M y wife and I are finishing up a trip to Gloucester, Mass., and Bar Harbor, Maine. We will start for home tomorrow. Choices...

M y wife and I are finishing up a trip to Gloucester, Mass., and Bar Harbor, Maine. We will start for home tomorrow. Choices of travel could be plane, train, boat, bus or automobile; our choice is pickup truck. This being the case, the fastest route will take 12 hours 40 minutes, per Google Maps. The only problem with this route is I-95, which includes a ride around Boston and a skirting of New York City.

This was no fun coming north, so we are considering a more western track south, meeting up with I-81. This will mean an additional two or three hours added to the shortest route. I have flown to Africa many times and that normally takes about 16-18 hours. Driving that many hours is another animal.

Technology has improved greatly over the years. We have used that technology, but we have also used a map book, which has allowed us to see what might be a good route and what may not be the best way to go. I have learned a few times that the fastest recommended route is not always the best route. Fastest routes do not take into account the difficulties that may be faced on that route.

Another thing to consider is the dependability of your vehicle. At this point, my vehicle has not given me any trouble since I bought it, except for a leaking third brake light. I have attempted to maintain the truck, though I cannot say that I have done every recommended maintenance procedure called for by the manufacturer. A vehicle is a lot of components that need to work in harmony with many other parts in order to get you from point A to point B. I have been on a plane that experienced a fuel leak on the No. 3 engine, that caused us to have to fly to a different airport. A mechanical failure of my vehicle could strand us and delay us, but it does not include the dangers of an air emergency.

Motor vehicle crashes happen numerous times daily, especially on limited-access highways. Staying alert while driving is a vital part of me getting my wife and I home safely. Speeding tickets are out of the question, since I did not budget for them on this journey, or any journey for that matter. Bottom line, I hope that we all drive defensively during this long journey. I have seen many fire units and ambulances on this trip, but I do not want them to have to go to work on my account.

If you read an article from me next week, you will know that we made it home OK. We have had a great journey thus far, seeing some of the most beautiful places in America. I would recommend this journey to anyone, especially during the fall, when the leaves are at peak colors. I can safely say that the ocean has never looked more spectacular. We took a whale watching trip into the Gulf of Maine, a place that I never knew existed. We ate lobster rolls, “real” New England clam chowder, blueberry pancakes and blueberry pie. It was truly a once in a lifetime trip. It took me 33 years to take my wife on her dream trip, but it was worth every moment, including the drive.