“Over the river, and through the wood, to Grandfather’s house we go; the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow…”
Lydia Maria Child, writer, abolitionist,
suffragette and Native American rights advocate (1802-1880)
Where do we go on Thanksgiving Day? Our family gathers at home with family and friends although many Americans hit the roads and/or take to the skies to reach their Thanksgiving destination. Horse-drawn sleighs of days gone by are forgotten behind barn doors. Modern transportation now holds the key. “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,”* from the same-named movie, says it all. A Thanksgiving classic, it exemplifies the stress and desperation of today’s holiday travel.
In this 1987 movie comedy, a blizzard on the east coast diverts a plane carrying two oddball characters played by actors Steve Martin and John Candy. Thrown together – not by choice, but inclement weather – they struggle for three long and bitterly cold days to get home for Thanksgiving.
These scenes are synonymous with holiday tradition when bad weather and hordes of travelers collide sending the country’s transportation capacities into a complete tailspin.
In a perfect world, Thanksgiving Day includes a coming together of wonderful people and foods with peaceful recollections of gratitude. Travel adds another element of excitement, with a chance for chaos. The following is a collection of “Thanksgiving Numbers” pertaining mostly to travel.
43,400,000 Americans travel for Thanksgiving
40% travel to be with family
4% travel to be with friends
50 miles or more is the average distance traveled
5 most popular destination cities
• New York City
• Los Angeles
• San Francisco
38,900, 000 travel by *automobile
3,140,000 travel by *plane
1,400,000 travel by ship, bus or *train
27% of drivers leave Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving (the busiest travel day)
64% travel off-peak hours to avoid traffic congestion
16% of people eat dinner at a restaurant
$49.04 is the cost of a home-cooked turkey dinner
Thanksgiving 2015 is expected to be the best for travel. Temperatures on the east coast will top those on the west coast with La Crescenta at 55/40 degrees and New York City at 60/49 degrees on Thanksgiving Day. We call it cold and below normal and while those on the east coast call it mild and above average. Same weather, different players. No matter; the blizzards and rains of winter are coming, just not now …
“For ‘tis Thanksgiving Day!”
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.