Last week we drove 2500 miles in six days. We went on a road trip from Utah over to California, down highway 1 and back up through Vegas to Utah again. It was a fun time - we got to see a lot of different things. What's interesting is how large distances and empty highways are something that lead to being able to do 500 miles in a day without any problem. When I used to live in England, I wouldn't voluntarily get in a car and drive 200 miles anywhere, let alone 500. I'd sooner have shot myself in the head. The congestion is terrible everywhere and the motorways are choked with centre-lane drivers and nanny cameras that issue fines without remorse.
In America, especially in the west, things are considerably different. The stretches of I-80 and I-15 that lead to and from our home city all neck down to two lanes once you're out of the main city area. The speed limit is either 75mph or 80mph depending on where you are, and the traffic is so relatively light that you can set the cruise control and literally not touch the brakes for 400 miles. It's still tiring to drive that sort of distance in a day but it's not difficult (unless you're in that f*cking Chevy). Rest stops are pretty well placed - normally 60 to 70 miles apart so there's plenty of opportunity to pull over and have something to eat, stretch your legs and such.
Then there's the "we've passed them before" game. There's always slower-moving traffic - larger trucks, motor homes etc. Very often we'll pass a bunch, then stop for something to eat, and when we get on the road again, we'll end up passing all the same vehicles again because they kept going when we stopped.
Road tripping isn't some romantic, idyllic thing though - that's not the point of this post. The point is that when I tell my friends back in Europe that we're driving 500 miles to get somewhere, their response is always the same - "what!?". Yes it would be different if we were on the East coast, but where we live, it's not a problem. And with the assholes at the TSA, the checkin and waiting times and all the other hassle at airports, it's pretty much a wash in terms of travel time now whether we drive 500 miles or fly.