:57 AM
We ran into a northern European couple who had taken the lesson of US distances too well. They were looking for a state park about 60 miles from where they were staying, and we were getting gasoline about 150 miles from where they were staying, but on the same interstate. They had missed the sign to the park and finally had to fuel up so asked us how far it was.

We usually travel in the western US but took a trip to New England one year. In the atlas, Montana and Connecticut look the same, but as with travelers above, my husband forgot the scale, so I got questioned about why I had made our campground reservations so very far away from the day's activities. It was about 1/3 of the way across the state, but only 40 miles.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Thipu1 on February 24, 2012, 09:49:31 AM
Not exactly distances...
My husband likes to hike, and uses topographical maps where lines are used show altitude.
He is used to maps that are graded every 10 metres.
When he went hiking in Bulgaria he found out the hard way that the local maps are graded every 50 metres...

We like to walk when we're visiting a new city.  It works well in the Eastern US and in Europe but, Hoo-Wee!  San Francisco!  What looks like a ten minute walk on the map is at least half an hour because of the hills.  I swear, the city was designed by Escher. 
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: cicero on February 26, 2012, 07:59:03 AM
not exactly distances but i was shocked to learn that public transportation isn't readily available everywhere in the US, and sidewalks are unheard of in many suburbs. and people do't walk anywhere (except for Manhatten).

my brother lives in a NJ suburb that is on a train line and bus line (they have both trains and buses literally down the block from their house - a 2-3 minutes walk - to NYC),  they also have some basic shops 2-3 minutes from their house (CVS, Kosher grocery, bakery, dunkin donuts, pizza, bank, hair dresser etc). My sister lives in a suburb of DC - with a mall down the block, metro and bus lines about 10 minute walk away. so i thought that's the way it is.

when i stayed at my friend's house in NYS (about an hour from NYC) - there is nothing nearby, you have to drive or get a cab to get anywhere, i walked from their house to a strip mall - just because i wanted to walk - and it was scary! no side walks, took me about 30 minutes each way to walk
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: camlan on February 26, 2012, 09:02:50 AM
not exactly distances but i was shocked to learn that public transportation isn't readily available everywhere in the US, and sidewalks are unheard of in many suburbs. and people do't walk anywhere (except for Manhatten).

my brother lives in a NJ suburb that is on a train line and bus line (they have both trains and buses literally down the block from their house - a 2-3 minutes walk - to NYC),  they also have some basic shops 2-3 minutes from their house (CVS, Kosher grocery, bakery, dunkin donuts, pizza, bank, hair dresser etc). My sister lives in a suburb of DC - with a mall down the block, metro and bus lines about 10 minute walk away. so i thought that's the way it is.

when i stayed at my friend's house in NYS (about an hour from NYC) - there is nothing nearby, you have to drive or get a cab to get anywhere, i walked from their house to a strip mall - just because i wanted to walk - and it was scary! no side walks, took me about 30 minutes each way to walk

I think the older cities in the US, the ones that were started long before cars were invented, are more walkable than newer cities. Boston, New York City, Chicago--they all have decent public transportation and neighborhoods where you can walk to stores and the library and church and other services. (I'm leaving out west coast cities purely because I know nothing about them.) Many of these cities also had geographical constraints that affected how much space was available for building--the ocean or large lakes on one side, rivers that posed the problem of how to get across them, mountains or hills, etc. So they crowded into the space available and built up, hence the skyscrapers of NYC.

But out in the middle part of the country, the land is fairly flat and there's a lot of it. Space, which is at a premium along the coasts, is easier to come by in the mid-west. So people took advantage of that and the development of cars and sprawled out. Once individual car ownership was common, it was easy to escape the crowding of the cities and have a house and a yard to call your own. Because you had the car, you didn't have to live within walking distance of anything.

I've lived in Boston without a car and been perfectly happy. But when I moved to a rural area of Connecticut and live 1.5 miles from work, I thought I'd walk to work most days. But unfortunately for me, the walk was along stretches of road with lots of traffic going well over the speed limit, no sidewalks, no street lights and in some places no shoulder to the road to walk on. I drove around much, much more in the country than I did in the city--and I had thought it would be the other way around.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Thipu1 on February 26, 2012, 10:07:22 AM
We have found this to be true, Camlan. 

