Travel Reflections

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Friends, I made it back to Washington, DC from Chipley, Florida in one day — I drove 15.5 hours to do it.

A 15 hour tour.

A 15 hour tour.

I don’t recommend it; however, I do like road trips and because it is Memorial Day weekend, I didn’t want to spend several days on the road along with the rest of humanity. (I did have to drive through Atlanta, and yes, it was awful. Nothing against Atlanta per se, but it was 35 miles of tense craziness. No one seems to know what a safe following distance is anymore.)

I did a LOT of driving, mostly around Pensacola, but also to a few smaller towns along the way that Emmett would have visited also in his day.

Emmett was on the road a lot during his career. I’ve estimated he was on the road about 60 percent of his time, both as district attorney for the First Judicial Circuit, and then as State Attorney.

I mention this because it is one thing for me to drive from Pensacola to Chipley in about an hour and a half, at 70 miles an hour in relative comfort (an air conditioned, cushioned car, that gets good gas mileage).

L&N Depot at Pensacola. Emmett used this depot; it is still in Pensacola, but part of a large hotel today. Source: Pensapedia.com

L&N Depot at Pensacola. Emmett used this depot; it is still in Pensacola, but part of a large hotel today. Source: Pensapedia.com

For Emmett, a trip to Chipley usually meant a ride on the L&N train that left about 6:30 am from Pensacola, that went about 20 miles an hour (with a lot of stops in between), that had no air conditioning, and not very comfortable seating compared to what we have today.

Also, the price from Pensacola to Chipley was comparatively expensive. The ticket probably cost about $2, which, in today’s money, is about $45. The average person made about $650 a year during the time Emmett was State Attorney.

And then, Emmett stayed in good hotels, which ran about $3 a night, not including meals.

The Leon Hotel in Tallahassee. Emmett stayed here when legislature met. Source: FloridaMemory.com

The Leon Hotel in Tallahassee. Emmett stayed here when legislature met. Source: FloridaMemory.com

Finally, I thought about Emmett visiting friends, and how he really didn’t get a chance to do it all that often.

For example, I do know that he was once engaged for about six weeks to a girl who lived Columbus, Georgia. I drove from Columbus on down to Pensacola. It is about 280 miles one way, and I was thinking as I drove along, in my comfortable, air-conditioned car, that even if I had someone close to me who lived in Columbus, and I lived in Pensacola, I’d not be making a five-hour drive all the time. If Emmett made the trip, it would take at least all of one day, one way, not to mention the expense.

I have friends who live about an hour and a half away, and I can tell you we don’t hardly see each other at all. That’s just the way it is, sometimes. I like them fine; life just gets in the way, you know.

In fact, Emmett didn’t go to see her but once during their engagement (or, at all from the time they met the year before up to the engagement), and that was to end it. He was busy; travel was long, tedious, and expensive. But more on that relationship in another post.

Tomorrow, I’ll be reviewing notes and the new information I gathered from the trip to Emmett Land. I learned a lot, and made many new friends. It was a great trip, all 3,000 miles of it, and I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with you all.

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