Saturday, April 10, 2021

Travel Amenities Taken For Granted



Over last weekend and on Monday I had the pleasure of driving from the Chicago area and back down to Marco Island. The weather was outstanding and so was the company, driving my friend Janet and the most adorable Miniature Schnauzer (I’m prejudice) I’ve ever had the pleasure to be around. She’ll turn eight this month on October 28th.

Because of my work responsibilities over the 40 years I spent on the road traveling by car, trains and airplanes I did my share of touring around the county and internationally. Since semi-retiring a couple of years ago I’ve only begun to appreciate all of the wonderful places I went through, but never grasped the beauty and wonder of them.

When I speak of this to others who spent their lives in a similar fashion making a living, we all came to similar conclusions and have shared a laugh or two about some of the adventures we have had in common.

The last couple of years I’ve shared with you my adventures on my Harley Davidson Motorcycle traveling around the country. Many of you are amazed how many of us men and women love going out on the road and just enjoy the riding for the sake of the freedom we feel when out there.

On this trip however I would think of our servicemen and women from World War II who would travel across the country when either being discharged from the service or being deployed on a troop ship into the Pacific or across the Atlantic. Many of those men and women now in their 90s did that journey going from places like Boston to San Diego or the opposite way on trains. My dad would tell me that story, and it wasn’t about the wonderful luxury they enjoyed on the trip compared to today’s trains with sleeper cabins or even the recliners in the coach cabin.

The DC-3 would open a new world of travel for Americans as it would ferry passengers across the country or to points of interest in between, while taking under 19 hours to travel from New York to Los Angeles.

The Douglas DC-3 would begin flying almost eight decades ago, providing passengers with unheard of luxury and the freedom to travel with ease, but may have begun the demise of rail travel which before had been king in the world of travel.

I mention air travel, because I logged a number of miles both domestically and internationally. I will never forget those 14-hour trips from Atlanta to Tokyo and then to China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and a number of other ports of call. Those trips made going to England, the Netherlands and even the Middle East seem tame at times. However, I can’t imagine how travelers made those journeys before the luxury of today’s modern aircraft and all they have to offer.

But one of the greatest achievements here in this country has to be the Interstate Highway System. Thank you President Eisenhower and the men and women who had the vision to make this wonderful achievement a reality. This accomplishment linked us together as a nation, along with the advent of the modern automobile, which truly made us a “mobile society.”

Safe, efficient and reliable transportation is something we all tend to take for granted today. Newcomers to Marco Island just assume we’ve always had such a wonderful roadway into the island, consisting of four lanes and two elevated entrances across the Marco River.

The Judge Jolley Bridge was constructed in 1969 and the second parallel span was built in 2011, allowing two lanes on and off the island.

Collier Boulevard or S.R. 951 hasn’t always been the beautiful four lane divided highway of today. In 1986 when I purchased here it was a dark, undeveloped two lane roadway taking you twenty miles to the Jolley Bridge, causing me and many others to speculate out loud as to where we were going.

The County Road 92 Bridge near Goodland (which is affectionately now known as the Stan Gober Bridge) was constructed in 1975 and replaced the old wooden swing style bridge that had served the island since 1938. Prior to that people had to come across on a ferry from the mainland.

Yes, travel today is a pleasure, regardless of whether the kid behind you in the airplane is kicking the back of your seat or your favorite restaurant isn’t at the next exit from the highway. Travel today is as safe and wonderful as you make it, but you have to take the first steps from home to start enjoying it.

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