Gas not the only factor in Labor Day plans

Costs, crowds, congestion and even crime affect travel

August 31, 2011|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • A timed exposure catches the taillights of vehicles traveling on Interstate 70 west of Hagerstown at dusk on Wednesday.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

With gas prices lower now than they were in July and Labor Day approaching, area residents Wednesday talked about costs, crowds, congestion and even crime shaping their plans to travel over the holiday weekend.

Dick Gaylor of Boonsboro said that he planned to stay home over the weekend because gas is still too high for him to travel.

"I have a camper, and I can't afford to travel with it like I used to because gas is so high," he said. "Even though the prices have gotten a little better, it's still hard when my camper is only getting about 10 miles to the gallon."

Laura Niang of Hagerstown said she had no plans to travel, but in her case, it was traffic that was keeping her close to home.

"Traffic is always so horrible on the holidays," she said. "My family and I usually stay in those weekends because it's not worth going anywhere."

Hagerstown resident Bob Gelwicks said that he plans to go boating and fishing along the Potomac River while staying at his sister's house near River Bend Park in Falling Waters, W.Va., this weekend.

"Traffic doesn't bother me, and I can pace myself with gas," he said. "And the price of gas will never keep me home when I want to go boating."

Charlie Baker of Hagerstown said he was going camping with friends in Winchester, Va., this weekend. He said that neither traffic nor gas would be a problem.

"We'll leave early Friday morning and come back early Sunday morning to avoid the traffic," he said. "Gas is what it is. You have to pay if you want to travel."

Teresa Matthews of Hagerstown said she was going with her husband, Fred, to Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County in far Western Maryland. She said she was not worried about the traffic.

"Traffic is not as bad out here as it is near Washington or Baltimore," she said. "This is my first time off all summer, so I am going to do my vacation this weekend."

Hagerstown resident Joe Raley said crime was as much of a problem for him as were gas prices and traffic, so he would stay home this weekend.

"People are talking about flash mobs and things of that sort this weekend," he said. "Crime is rampant throughout the surrounding cities and towns."

Charles Hose of Hagerstown said he finds that crowds are a problem for him when he travels over the holidays. He said his plan was to have a cookout with his family on Labor Day.

"It's safer to not be on the highway during the holidays," he said. "The traffic and crowds are much greater on holidays, and I don't like being around a big crowd of people."

Karen Keilholtz of Fairfield, Pa., who was on her way to Ocean City Wednesday afternoon, said she enjoys crowds when going to the beach.

"You go to the beach to have a good time and see people and party," she said. "It may not be fun to pay for things like gas, but it won't affect my travel plans."

Cathy Largent of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she would travel  over Labor Day weekend, but for work.

"I am flying to Reno to train for my new job as a nurse for a General Motors plant in Martinsburg," she said. "My trip is all expense paid, but I'll probably blow all my money anyway by spending Labor Day at the casinos."

Eric Von Hentschel of Hagerstown said he was heading for Rising Sun, Md., to work this weekend at the Yellow Bullet Nationals drag race event at the Cecil County Dragway.

"This is a spotlight race," he said. "Being on Labor Day every year, cars from everywhere come here every year."

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