Thursday, February 16, 2012

To-ing and Fro-ing

In Neeldom, it's quite common for Cassandraminta Mary Jane to spend quite a bit of time commuting back and forth between London (or the family home in the country) to Holland. It always sounded so exhausting...all that travel...until I looked up just how far it is from London to's a mere 254 miles (by way of Harwich). I suppose it's even closer as the crow flies.  I'm not quite as impressed now.

I'm heading down to Betty Keira's for a long weekend - I have to pick up Dr. van der Stevejinck at the airport, on the way. He's working out of town this week...and next. I'll drop him off at the airport in Portland on my way home...which will make a total of around 500 miles this weekend.

But wait, there's more.

The following weekend I'll be meeting Dr. van der Stevejinck in San Jose, California...for a quick visit with our oldest son and his brand new fiancee. (1,700+ miles RT)

But wait, there's more.

The week after that I'll be flying from Seattle to Charleston, South Carolina.  I've offered to babysit my 4 grandchildren while their parents take a week to celebrate their 10 year wedding anniversary. (6,000 miles RT). 


Let's tot up our sums.  500+1,700+6,000=8,200ish miles in less than a month.

And now a look a few epic travel adventures in Neeldom (I would hate to take away from a possible Betty by the Numbers I'll stick to just three memorable ones). Let's see how they stack up:

Abigail and Dominic's 920 mile drive from Spain to Holland (Saturday's Child) - with a seriously ill toddler. I'll give them that one...especially since Dominic had just driven the 920 miles to Spain to pick up the little tyke.

Sarah van Elven (Fate is Remarkable) drives to the wilds of Scotland, solo.  Roughly 460+ miles in the dead of winter.  Hugo makes the same trip solo, with more treacherous roads. Again, I'm willing to give them this one...even though Sarah does take more than a day to drive it.

And the winner for most intrepid driver in Neeldom...drum roll please....

Henrietta Brodie (Henrietta's Own Castle) drives off to Holland in Charlie -"a very old Mini bought from one of the housemen 3 years previously, it had been second-hand then....". Again, it's a solo trip in the dead of winter. Not only is it the dead of winter...but she has to do it on the wrong side(to her) of the road and follow road signs in a foreign language to get to a place that she's never been before. I wouldn't want to try it by myself.


  1. And from the descriptions of Henrietta's drive, the roads she traversed in the early 70s were not necessarily wide and well-groomed. There's another story -- don't remember which -- with vivid descriptions of getting the car off the ferry via the ramp, and it sounds quite an intimidating process. I think, Betty Debbie, you should try to find a route to San Jose (you're driving, right?) that requires a water crossing via some sort of boat.

  2. The only ferry riding I'll be doing next weekend will be the excursion boat to Alcatraz Island. But I can pretend I'm driving on the wrong side of the road and reading signs in Dutch. I'll have to try and remember to take some Betty in the Wild pics.

  3. I think part of the reason it sounds so far in the books is that in England traveling more then 100 miles can seem like a very far distance to an English person. My boyfriend lives there and if I tell him I am headed to my brother's house 100 miles away, he tells me to make sure I take plenty of breaks along the way! I usually just get in the car and don't stop until I get there.

  4. I've always heard that the difference between the British and us Americans is that they think 100 miles is a long way and we think 100 years is a long time.

    Betty von Susie

  5. When I married Betty Ross, I told him that everything in America is "bigger & better." (And yes, we admit we don't do the "old" thing very well.) Then we went to Alaska, which is "bigger & better" than the lower 48.

    When Betty Henry first came over, we planned a trip from Philadelphia to Maine, which includes 100 miles of I-84 in Connecticut. He wanted to get off the motorway and see something other than pine trees. "Uh, it doesn't work that way," I pointed out. In the UK you can get off a motorway and you're within a stone's through of a quaint village, a 3,000-year-old stone circle, a stately home, etc. Here, not so much -- and that's even in New England, where the states are relatively wee compared to everything west of the Mississippi.

    I make a trip to the Philadelphia area every week--130+ miles each way. A sneeze...except in bad weather. So I totally give the nod to Sarah van Elven, and Henrietta -- I do not like to drive in yucky weather or on icy roads.

  6. Betty Barbara here--
    We have done the drive across the US several times. However, our record is Albuquerque, NM to Baltimore, MD in 3 days (that averages to 750-800 miles per day). So when I read, as in The Promise of Happiness aka 'Becky and the Hot, Hot Baron' that it took them 3 or more days to do the 750 miles from point A in Norway to point B in Holland--I was unimpressed. Yeah, I know, Mom didn't travel well, but still--that's a two day trip, max!!

    Betty Magdalen--Oh, I so hear you re: bad weather driving. Sarah gets major chops for taking a drive in dicey weather. We don't get a whole lot of ice here in Maryland. My sister, in Austin,Texas, gets Nothing But Ice in winter--she is lucky enough to be able to work from home in those situations!

  7. The job I did this summer was basically an epic road trip across the country promoting safe driving to teenagers... We started in Florida and wound up in California - 38 states and 3 months later! I think I counted about 3,000+ miles of driving in July alone! With the flying to and fro from home base in Seattle (we were called back to run events here, too!) it was over 30,000 miles in 3 months. It really made me empathize with all the RDDs jetting off to Africa every few weeks to operate on injured children!

    Betty von Susie, when I taught history, I always said what my teacher had told me: "The difference between America and England is that in America 300 years is a long time and in England 300 miles is a long way." I wonder if it's based off of your quote?

  8. I'm sure it's one of those quotes that everyone gives their own
    "tweak" to. I have never seen it attributed to anyone.

    Betty von Susie

    The pink tulips are blooming in front of my office, lil bit of Holland to greet me in the mornings! :)

  9. Back in the 60s, when I was little, we would go to Austria on vacation. 820/860 km (510/535 miles). Record time: eight and a half hours. Two adults, three young children in a Volkswagen beetle (I don't want to sit in the middle, I want to sit at the window! - Are we there yet?). But sometimes we would do the trip in two days. These days the distance is 740/765 km (460/475 miles) and can be done in roughly 7 hours.
    re: "So when I read, as in The Promise of Happiness aka 'Becky and the Hot, Hot Baron' that it took them 3 or more days to do the 750 miles from point A in Norway to point B in Holland--I was unimpressed."

    I could not remember where they started in Norway, so I chose Molde. Here is what the Via Michelin Route Planner said.

    Molde - Leeuwarden (
    233.04 EUR
    Toll 49.92 EUR | Petrol 183.12 EUR | Road tax EUR
    21h34 wich 12h46 on motorways
    1800 km wich 1274 km on motorways

    Betty Anonymous