Last week I talked with a very nice lady who needed to fly from Hartford CT to Boise ID. This involved a connection in Chicago and she had to choose between two options. One of them was based on the absolute minimum time necessary to get from one flight to the other and the next one would keep here in O'Hare for about four hours. She wanted the shorter one but if she missed the connection she'd be stuck in Chicago overnight.
Got all that? Good. As we were talking through her options she asked me, "If I miss the flight, how far of a drive is it to Boise?".
"Um, about two days." She had trouble believing this. I went on to tell her that it might be a shorter drive from Hartford to Chicago. What does Google say?
Hartford to Chicago: 892 miles, 14 hours and 13 min.
Chicago to Boise: 1691 miles, 1 day and 2 hours (and I'm calling 26 hours worth of driving at least two days)
I don't mean this as a sneer at anyone's lack of spatial awareness. People that live on the east coast don't have a good feel for just how big the plains states are. On the other hand we folks in the middle have a tough time figuring out just how close together it all is out there. Last month Hans drove from Virginia to Rhode Island, Google says that would take about 10 hours. That's seven different states in only 10 hours. (Well, a shorter time when Hans is driving.)
You know how far you'd need to drive to get seven states away from Minnesota? Quite a bit.