In NYC people will say, 'It's only 25 blocks.  Let's walk'.
In the suburbs or country, people will say, 'It's almost a mile and a half.  We'll take the car'.

This brings up the question of 'walking distance'.  When a stranger asks where something is in relation to where we are, the next question is, 'Is it within walking distance?'

That's a loaded question because everyone's idea of 'walking distance' is different.  For some people it's 10 blocks.  For others, five miles is no problem.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Shea on February 26, 2012, 10:56:28 AM
[...] and residents of the UK think 100 miles is a long distance.

And you shall never shake me from my conviction that it IS. :D

As the great Bill Bryson observed in Notes from a Small Island: "Surrey to Cornwall, a distance that most Americans would happily go to get a taco..."

In high school, my friends and I more than once drove from our town in southern Oregon to Redding in northern California to get lunch at the In 'N' Out Burger (they're only in California, at the one in Redding is nearest). It's about 275 miles there and back. Yes, we were crazy ;D.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Sharnita on March 03, 2012, 11:37:55 AM
safety could also determine walking distance.  A student from my school was shot walking to the store for milk in the middle of the day a few years ago - stray bullet that wasn't meant for him.  Of course, even driving carries some risk of inadvertantly getting shot in certain neighborhoods.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: JoW on March 03, 2012, 10:56:34 PM
I think a big determinion of walking distance is sidewalks.  And that relates to safety. 

I live less than 5 miles from work but I would not consider walking or riding a bike to work.  The sidewalks end about 2 miles from my house.  The shoulders are gravel and too narrow to walk or ride on safely.  I occasionally walk to the grocery 1/2 mile from my house.  But the walk starts by crossing my very busy street.  There is a sidewalk across the street, none on my side of the street. 
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: saki on March 04, 2012, 08:02:22 AM
I think a lot of the reason why Americans don't get why Europeans don't want to drive what sound like short distances is to do with traffic.  Lots and lots of European cities were designed and built long before cars so the traffic can just be awful.  I know that's true of some American cities but there are lots more American cities that are designed for cars so driving is more straightforward.  I drove from North London to just south of the river the other day - a distance of about 13 miles.  How long did it take me?  An hour and 50 minutes. OK, even for London traffic, that was bad - an accident on one of the main roads - but there was no such accident on the way out and it still took an hour and a quarter.  We could have done it by tube in 30 minutes.  And we usually would.

For me, if someone says "X is walking distance from Y", I assume it would take 30 minutes or less - i.e. about 2 miles.  I frequently walk to work which is 4 and a half miles (about an hour and a quarter) but just because I walk that regularly doesn't mean that I think of it as standard "walking distance", it would be more standard to travel that distance by tube/bike.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Dindrane on March 04, 2012, 11:56:23 AM
Even the American cities that were designed after cars became common can be pretty intense in terms of traffic, though.

I took cello lessons when I was in school.  My cello teacher lived in a neighborhood in Houston that (according to Google Maps) is 10 miles away from where I lived and should take about 15 minutes driving.  However, since the route from my parents' house to my cello teacher's house went through some of the busiest freeways in the city (including one stretch that always had very heavy traffic even outside of rush hour), the trip generally took me an hour.  Granted, I was going to cello lessons and returning home right smack in the middle of rush hour, but then again, rush hour took up about 6 hours of each weekday.  I'd say the average trip time for that route outside of rush hour is about 30 minutes.  That 15 minutes Google Maps quoted is what I'd expect it to take at 2:00 a.m., but that's about the only time of day it would be realistic.

I think the difference is that, unlike London and other European cities, there's no viable alternative to driving in a city like Houston.  There is public transportation available, but it wouldn't be faster or easier than driving, so people don't use it if they don't have to.  Using Google Maps again, taking the bus from my parents' house to that neighborhood would have taken over an hour, and I'd have had to walk about a mile on each end to get to and from bus stops.  Even without a cello to transport, no way would I have done anything but drive if I had the choice. :)

So in short, I don't think it's so much the design of the city (because even cities that are designed with cars in mind can be bat-poo crazy to drive in) so much as the lack of viable mass transit in some places.  In places where the public transportation is easier and faster than driving, people use it.  There are just a lot of cities that don't really have that.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Bluenomi on March 04, 2012, 06:37:31 PM
I've come across this a lot.

