The most visible benefit to driving reveals itself when you're navigating through natural landscapes and taking in the scenery, whether it's rolling hills of farmland or twisting, turning mountain canyons. Flying from Denver to Salt Lake City lets you look down upon the Rockies - driving allows you to immerse yourself in them. It's a totally different experience, like sitting front row after years of being in the nose-bleeds.
It even goes beyond that, though. A lot of the perspective comes not in the middle of nowhere, not in a canyon, but in the stages of transition. Flying into a city throws you directly into a boiling pot, and driving gives your mind a chance to process the change. Taking in the evolving landscapes, stopping at the local gas stations, and seeing the sights on the side of the road allow you to get a feel for how one area becomes another, to understand the roots of the tree and observe how everything builds and blends as you approach your destination.
Money, time, and patience are all factors people weigh when trying to decide between flying and driving. My hope is that next time you're behind the wheel, you do more than count down the miles. Make the windows disappear, turn up the tunes, and, most importantly, pay attention to the way things change. Airplanes of the future are trying to increase flier awareness of what's below for those at 30,000, but the best seat in the house is still where the rubber meets the road.
[Photos: Will McGough]