Author Topic: Distances  (Read 7239 times)

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lowspark

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Re: Distances
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2012, 09:37:10 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!

Thipu1

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Re: Distances
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2012, 11:05:41 AM »
Getting off-topic but Bryson's best has to be 'The Mother Tongue.  English and How It Got That Way'.

baglady

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Re: Distances
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2012, 11:21:40 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]  ;)
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Thipu1

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Re: Distances
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2012, 02:47:20 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]  ;)

Elfmama

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Re: Distances
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2012, 09:29:54 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. 
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kareng57

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Re: Distances
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2012, 09:54:25 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.

iridaceae

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Re: Distances
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2012, 12:50:35 AM »

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. 

starry diadem

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Re: Distances
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2012, 03:04:50 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.
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oz diva

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Re: Distances
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2012, 04:12:06 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
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 04:16:53 AM by oz diva »

Victoria

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Re: Distances
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2012, 05:02:28 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...

Dindrane

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Re: Distances
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2012, 12:07:33 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."

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cabbageweevil

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Re: Distances
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2012, 06:16:45 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.

Wench

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Re: Distances
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2012, 07:38:52 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. 

camlan

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Re: Distances
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2012, 09:04:10 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.
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Luci

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Re: Distances
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2012, 10:39:57 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.