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Thread: Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

  1. #1

    Default Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

    Over on another thread about cross-country trips there was some discussion about how much time gets taken up by driving. For shorter trips, what are your deciding factors in flying vs driving? When is a little more "windshield time" worth it?

    I'll give you my own example. I live in the metropolitan Los Angeles area, and I'll be taking a trip soon to do 2 days of guided fishing with a friend on the San Juan. As is often the case, this great fishery is somewhat remote from major regional airports. Yes, I can fly into Durango at a cost of $600 RT per person; but for that price I can fly to London or Barcelona, or fish the salt in Costa Rica.

    The closest reasonably priced airport is Albuquerque, and on Southwest it's around $300 RT per person, plus rental car and LAX parking fees. Here's the travel time via air: 2 hours to pick up fishing buddy, get to airport and long-term park, check in bags, go through security; 4 hours flight time (incl transfer/layover); 1 hour bags, car rental + food stop; 3 hours drive time to Navajo Dam. Total 10 hours.

    Via my own car = 800 miles, and with fast food breaks or eating in car, total 11-12 hours. Cost of gas is about $150, or $75 per person. (Depreciation on my car, maybe another $150.)

    With only a 2 hour time difference, I'm choosing car every time, especially if someone else helps with driving duties. As opposed to a rental car, my own car is rigged for fishing exactly as I want, and I can bring as much gear as I want without the baggage and airport security hassles. We can bring a bunch of food and drinks. And if we add just 10 minutes, we can take the northern route through beautiful Monument Valley. We can fish on the last morning, and leave when we want without rushing back to make a flight. I don't have to promise a rental car company that I will stay on paved roads.

    For these kind of distances, when does it make sense to fly instead?
    - When the fishing destination is within an hour of the airport (example, Provo River near Salt Lake City), leaving just enough time to wet lines on the afternoon of arrival.
    - When going solo, on a great airfare sale (my last airfare to SLC was $111 RT, cheaper than gas, and a nonstop flight)
    - When your road trip start time would put you in traffic hell on the freeways leading out of town.
    - When your destination does not require you to bring a lot of gear, such as summertime wet-wading, so you can cut down on the airport check-in / check out.

    What do you think?
    Last edited by yikes; 10-22-2017 at 03:46 PM. Reason: spelling
    There's not a day that goes by that I don't wonder how dreary this world would be if elk were bald and birds had no feathers.
    - Hank Patterson

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

    We ride a Honda Goldwing and would much rather ride to our destination anywhere in the US. The experience of seeing, smelling and being out in the open while travelling is unmatched. Then at the destination we can not only fish, but ride and see our beautiful country all over.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

    The wife is expecting me to fly to south Florida this winter, spend a few days and fly home.
    I'm afraid that's not going to be sufficient, fishing time wise

    My plan is to drive my own truck and camp and fish where I please for probably a couple of weeks... at least
    The drive will be 2 long or 3 shorter days, each way, but the freedom of having my own vehicle, kayak and camping gear easily makes up for that.
    Besides, the travel is half the adventure
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

    Your not going to follow the strip bass migration are you

    I'm thinking of that animated video posted years ago about following the fish to catch a 40 pound striped bass, remember?

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

    If the time is comparable (two to three hours difference is reasonable to me) I prefer to drive over fly. I like seeing the countryside at ground level and actually enjoy the drive as opposed to the hassle of getting through the airport and renting a car.

    Don't get me wrong as I enjoy the actual flying part, but getting in and out of the airport, meeting their schedules, rules, extra charges, parking costs, wait times and risk of having items or luggage lost/taken are just to annoying and they do not allow me to relax the way I can when I am on my own schedule and in my own car.

    Also if you have somebody you enjoy talking to and can share in the driving chores it makes driving a breeze.

    PS, I usually load up my smart phone with podcasts from Orvis, fly fish radio, etc... which gets me in the mood for fishing and provides good conversation starters if you have a friend along.

    Regards,

    Tim C.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

    Yikes, look at flying into Farmington, if you haven't already. It's closer than Durango and might be cheaper.

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

    Quote Originally Posted by Ard View Post
    Your not going to follow the strip bass migration are you

    I'm thinking of that animated video posted years ago about following the fish to catch a 40 pound striped bass, remember?
    I loved that video. Watched it over and over.
    Unfortunately it's gone

    Him.."I have a big Shimano"
    Her..."That sounds like a disease"
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

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  14. #8

    Default Re: Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

    Quote Originally Posted by el jefe View Post
    Yikes, look at flying into Farmington, if you haven't already. It's closer than Durango and might be cheaper.
    Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't looked into it, and yes it's a bit cheaper in gneeral, about $590 RT, perhaps cheaper if I could order further in advance. Unfortunately, Farmington is served only by Great Lakes Airlines, and their LAX route operates only on Mondays and Thursdays, and it appears to be seasonal one, ending on 10/30. I'm headed out the following weekend.

    I will keep it in mind for next year's trip! It's a 19 seat Beechcraft, and it leaves LAX midday, so I could avoid cross-town traffic.
    There's not a day that goes by that I don't wonder how dreary this world would be if elk were bald and birds had no feathers.
    - Hank Patterson

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  16. #9

    Default Re: Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

    I've flown for 50 years and still do occasionally. After all these years watching service decline, comfort, non-existence, and no first class or business available anymore without booking waaaay early, it sucks. However, the view through the windshield is fascinating, no longer push my self, every trip is an adventure with much to do and see. Ah, retirement.

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  18. Default Re: Cost/benefit of windshield time vs flight time

    There is no one answer to this question. It's a very individual decision. I would not drive 800 miles anywhere to fish for two days. Well .. maybe for three. But it would have to be something special. But I would fly four to eight hours, including one stop, for a days fishing if it were good. Two days for sure. I have been to Belize three times. Two of those trips were for three days fishing. 45 minute drive to airport, 1:00 flight to Atlanta. 2:15 flight to Belize City. 15 minute flight to Ambergris Caye. 20 minute boat or cab to the resort. Counting the early arrival at the airport and layover times, it's about 8 hours of travel. But oh so worth it. If I could drive that eight hours, I would.

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