When visiting my parents in the UK I did quite a few days trips around the place. The amount of times people thought I was insane for driving from my parent's place in Surry to Brighton, Canterbury etc and back in the day was amazing. Apparently British people don't drive that for for the day.

British relatives have been caught out visiting us. My great aunt and uncle stayed with my grandparents on the Gold Coast, QLD. They decided to drive to Cairns. Grandparents told them it would be a few days to drive there and they thought that was driving a few hours a day. My grandparents idea of a days driving was 12-14 hours a day and it did take them that long.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: sammycat on March 05, 2012, 08:02:40 PM
Here's a comparison between Europe & Australia
http://www.freepchelp.co.uk/threads/3630-Size-of-Australia-comparison-to-Europe.

And one between Australia & America
http://www.anbg.gov.au/maps/aust-usa-map.jpg

Those maps are very interesting!  Europe/UK looks so tiny in comparison to Australia.  There are cattle stations (farms) the size of some European countries.

During one holiday in the US, DH and I drove for 6 hours straight (only stopping for petrol) and went through 2-3 different states.  Here in Australia that wouldn't even get you out of one state in some cases.  In the outback it can take many hours to drive between neighbouring properties.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: CakeEater on March 05, 2012, 09:15:18 PM
And one between Australia & America
http://www.anbg.gov.au/maps/aust-usa-map.jpg

Is it just me, or does Australia kind of look like an upside-down-and-backwards version of the US?  It's even upside-down and backwards in terms of the weather! :)

Distance can be kind of a funny thing.  Like many others, I grew up in Houston.  As a result, my concept of mileage is horribly skewed.  I do fine on freeways and such, because it's pretty easy to tie mileage to elapsed time (if you're going around 60 miles per hour, you'll drive a mile each minute).  But for shorter distances at slower speeds, I have absolutely no concept of how far a mile is or how long it'll take me to get there.  Inside the city of Houston, the two things are so entirely unrelated that I just never learned.  Getting from point A to point B could take 15 minutes or an hour and a half, depending upon the time of day.

What I find extra hilarious, though, is my apparently highly flexible concept of what "far" is.  In Houston, anything that was within a 30-minute radius of me (during non-rush-hour traffic) was reasonable and not that far.  I might not want to go there during rush hour (when that 30 minutes could take 2 or 3 times as long), but I didn't see it as inherently unreasonable.  Most of the restaurants and stores I went to took me at least 15 minutes driving.

But now I live in a much smaller city.  30 minutes of driving takes me from one end of it to the other, no matter which direction I'm going.  And that includes long stretches of road where the speed limit is a tortoise-like 20 mph and strings of intersections where you either hit every single light green, or every single light red.  Despite having lived in Houston until after college and having learned to drive there, I never go to places on the other side of the city here.  It's too far!  But when I visit Houston, I'm right back to thinking that something 30 minutes away is "pretty close."

I amuse myself, I really do.

I'm the same with distances. I really have no idea of how long 1 or 2 or 10km is. I describe every distance by time taken to drive/walk there. Everyone I know does the same. We just don't refer to things being 10km away. They're 5 minutes/15 minutes/an hour away.

I grew up in an outer suburb of sprawling city, where it takes about 30 minutes to drive into the CBD. I now live in small town, where it takes about 5 minutes to drive anywhere, and although we regularly drive 3 hours to get to the city to visit, that 30 minutes just seems like an eternity now.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: kareng57 on March 05, 2012, 09:28:02 PM
And one between Australia & America
http://www.anbg.gov.au/maps/aust-usa-map.jpg

Is it just me, or does Australia kind of look like an upside-down-and-backwards version of the US?  It's even upside-down and backwards in terms of the weather! :)

Distance can be kind of a funny thing.  Like many others, I grew up in Houston.  As a result, my concept of mileage is horribly skewed.  I do fine on freeways and such, because it's pretty easy to tie mileage to elapsed time (if you're going around 60 miles per hour, you'll drive a mile each minute).  But for shorter distances at slower speeds, I have absolutely no concept of how far a mile is or how long it'll take me to get there.  Inside the city of Houston, the two things are so entirely unrelated that I just never learned.  Getting from point A to point B could take 15 minutes or an hour and a half, depending upon the time of day.

