OK, so by now you’re all sick of variations on this:
So just for giggles, I rethought the whole thing (briefly) to see if I just took short-hop flights or rail segments between major stopping points, but stayed there longer, would I have a better (and less exhausting) trip but still get to all the places I want to go?
Well, the first problem is, there aren’t a lot of robust rail choices. Aside from the daily route between St. Louis and Kansas City, there’s next to nothing that helps me. (Same with Greyhound, incidentally). So alternate ground transportation seems to be pretty much out.
The second problem is, there aren’t a lot of direct flights from one stop to another, no matter how I arrange it. You just can’t get from here to there.
And if the flights require connections, it hardly seems like much of a time savings. I mean, sure, I won’t have to drive huge distances myself, but I’ll still need to spend as much time getting from place to place.
And in virtually all cases, I’d still need to rent a car and drive several hours to get the “missed” destinations back on the map (or just to get around, sans public transportation in some places), so that means I can’t significantly offset the flight costs with savings on rental car & gas.
The best I could do, it appears, would be this:
By this arrangement, I could skip 8 hours of driving. I’d still get Kansas into the itinerary (on the same kind of technicality that’s getting Kentucky and Iowa in), because of the proximity of the Kansas Cities. The overnight in Wichita would be replaced by an extra overnight in KC (which costs a little more) and the flight will run an extra $100 or so. Car rentals are a wash, but I’d save on gas.
And did I mention the 8 hours of driving?
The biggest downside I see so far is that it gives me a much firmer deadline along the way, to make sure I arrive in OKC on schedule for my flight.
OK, that and the new wrinkle where someone just suggested it would be dangerous for me to drive alone in Oklahoma. Um, what? My source didn’t seem to have any details to back up her statement, so I think I need more detail on this nonsense.