Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Statistics Galore: 2012 Year in Review

It's time for end-of-the-year statistics!

Restaurant Serving Times: This year's restaurant serving times competition turned out a lot like it did last year.

Fastest of the year: Ideal Hot Dog of Toledo, OH (4:38, December 22). This is their second consecutive title, which means I think we need to make an annual visit - but only one per year - to Ideal Hot Dog to see how long they can keep up the streak. Ideal Hot Dog joins the legendary Waffle Shop of State College, PA as the only two-time champions, and also as the only restaurants with two entries in the all-time top 10.

Second fastest was Cracker Barrel of Montgomery, AL; its time of 8:34 would have been the slowest to have ever earned "fastest of year" honors had it held up. Meanwhile, the only Triangle restaurant to have ever been crowned "fastest of the year" is still Red Hot and Blue of Cary, in 2006. But that location has since closed, which means that no currently open Triangle restaurant has ever been the fastest of the year, even though this is obviously where we do most of our dining. We have yet to find a consistently fast restaurant anywhere in the Triangle that can compete with the likes of Waffle Shop and Ideal Hot Dog.

Slowest of the year: Tribeca Tavern of Raleigh (30:11, February 1). This is the second consecutive year - and third time in the last four years - in which the slowest time of the year came with a party of 10 or more, which makes perfect sense, of course. To be fair to Tribeca, I went back in April with a party of 6 and they timed in at 15:06, which is decent. The Company Christmas Lunch a few weeks back - also with a party of 10 or more - came within two minutes of Tribeca's time, but came up short.

It's been quite a while since we've had a very slow time. Tribeca Tavern's 30:11 isn't that bad, really, but that's the only time over 30:00 that we've seen the last two years. In fact, only one of the ten slowest of all-time has come since Amber and I got married in 2008. Have restaurants just gotten more efficient over the years? Or are Amber and I just not the type to choose a fancy restaurant that would take over 40 minutes? I think it might be a little of both.

Nights By County: Every night since January 1, 2006, I've recorded the county in which I spent the night. Obviously, Durham County will be #1 every single year by a wide margin until we move somewhere else, so the main items of interest here are a) which county finishes #2, and b) how many nights we spend away from home total in a given year.

Here are the totals for 2012, for both me (C) and Marla (M):

Durham NC - C-325, M-329
Lucas OH - C-10, M-13
Duval FL - C-8, M-7
Caledonia VT - C-5, M-5
Mecklenburg NC - C-3, M-3
Warren PA - C-3, M-3
Oneida NY - C-3, M-0
Hillsborough FL - C-2, M-0
Broome NY - C-1, M-0
Six other counties - C-1, M-1 (Nottoway VA, Washington OH, Etowah AL, Montgomery AL, Cape May NJ, Albany NY)

A little more variety this year than last because, well, we went more places this year than last. I spent 41 nights away from home, which isn't that far off from the numbers I put up in the years before Marla was born (49 in 2010, 43 in 2009, 40 in 2008). So if you're wondering if having a kid would slow us down, the answer is still yes, but not that much, really. This was the second consecutive year in which we never crossed the Mississippi River.

Also, just because, here is how many nights I have spent in each state and province since 2006. I was curious which state would come in 5th behind the "big four"; turns out it's New York, on the strength of two curling bonspiels and the 2009 Watkins Glen camping trip.

North Carolina - 2,119
Pennsylvania - 196
Florida - 77
Ohio - 65
New York - 11
Maryland - 9
Virginia, Alaska - 7 (Alaska is highest among states west of the Mississippi)
Manitoba - 6 (highest among Canadian provinces)
Georgia, Vermont - 5
Michigan, Nebraska, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Yukon - 3
AL/CA/CT/DC/KY/ME/NJ/SC/TX/WI, NB/SK - 2
CO/KS/MN/MS/MO/NV/ND/TN, AB/BC/PEI - 1

Pennsylvania is #2 because this includes my last half-year at Penn State. If you exclude 2006, then not only does Pennsylvania drop to 4th, but Ohio jumps to 2nd; Florida stays 3rd. And as often as we drive through the state, I have spent exactly zero nights in West Virginia since 2006.

Car Mileage: Our decision to take my car on more road trips than Amber's car, due to my planning to get a new car sooner than her (late 2015?), resulted in my highest annual miles driven total since 2007...but only slightly.
- I drove my car 19,817 miles in 2012, which is a few thousand miles higher than last year, but only a few hundred miles more than the 2010 and 2008 totals. I've stayed under 20,000 for six straight years now, even though 20,000 a year used to be my benchmark.
- I also drove a rental car to Tampa and back in August, which would have added another 1,665 miles to that count if I included rental car mileage.
- Amber's car only went ~12,000 miles in 2012 (unofficially). I think Amber's car only left the state twice all year, compared to around eight times for my car.
- One more stat that only I find interesting (probably): I drove my car over 2,000 miles in five separate months this year, compared to only one month last year.

My car will reach 100,000 miles in a few months, which is great, but it will likely kick off a round of expensive preventative maintenance, which to this point I've been able to mostly fend off. So far, I've replaced the tires, the battery, and...that's it. (Well, I've also replaced the wiper blades, air filter, and cabin filter multiple times. And the oil, of course. I'm averaging one oil change per 6,250 miles thus far. … Oh, and there was this, too, although I ultimately didn't have to pay for that. Hey, that reminds me...if I have another sun visor failure after 100K, I'll have to pay for it myself! Crap.)

Bicycling Statistics: I averaged 40.6 miles per week of bicycling in 2011, and 35.9 miles per week in 2010. This year's average? 37.8 miles per week. So, I took a step back, but we also spent more time away from home this year than last. My long weekend rides are critical to keeping my bicycling average up, and if we're not home, then I don't ride. So, there you go.

County Visitation: Yeah, I talk about this an awful lot, but between the trip to Alabama in March, the drive down the Ohio River valley in July, the Vermont/New Hampshire trip, and last week's joy ride in Michigan, I had a great year on the "visiting new counties" front. I checked off 101 new counties just this year, bringing my lifetime total to 1,504/47.9%. Eventually I'm going to run out of new counties to visit, but I'm a long ways away from that, because there are still only four states in which I've visited every county (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, North Carolina). South Carolina? Nope. Virginia? Still 20 counties to go. And in relatively nearby Tennessee and Kentucky, I'm not even at 50%! There's still plenty of fun to be had here, but pretty much the only way to get 100+ new counties in a year anymore is to head west of the Mississippi.

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