What I find extra hilarious, though, is my apparently highly flexible concept of what "far" is.  In Houston, anything that was within a 30-minute radius of me (during non-rush-hour traffic) was reasonable and not that far.  I might not want to go there during rush hour (when that 30 minutes could take 2 or 3 times as long), but I didn't see it as inherently unreasonable.  Most of the restaurants and stores I went to took me at least 15 minutes driving.

But now I live in a much smaller city.  30 minutes of driving takes me from one end of it to the other, no matter which direction I'm going.  And that includes long stretches of road where the speed limit is a tortoise-like 20 mph and strings of intersections where you either hit every single light green, or every single light red.  Despite having lived in Houston until after college and having learned to drive there, I never go to places on the other side of the city here.  It's too far!  But when I visit Houston, I'm right back to thinking that something 30 minutes away is "pretty close."

I amuse myself, I really do.

I'm the same with distances. I really have no idea of how long 1 or 2 or 10km is. I describe every distance by time taken to drive/walk there. Everyone I know does the same. We just don't refer to things being 10km away. They're 5 minutes/15 minutes/an hour away.

I grew up in an outer suburb of sprawling city, where it takes about 30 minutes to drive into the CBD. I now live in small town, where it takes about 5 minutes to drive anywhere, and although we regularly drive 3 hours to get to the city to visit, that 30 minutes just seems like an eternity now.


I am in Western Canada and for a long time had the mind-set that cities in Central or Eastern Canada (though we all thought of anywhere east of Saskatchewan as being East) were only a few hours travel apart.  Of course all you have to do is to look at a map to know that is not the case, but it is a mindset.  Probably many Eastern Canadians might figure that Vancouver and Edmonton are only a few hours apart, for example.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: kherbert05 on March 05, 2012, 09:54:11 PM
I've lived in Houston all my life so that's what I'm used to -- the huge distances and a potentially long time to get from one place to another, all within the confines of Greater Houston, depending on traffic.

Back in the olden days when we used paper maps, a map of what encompassed Houston and the highly populated areas surrounding Houston took the front AND back of a large map. Once we went to visit Austin and pulled out the map of the city to figure out where we were going. We were in one corner of the map and had to get to somewhere in the opposite corner.

We estimated an hour and a half as travel time. Turned out to be 20 minutes. It's all relative... The map of Austin was about the same size of the map of Houston, we just didn't think about the relative sizes of the cities and therefore, the scale being quite different.
That was if you just wanted a very general map.  A detailed map actually took up a 3 ring binder. I remember navigating to places while Dad drove using his Key Map.




My boss at the museum told this on himself. He wanted to explore a small town near San Angelo. He figured it was 15 minutes away from the map. Nearly an hour later - He thought he had driven into a twilight zone. There isn't much to see in Eden.


Same boss - cracked him up that all of us Texans always packed coolers when we travel between cities. Thankfully he never broke down in the middle of no where and needed water.


University friend traveling from LA to Georgetown, Texas. She told us how she and her Mother celerbrated nearly being there when they hit El Paso. It is 800 miles from LA to El Paso and It is almost 600 miles from El Paso to Georgetown - closer to the middle of the state than the Eastern edge.


I don't think much of getting up on a holiday getting in the car and driving 3 hours to to Austin or San Antonio do some tourist things and come back home. 

Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Ereine on March 05, 2012, 11:16:16 PM
And one between Australia & America
http://www.anbg.gov.au/maps/aust-usa-map.jpg

Is it just me, or does Australia kind of look like an upside-down-and-backwards version of the US?  It's even upside-down and backwards in terms of the weather! :)

Distance can be kind of a funny thing.  Like many others, I grew up in Houston.  As a result, my concept of mileage is horribly skewed.  I do fine on freeways and such, because it's pretty easy to tie mileage to elapsed time (if you're going around 60 miles per hour, you'll drive a mile each minute).  But for shorter distances at slower speeds, I have absolutely no concept of how far a mile is or how long it'll take me to get there.  Inside the city of Houston, the two things are so entirely unrelated that I just never learned.  Getting from point A to point B could take 15 minutes or an hour and a half, depending upon the time of day.

