The Endless Mile

May 05, 2008

RAY: This was sent in by John Kelly and he writes with a true story:

"While living in the Bronx a friend, who will remain anonymous, bought a car in White Plains about 21 miles north of the city. He didn't have anyone to help him pick it up so he decided to do it all by himself." (Now whenever someone says, "a friend who will remain anonymous," and then the rest of the story is something harebrained, you know it's him! So John, we're with you, brother!)

"And because he wasn't trading the car in, he came up with this ingenious plan. He drove his old car 21 miles north and parked it in the dealer's lot, picked up the new car, paid for it and got the keys, and drove it one mile south. He locked it up, walked back north one mile to the dealer, picked up his old car drove it two miles. He locked it up, walked back one mile, picked up the new car, drove it two miles south, locked it up, walked one mile back to the other car, etc., etc., etc., until he reached home with both cars."

So the question is, at the end of the very long, long day, how many total miles did he walk and drive? Sounds simple, right, but be careful!


RAY: Here's the answer. He clearly walked 21 miles, right? It would be the equivalent if he had driven up there with his old car and driven the new car home and then walked back up there. He just did it one mile increments.
So he walked 21 miles, and he drove the new car back 21 miles.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: So most people say, that's 63 total miles. Wrong! Everyone forgets the 21 miles he drove to get up there.
So he drove 21 miles to get to the dealership. And then drove two cars back --

TOM: 21 miles each.

RAY: Which is another 42 miles. Add that to the original 21 he drove up there the first time, 63 miles, and the and then the 21 that he walked, 84 miles, no wonder it took him all day. What was he, crazy? So who's our winner?

TOM: The winner is Timothy Reed from Juno, Alaska, and for having his answer selected at random from the pile of correct answers that we got, Timothy's going to get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at, with which he can get a copy of our brand-new four-CD set called Field Guide to the American Wacko.

RAY: Congratulations, Timothy, for being this week's puzzler winner, you lucky guy.

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