Travel: The Great Tradition of American Independence Day | News, Sports, Jobs


Judy Rizzo and her boyfriend Carl Wier rested at the gas station at 7073 Route 281 in Cortland County, heading to Alexandria Bay for a weekend ride. Photo by Yuner Gao

June 24 was the penultimate day for Jose Hernandez and his family of a 10-day vacation.

“We traveled from Miami to Canada,” Hernandez said at the Mirabito gas station on Route 281 in the town of Preble, Cortland County, “We are going to New York.”

He, his wife and three children were due to return to California the following day.

“Everything is expensive right now” Hernandez said. “We haven’t taken a vacation for three years. And I don’t know next year.

As Hernandez prepared to say goodbye to her vacation, Spafford’s Judy Rizzo hit the road on her motorcycle.

“We’re going up to Alexandria Bay for the weekend bike ride,” Rizzo said as she rested at the gas station. “Thirty dollars for five gallons is crazy.”

For Independence Day weekend, Rizzo will be in South Dakota with her boyfriend, Carl Wier.

“We like to travel as much as we can” Rizzo said. “Our children are grown. It’s kind of our time to have fun.

Rizzo will be among 47.9 million people who will travel 50 miles or more from home over Independence Day weekend, AAA predicted. This is a 3.7% increase from 2021, bringing travel volumes just below those seen in 2019.

Car trips will set a new record, surpassing 41.5 million in 2019 and 41.8 million in 2021, despite historically high gasoline prices, with 42 million people taking to the road.

“Even with record gas prices, travelers are still eager to hit the road this summer. We expect travel times nationwide to increase by approximately 50% from normal. Drivers in major metropolitan areas should be prepared for much greater delays,” Bob Pishue, transportation analyst for INRIX, said in a statement. “Knowing when and where traffic jams will build up can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice is to avoid traveling on Thursday and Friday afternoons.

In addition to this, AAA offers the following tips:

¯ Have a plan A, B and C. Plan your flights, car rentals, accommodations, tours, cruises and other upcoming activities

¯ BET on a trip without breakdown by paying attention to the battery, the engine and the tires of your vehicle. Be sure to get a full vehicle inspection before any long trip.

¯ Beat the rush. Based on AAA booking data, Friday is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel over the holiday weekend, with July 4 being the lightest. For those hitting the road, the Thursday and Friday before the holidays should be peak days.

For Marathon’s Matthew Rupe, who used to work in a fast food franchise, he’ll just be staying put, with his wife and six kids this coming holiday weekend.

“Minimum wage doesn’t really help” Rupe said. “I put $40 a day in my car just so I can get to work and have her (his wife) run errands.”

It has acres of land where children can run and play.

“Buckle up and get ready to have fun”, Rupe said. “They have super active imaginations and everything is a toy.”

Or maybe, if local travel is an option, they could try kayaking on Skaneateles Lake or catch a summer concert in Homer’s Village. The Cortland Convention and Visitors Bureau offers ideas on its Experience Cortland website,

Wherever you go, safety is important, Cortland County Sheriff Mark Helms said in a statement. Plan ahead for a safe and sober ride.

The Cortland County Police Department and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration remind drivers that buzzing driving is drunk driving. The administration reports that 11,654 people were killed in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes in 2020, more than 200 people just during the Independence Day holiday.

“Everyone deserves to have a safe and enjoyable July 14,” said Helms. “We join NHTSA in sharing the reminder that buzzing driving is drunk driving. It is never okay to drive drunk, even after just a few drinks. There are so many options for sober riding these days. So plan ahead — if you’re drinking this 4th of July, or any other day, plan a sober ride.

Here are some safety tips for Independence Day weekend:

¯ Even if you have had only one alcoholic drink, designate a sober driver or use public transportation or a transportation service, or sober transportation program, if one exists.

¯ If you see a drunk driver, call 911

¯ Do you see a friend who is about to drive drunk? Take the keys and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

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