What I find extra hilarious, though, is my apparently highly flexible concept of what "far" is.  In Houston, anything that was within a 30-minute radius of me (during non-rush-hour traffic) was reasonable and not that far.  I might not want to go there during rush hour (when that 30 minutes could take 2 or 3 times as long), but I didn't see it as inherently unreasonable.  Most of the restaurants and stores I went to took me at least 15 minutes driving.

But now I live in a much smaller city.  30 minutes of driving takes me from one end of it to the other, no matter which direction I'm going.  And that includes long stretches of road where the speed limit is a tortoise-like 20 mph and strings of intersections where you either hit every single light green, or every single light red.  Despite having lived in Houston until after college and having learned to drive there, I never go to places on the other side of the city here.  It's too far!  But when I visit Houston, I'm right back to thinking that something 30 minutes away is "pretty close."

I amuse myself, I really do.

I'm the same with distances. I really have no idea of how long 1 or 2 or 10km is. I describe every distance by time taken to drive/walk there. Everyone I know does the same. We just don't refer to things being 10km away. They're 5 minutes/15 minutes/an hour away.

I grew up in an outer suburb of sprawling city, where it takes about 30 minutes to drive into the CBD. I now live in small town, where it takes about 5 minutes to drive anywhere, and although we regularly drive 3 hours to get to the city to visit, that 30 minutes just seems like an eternity now.

I don't know if people who drive use times instead of distances but I always use distances because times can vary so much. In summer my commute takes 20 minutes by bike, in winter the same 5 km takes 40 minutes, by bus and walking and Google tells me that driving would take 15 minutes. I suspect though that most people who use distances do calculate times in their head but telling someone that a shop is 20 minutes away isn't very useful.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: CakeEater on March 06, 2012, 01:14:55 AM
And one between Australia & America
http://www.anbg.gov.au/maps/aust-usa-map.jpg

Is it just me, or does Australia kind of look like an upside-down-and-backwards version of the US?  It's even upside-down and backwards in terms of the weather! :)

Distance can be kind of a funny thing.  Like many others, I grew up in Houston.  As a result, my concept of mileage is horribly skewed.  I do fine on freeways and such, because it's pretty easy to tie mileage to elapsed time (if you're going around 60 miles per hour, you'll drive a mile each minute).  But for shorter distances at slower speeds, I have absolutely no concept of how far a mile is or how long it'll take me to get there.  Inside the city of Houston, the two things are so entirely unrelated that I just never learned.  Getting from point A to point B could take 15 minutes or an hour and a half, depending upon the time of day.

What I find extra hilarious, though, is my apparently highly flexible concept of what "far" is.  In Houston, anything that was within a 30-minute radius of me (during non-rush-hour traffic) was reasonable and not that far.  I might not want to go there during rush hour (when that 30 minutes could take 2 or 3 times as long), but I didn't see it as inherently unreasonable.  Most of the restaurants and stores I went to took me at least 15 minutes driving.

But now I live in a much smaller city.  30 minutes of driving takes me from one end of it to the other, no matter which direction I'm going.  And that includes long stretches of road where the speed limit is a tortoise-like 20 mph and strings of intersections where you either hit every single light green, or every single light red.  Despite having lived in Houston until after college and having learned to drive there, I never go to places on the other side of the city here.  It's too far!  But when I visit Houston, I'm right back to thinking that something 30 minutes away is "pretty close."

I amuse myself, I really do.

I'm the same with distances. I really have no idea of how long 1 or 2 or 10km is. I describe every distance by time taken to drive/walk there. Everyone I know does the same. We just don't refer to things being 10km away. They're 5 minutes/15 minutes/an hour away.

I grew up in an outer suburb of sprawling city, where it takes about 30 minutes to drive into the CBD. I now live in small town, where it takes about 5 minutes to drive anywhere, and although we regularly drive 3 hours to get to the city to visit, that 30 minutes just seems like an eternity now.

I don't know if people who drive use times instead of distances but I always use distances because times can vary so much. In summer my commute takes 20 minutes by bike, in winter the same 5 km takes 40 minutes, by bus and walking and Google tells me that driving would take 15 minutes. I suspect though that most people who use distances do calculate times in their head but telling someone that a shop is 20 minutes away isn't very useful.

I don't know, I find it pretty useful! :) The fact that times can vary so much means that distances are pretty meaningless to me. Times are averages, and I guess if someone tells me that the shop is 20 minutes away, then I assume that is with average traffic. If it's 5pm, I'll assume it will take longer, perhaps less at midnight. Public transport is practically non-existant here, so the default is driving times. I actually find time more useful, because then I know how long to leave for the journey.

