Cisco man's 7-hour commute is killing Yosemite

Communing with nature or Exxon?

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Letters Silly us. We thought the tale of a man driving 7 hours to and from his job at Cisco would impress The Register crowd. What commitment. What passion. What a fantastic opportunity to catch up on the latest audio book discussing the pros and cons of FB-DIMMs.

The story, however, of America's longest commute angered many of you - especially those with a green tint.

Dave Givens, a Cisco electrical engineer, drives close to 400-miles roundtrip from Mariposa to Cisco HQ in San Jose because he enjoys living near Yosemite national park and raising horses when not in the lab. Many of you wonder if this long commute doesn't do more for Exxon than Yosemite in the long run.

It's not a little ironic that the beautiful environment he loves so much is probably being damaged by the vast amounts of carbon and other pollutants he is pumping into the atmosphere with his insane daily commute.

Ben Robinson

Good to see Cisco advocating flexible/remote/home (delete as appropriate)working. A few thousand more commutes like that and perhaps even the air around Yosemite won't smell so sweet anymore?

Dave Duff

The Duff man does not approve. Oh no. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

If this guy wants to spend 7 hours every day for the privilege of living on a volcano, who am I to question that.

Something tells me though that this is not just a basic rank-and-file grunt. Your basic average wage slave will have to commute two hours because that's the closest they can find an affordable place to live. This guy chooses to live 3 to 4 hours away. That means he has a big fat pay check and he'll take the inconvenience of spending more time in his car than with his family along with it.

You have to get your priorities straight.


My girlfriend used to have a similar commute. We live in Oxford and she was working as an Educational Psychologist in Lewisham. As she doesn't drive she would get the train from Oxford to Paddington, tube from Paddington to Victoria, train from Victoria to Lewisham, and then a bus from Lewisham station to her office, and THEN she would be out and about all day visiting schools before retracing her steps to come home! Luckily she left that job and found a job in Westminster.

Now she just gets a coach from right outside our door in Oxford to Baker Street and walks to the office from there.

Andy Clyde

It's a darn site prettier than my 100 mile round trip past Merthyr Tidfil and Pontypridd (the scenic route) or Port Talbot's smog works and Bridgend (the pipe hole for Wales' enema - should it ever need one) for a more direct (if more time consuming) route.



Longest commute by car maybe...

I once met a chap on the Bus from Oxford to Heathrow...It was early one morning and he lived somewhere further out in the Cotswolds.....

Everyday he drove from his home in the Cotswolds to the park and ride on the East side of Oxford - something like 40 miles...

He then got on the bus to Heathrow - another 40 miles or so....

next he checks in for the first flight out to Geneva (yup Switzerland), has his breakfast on the plane.

and finally gets in a taxi to his work on one of the business parks by the airport.

and of course reverses the trip each night.

Now that's one heck of a commute, but apparenlty took a similar time to when he was working in the City of London!

Martin Hepworth

I salute this man for being able to handle that journey on a regular basis, anything over 30 minutes driving and I'm practically dead. Recently did a journey Luton to Bolton, just under 3 hours of driving, this was two weeks ago and I'm still recovering.

However, what an idiot he is.

James Smith

Well you can tell from this that either Americans don't pay much for petrol/gas or hotel rooms are incredibly expensive.

I would have a 180 miles daily commute here in the UK if I didn't quickly work out it's cheaper (and far more enjoyable) for me to get a room in a pub (it's a hard life *hic*) than spend 4 hours of my day at the mercy of the M25.


No, it's not worth it. It's pathological. When does he actually get to enjoy the view at his ranch? Except for one hour in the height of summer, it's dark when he leaves the house and dark when he returns. He may own a ranch, but he *lives* in his car.

Also, his lifestyle his helping to damage the environment that he loves so much:


Affluent Americans fleeing sububia are bringing it along with them and their autos. Like a man running from his own shaddow. It's bizarre.

I have a 15 minute bike commute to work. I don't expect any award from the auto industries for it. But more of my life is my own. And that's its own reward.

Voline - Portland, Oregon

Yosemite is nice (unless you total your vehicle there like I did a couple of months ago). But, this guy is spending at least $500/month on gas (very low estimate!) and I suspect he can rent something (well, maybe not given the prices here) nearby. He is VERY devoted to his location and is family, I can say that.

Tom Watson

Shame on Midas for indirectly condoning such gas-guzzling commutes through this contest. I hope I'm not the only one to see the irony and idiocy of driving and polluting the air for 7 hours each day just to live close to "nature"?? This guy's commute is about 8.4 times that of the average American (50-minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau - http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/american_community_survey_acs/004489.html.)

Even if the guy drove a 40-50 mpg hybrid as I do, it wouldn't be justified. I urge him to use his gasoline money instead to buy a home near San Jose, and drive to Yosemite on the weekends, which seems to be the only time he has to enjoy the place in the daylight anyway.

Gary T in San Diego

Let's do a little math here. If this gentleman takes, say, 3 hours to get to work and 3 hours to get home on a typical day. That means he is spending 6 hours of every day on the road. Assuming, generously, that he takes 30 days off per year what with vacations, holidays and all that, at 6 hrs x 230 days, that's 1,380 hours per year that he wastes in the car rotting his intestines out with coffee and brainwashing himself with Tony Robbins tapes. 1,380 hours is 57 and a half days, so he is effectively tossing away two months of his life every year just so he can claim he works at Cisco. Now since he has done this for 17 years, that's 17 x 2 months, or 34 months, so in effect, he has wasted almost three years of his life hauling his own ass around, traffic jams, sucking road smog, and adding to global warming.

Let's say that the average car is driven 20k miles per year. The average car produces 77.1 pounds of hydrocarbons per year, 575 pounds of carbon monoxide, 38.2 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and 11,450 pounds of carbon dioxide....and uses 585 gallons of gas. Mr Givens, with his earth-hostile attitude, driving 372 miles per day, for the conservatively assumed 230 days per year, drives 85,560 miles per year, or 4.278 times the average. Therefore in 17 years, Mr Givens, while Awakening the Giant Within, has belched out 5,607 pounds of hydrocarbons. He has spewed 41,817 pounds of carbon monoxide, and 832,712 pounds of carbon dioxide into our planet's atmosphere, more than one pound for every acre of Yosemite. Now according to our buddies at the Wikipedia, CO2 has a density of 1.98 kg/m3. Converting to SAE, over 17 years, Givens has gifted us with 6,736,750 cubic feet of carbon dioxide. Stacked on top of each other, these cubic feet would be as high as 513 Mount Lyells, the highest peak in Yosemite.

John Muir, who founded Yosemite National Park, would roll over in his grave. It's nice to know that Givens, who loves his "scenic" back yard, is doing his part to conserve it.



Thanks for your story about the numbskull that commutes 372 miles each day to work at Cisco. Too bad there was no mention of what type of car he drives (considering the whole Midas angle). I'd be curious to know if he has considered the ramifications of using that much fuel to shuttle himself to and fro for the past 17 years? Somewhere, a big oil executive is smiling...



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