Thursday, July 31, 2008

Staycation Nation

Gov. Rell seems very pleased with her "staycation" concept, which encourages Connecticut residents to take their summer vacations in Connecticut this year (although if the concept catches on, wouldn't that mean people in New York and Massachusetts who normally would have visited Connecticut will have to stay home, too?). Whether people are actually doing this remains to be seen (my family snuck over the border to Rhode Island for a few days), but the term "staycation" seems to be catching on. Today, I notice the Courant was talking about "daycations," meaning a brief trip that doesn't include an overnight. Then the Sunday New York Times Connecticut section devoted way to much space to the "staycation" concept. All of which makes me think there is plenty of room to take the "-cation" notion and pound it into the ground. Like this:
Haycation: An overnight for two to the Quiet Corner.
Graycation: A trip in a Buick for two older couples--men in front, women in back--to the Curtis House in Woodbury or any restaurant whose name tries to summon up the Colonial Era.
Praycation: An educational tour of notable church architecture in New Haven.
Gaycation: What'll it be--Northampton, Fire Island or that dorm at Wesleyan?
Neighcation: Off to see the Governor's Horse Guard.
Slaycation: A too-long weekend in Hartford.
Flaycation: A multiday food romp through Fairifield County with the noted celebrity chef.
Playcation: Taking in a show at Goodspeed.
Autodafecation: Going to view a Richard Blumenthal press conference during which he threatens to sue and punish utility-company bigwigs.
Perriercation: Sitting on the back porch with cheese and bottled water.
Oyveycation: Enough with this concept, already!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Breaking Free of the Asphalt Jungle?

As we all deal with higher gas prices, I was impressed by this story out yesterday about how Americans drove nearly 9.6 billion less miles in May. That's a whole lot less miles -- about equal to driving to the sun and back 50 times.


To save money like everyone else, I have tried to cut my own driving by combining trips, but there's got to be a few people out there making significant cuts to balance that out. Doing some simple math, with around 200 million licensed drivers in the U.S., that means each would have to average driving 48 miles less last month to equal the 9.6 billion.

I guess mass transit and carpooling can work after all.

Aside from less traffic, I've noticed a few subtle changes on Connecticut's roadways.

- Less speeding. Obviously, the faster you go, the more gas you burn, so I notice that I'm getting passed less and less while traveling at 65 mph -- and that's a speed I've forced myself down to from what was more of a normal cruising speed of 70-75 mph. And yes, I've noticed a tank of gas seems to be going a bit further.

- Where have all the Hummers gone? I know of at least two people personally who have traded in their SUVs for smaller, more economic vehicles, and I have to assume that the fact Ford recently reported record losses and a move away from building larger, gas-sucking vehicles, to smaller, more fuel-efficient ones, there must be an actual trend going on here. By my own eye, there seems to be less on the roads. Interesting.

Of course, traveling by car in Connecticut is still less than perfect -- lots of trucks and construction projects out there. And there are still bad stretches of highway -- the I-95 corridor from Milford to New Haven, is still a dangerous drive. And I know there are others -- as a matter of fact, our monthly FIRST survey wants to know what Connecticut residents think are the worst stretches of roadway. If you have a second, click here and tell us what you think.