The only time I'm aware of distances is when the car tells me I have 80km of fuel left and I have 150km still to drive.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Margo on March 06, 2012, 05:34:16 AM

My sister worked in the US for a couple of years when she was younger, and took a while to re-adjust to UK distnaces when she returned. I remember being rather startled when I was chatting to her and she mentioned she had gone from Milton Keynes to Newcastle for a day! She's been back for about 10 years now, and is back to the UK viewpoint.

more recently, when visiting friend in the US, I found that for them, a pub an hours drive away was 'close by', and worth going to just to get a burger and hang out for while.

Title: Re: Distances
Post by: iridaceae on March 06, 2012, 06:10:37 AM

My sister worked in the US for a couple of years when she was younger, and took a while to re-adjust to UK distnaces when she returned. I remember being rather startled when I was chatting to her and she mentioned she had gone from Milton Keynes to Newcastle for a day! She's been back for about 10 years now, and is back to the UK viewpoint.

more recently, when visiting friend in the US, I found that for them, a pub an hours drive away was 'close by', and worth going to just to get a burger and hang out for while.

When I lived in Central Wisconsin I lived about 30 minutes from the town where my good friends- whom I had moved up north to be by- lived and thought nothing of driving the round trip to see them, sometimes 3 or 4 times a week. I was close to my job where I lived and my friends were close by. 

I didn't think much in good weather of driving either 2 hours to Eau Claire or 90 minutes to Appleton to visit a decent bookstore, either. 
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: camlan on March 06, 2012, 08:31:30 AM

During one holiday in the US, DH and I drove for 6 hours straight (only stopping for petrol) and went through 2-3 different states.  Here in Australia that wouldn't even get you out of one state in some cases.  In the outback it can take many hours to drive between neighbouring properties.

Were you in the eastern side of the US? The states there are smaller than the states out West. I think it takes about a day of driving, so 12 or 13 hours, to get across Texas from east to west. But I can drive from Connecticut through Massachusetts and New Hampshire into Maine in less than 4 hours.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: WhiteTigerCub on March 06, 2012, 10:57:04 AM
more recently, when visiting friend in the US, I found that for them, a pub an hours drive away was 'close by', and worth going to just to get a burger and hang out for while.

I live in a suburb of Big City. It takes me an hour just to get to the downtown area of the city to attend theater and sporting events. A normal Saturday outing includes at least two hours in my car driving. :)  Good thing I really love my car.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: lowspark on March 06, 2012, 12:22:01 PM

During one holiday in the US, DH and I drove for 6 hours straight (only stopping for petrol) and went through 2-3 different states.  Here in Australia that wouldn't even get you out of one state in some cases.  In the outback it can take many hours to drive between neighbouring properties.

Were you in the eastern side of the US? The states there are smaller than the states out West. I think it takes about a day of driving, so 12 or 13 hours, to get across Texas from east to west. But I can drive from Connecticut through Massachusetts and New Hampshire into Maine in less than 4 hours.

That's exactly what I was thinking. Just googled it and it's about 13 hours from El Paso (western border of Texas) to the eastern border of Texas. If you were driving from Brownsville (southern tip) to the top of the panhandle at the northern border, it would take about 15 hours. And that is assuming no traffic as you pass through the major cities, which isn't very likely.

So yeah, it all depends on what part of the US you're in as to how many states you'll travel through in a given amount of time.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: lowspark on March 06, 2012, 12:26:06 PM
I don't think much of getting up on a holiday getting in the car and driving 3 hours to to Austin or San Antonio do some tourist things and come back home.

Yup. I do that all the time. My son is at the University of Texas in Austin and we travel 3 hours from Houston, spend the day with him, and return home in the evening a couple of times a semester.

We also travel to San Marcos (also a three hour trip) a couple of times a year for some heavy duty outlet mall shopping (they have something like 300 stores there) and return in the same day.

