I drive to work like most people. That is not surprising. In Orlando, driving to work can be quite the ordeal if you need to cross through town. Since we seem to have toll roads every where, it is almost inevitable that you have to take one. That is my case. I travel from East Orlando to South Orlando, almost 23 miles to work each day, and it takes me exactly 23 minutes to do this if I take the 417 otherwise known as the Greenway.
Recently, the Orange County Expressway Authority decided they needed more money. Their reasoning was that because there were less drivers, they needed to charge the ones still taking the roads more money. In fact, every single toll was raised by 25 cents. Outrageous! Instead of cutting back expenses they went for the easy way out. So the toll on my expenses was pretty high and I decided I needed to find another way to get to work.
That was my mission this week, to find the most efficient way to go to and from work and make it a habit. Habits are hard to break but its possible. So what did I do? I started taking Orange Ave north to Trade Port Drive and headed East. Trade Port is a really decent drive with only about two to three lights and I often get them green. This road actually starts in farmland with the sight of cows grazing in a field. Unfortunately, this quarter of a mile section of Trade Port really needs repaving since the road is full of potholes here. Fortunately it quickly reaches businesses with manicured lawns with Sago palms and irises, which gives way to a divided high way, where you see the airport to the right for about 7 minutes. As soon as we pass the 528 exit there is a delay due to construction which slows down traffic trying to get on North Frontage Road. After Frontage, I took a left to go on a quick hop on Semoran to Lee Vista, which crosses me over to my side of town. Making a left off of Lee Vista I take Econolacheehatchee where on my left I see a lovely forested area full of herons, cranes, egrets, and streams. It is just beautiful. Econolacheehatchee connects me to Curry Ford which takes me home.
Though I have added 10 more minutes to my drive,its paying off. I am not paying tolls. To my surprise, I use less gas. I thought I would be using more gas, but it turns out my car is more efficient at 45 than it is at 65 to 70 miles per hour. So now I am not paying tolls and I am saving money on gas. Dare I say, it might be safer, too. I took a section of 528 yesterday, to get from Semoran to Narcoosee to get a freebie on this toll road, and I almost got hit by a man driving a pickup hauling a trailer behind him. So hey, it seems a little more civilized on the regular roads, too. How did I not do this sooner?
The beauty of all this is multifaceted. I go slower. I see more. The slower I go, the more I enjoy the ride.* Will I go back to driving on the toll roads? Not any time soon, I don't think.
*After writing this entry, I read a devotional on patience which goes hand in hand with this article. Part of the root meaning of patience is to go slow. To see the full article click here