Author Topic: Distances  (Read 6298 times)

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CakeEater

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Re: Distances
« Reply #45 on: March 06, 2012, 02:14:55 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.

Margo

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Re: Distances
« Reply #46 on: March 06, 2012, 06:34:16 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.


iridaceae

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Re: Distances
« Reply #47 on: March 06, 2012, 07:10:37 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. 

camlan

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Re: Distances
« Reply #48 on: March 06, 2012, 09:31:30 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.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Distances
« Reply #49 on: March 06, 2012, 11:57:04 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.

Arizona

lowspark

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Re: Distances
« Reply #50 on: March 06, 2012, 01:22:01 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.

lowspark

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Re: Distances
« Reply #51 on: March 06, 2012, 01:26:06 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.

lowspark

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Re: Distances
« Reply #52 on: March 06, 2012, 01:39:30 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!

jmarvellous

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Re: Distances
« Reply #53 on: March 06, 2012, 01:50:35 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!)

CakeEater

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Re: Distances
« Reply #54 on: March 06, 2012, 02:44:16 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.

sammycat

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Re: Distances
« Reply #55 on: March 06, 2012, 11:13:32 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.

merryns

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Re: Distances
« Reply #56 on: March 07, 2012, 02:04:01 AM »
If Texas moved to Australia it would be considered a medium sized state.

Thipu1

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Re: Distances
« Reply #57 on: March 07, 2012, 10:18:06 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.

lowspark

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Re: Distances
« Reply #58 on: March 07, 2012, 11:10:43 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.

oz diva

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Re: Distances
« Reply #59 on: March 08, 2012, 12:19:55 AM »
Yes makes you realize just how little of Australia is habitable.

Victoria