I know three hours each way sounds like a pretty long distance to some, depending on where you live. But from my perspective, it's not worth getting a hotel room for.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: lowspark on March 06, 2012, 12:39:30 PM
I don't know if people who drive use times instead of distances but I always use distances because times can vary so much. In summer my commute takes 20 minutes by bike, in winter the same 5 km takes 40 minutes, by bus and walking and Google tells me that driving would take 15 minutes. I suspect though that most people who use distances do calculate times in their head but telling someone that a shop is 20 minutes away isn't very useful.

I don't know, I find it pretty useful! :) The fact that times can vary so much means that distances are pretty meaningless to me. Times are averages, and I guess if someone tells me that the shop is 20 minutes away, then I assume that is with average traffic. If it's 5pm, I'll assume it will take longer, perhaps less at midnight. Public transport is practically non-existant here, so the default is driving times. I actually find time more useful, because then I know how long to leave for the journey.

The only time I'm aware of distances is when the car tells me I have 80km of fuel left and I have 150km still to drive.

I think that whether you give distance or time totally depends on your perspective. Giving a distance around here, Houston, is almost meaningless. The traffic and which roads you are taking play a huge role in how "far" one place is from another. So if you say it's ten miles, well that could mean 20 minutes or an hour or somewhere in between. The actual measured distance becomes an abstract concept because it tells me nothing about how long it will take me to get there. So in this case, it's more useful to know the time it's going to take, and most likely that depends on time of day.

The only time I give distance as a measurement is if it's so short that traffic/route plays no role. For example, one of my friends lives about a mile from me. Another friend lives about 25 minutes away. So the mile implies a 5 minute car ride (yes we drive it, that's just how it is here). The other friend? I have no idea how many miles it is and don't care. It's just not relevant.

Funny, the differences we're discussing!
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: #borecore on March 06, 2012, 12:50:35 PM
I don't think much of getting up on a holiday getting in the car and driving 3 hours to to Austin or San Antonio do some tourist things and come back home.

Yup. I do that all the time. My son is at the University of Texas in Austin and we travel 3 hours from Houston, spend the day with him, and return home in the evening a couple of times a semester.

We also travel to San Marcos (also a three hour trip) a couple of times a year for some heavy duty outlet mall shopping (they have something like 300 stores there) and return in the same day.

I know three hours each way sounds like a pretty long distance to some, depending on where you live. But from my perspective, it's not worth getting a hotel room for.

Members of my family and I do the same trip pretty often, but I don't like to go both ways in one day! To my mom, though, it's not a big deal. She'd rather do 5-6 hours of driving in one day than pack an overnight bag and stay at my house!

They're coming here during their spring break, and I'm trying to persuade them to stay overnight rather than pack a campus tour and visiting me and whatever else they want in one day.

Seven hours each way for a visit to Marfa, TX, was tedious mainly because I-10 is so straight and dull! I like some scenery and plenty of stops. (I'm still dreading that Wisconsin trip I mentioned earlier!)
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: CakeEater on March 06, 2012, 01:44:16 PM
I don't know if people who drive use times instead of distances but I always use distances because times can vary so much. In summer my commute takes 20 minutes by bike, in winter the same 5 km takes 40 minutes, by bus and walking and Google tells me that driving would take 15 minutes. I suspect though that most people who use distances do calculate times in their head but telling someone that a shop is 20 minutes away isn't very useful.

I don't know, I find it pretty useful! :) The fact that times can vary so much means that distances are pretty meaningless to me. Times are averages, and I guess if someone tells me that the shop is 20 minutes away, then I assume that is with average traffic. If it's 5pm, I'll assume it will take longer, perhaps less at midnight. Public transport is practically non-existant here, so the default is driving times. I actually find time more useful, because then I know how long to leave for the journey.

The only time I'm aware of distances is when the car tells me I have 80km of fuel left and I have 150km still to drive.

I think that whether you give distance or time totally depends on your perspective. Giving a distance around here, Houston, is almost meaningless. The traffic and which roads you are taking play a huge role in how "far" one place is from another. So if you say it's ten miles, well that could mean 20 minutes or an hour or somewhere in between. The actual measured distance becomes an abstract concept because it tells me nothing about how long it will take me to get there. So in this case, it's more useful to know the time it's going to take, and most likely that depends on time of day.

The only time I give distance as a measurement is if it's so short that traffic/route plays no role. For example, one of my friends lives about a mile from me. Another friend lives about 25 minutes away. So the mile implies a 5 minute car ride (yes we drive it, that's just how it is here). The other friend? I have no idea how many miles it is and don't care. It's just not relevant.

Funny, the differences we're discussing!

U would even give driving time for a distance of a mile. I'd say it's 2 minutes away.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: sammycat on March 06, 2012, 10:13:32 PM

During one holiday in the US, DH and I drove for 6 hours straight (only stopping for petrol) and went through 2-3 different states.  Here in Australia that wouldn't even get you out of one state in some cases.  In the outback it can take many hours to drive between neighbouring properties.

Were you in the eastern side of the US? The states there are smaller than the states out West. I think it takes about a day of driving, so 12 or 13 hours, to get across Texas from east to west. But I can drive from Connecticut through Massachusetts and New Hampshire into Maine in less than 4 hours.

Yes, we were on the eastern side of the US.  I can't remember now if that was the day we started in the beautiful town of Niagara on the Lake and then headed south, or if it was the day after (when we were already in the US).  But I do remember visiting PA, NY and a few other states in that area.

It can take about 24 hours to drive from my capital city (Brisbane) to one of the other major cities (Cairns) within our state (Queensland), with still more cities after that before reaching the edge of the state.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: merryns on March 07, 2012, 01:04:01 AM
If Texas moved to Australia it would be considered a medium sized state.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Thipu1 on March 07, 2012, 09:18:06 AM
When we take the bus to visit Mr. Thipu's Mom in New Hampshire it takes about five hours to go from NYC.  The bus passes through New York, Connecticut, Massechusetts, and Vermont before arriving in New Hampshire.  The bus makes no stops along the way and travels mostly on expressways.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: lowspark on March 07, 2012, 10:10:43 AM
If Texas moved to Australia it would be considered a medium sized state.

Apparently it would also more than double the population. According to google, Australia has ~22.3 million, Texas, ~25.6 million.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: oz diva on March 07, 2012, 11:19:55 PM
Yes makes you realize just how little of Australia is habitable.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Sharnita on March 10, 2012, 07:37:46 AM

During one holiday in the US, DH and I drove for 6 hours straight (only stopping for petrol) and went through 2-3 different states.  Here in Australia that wouldn't even get you out of one state in some cases.  In the outback it can take many hours to drive between neighbouring properties.

Were you in the eastern side of the US? The states there are smaller than the states out West. I think it takes about a day of driving, so 12 or 13 hours, to get across Texas from east to west. But I can drive from Connecticut through Massachusetts and New Hampshire into Maine in less than 4 hours.

It also depends where you are driving.  I can be in Canada within a couple of hours or drive for 7 hours and still be in Michigan.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: iridaceae on March 10, 2012, 08:00:07 AM
It also depends where you are driving.  I can be in Canada within a couple of hours or drive for 7 hours and still be in Michigan.

Yeah; drive south and I'm in Mexico in about an hour. Drive north and it'll take 8 hours or more to hit another state. But on the plus side if you drive North you can stop by and see the Grand Canyon.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: Bethczar on March 10, 2012, 09:01:41 PM
I don't think much of getting up on a holiday getting in the car and driving 3 hours to to Austin or San Antonio do some tourist things and come back home.

Yup. I do that all the time. My son is at the University of Texas in Austin and we travel 3 hours from Houston, spend the day with him, and return home in the evening a couple of times a semester.

We also travel to San Marcos (also a three hour trip) a couple of times a year for some heavy duty outlet mall shopping (they have something like 300 stores there) and return in the same day.

I know three hours each way sounds like a pretty long distance to some, depending on where you live. But from my perspective, it's not worth getting a hotel room for.

I have just moved to City A, 3.5 hours away from my previous city, City B.  I was allowed to keep my job and work from home, as long as I drive in to City B one day a week. It's totally worth it to me.
Title: Re: Distances
Post by: DaisyG on March 13, 2012, 05:55:06 AM
I live in South London, UK. It takes about an hour to get to my office (12 miles away) on my motorbike, but since I've been taking the train recently, sometimes it can take two hours to get home if I miss connections. IMHO, an average commute here is around 1-1.5 hours each way.

I have also spent time on the north and south coasts of Spain, and people are amazed that I never visited Madrid. They obviously thought it could be done as a day trip although it's really over 500km which would take 5-6 hours, and at the time I was studying and had a job.