Ask.com has a maps feature. Although it's slower and more annoying to use than, say, Google Maps, it has a nifty "Walking Directions" feature. I decided to give it a test run. I mapped walking from our apartment to Yeshiva University, and (although it didn't know about the 130-stair shortcut) it did reasonably well, both in terms of directions and length of time. Then I gave it a trial by fire. I had it map directions from Washington Heights to Fort Lee, NJ. For those of you who are not familiar with the area, here is a (Google) map:
If you were walking, it's around a mile and a half across the bridge (more on that another time), then with bits of mileage elsewhere it adds up to around 2 miles total. So let's see what Ask suggests:
That's right: 92.9 miles, 29 hours and 41 mins straight of walking. Holy cow! Quite a bit out of the way, methinks.
But, believe it or not, it gets better. If you wanted to walk to Elizabeth, NJ the directions are totally crazy:
Elizabeth is close to 25 miles away by car, and, in reality, it shouldn't be that much further by foot. However, Ask suggests a 233.7 mile, 3 day, 2 hour and 48 minute nonstop trek, taking you to Bear Mountain State Park in the Catskills, past NJ's awesome zinc mines in Franklin and Ogdensburg, at times bringing you within 18 miles of Pennsylvania.
And with all that, it doesn't even avoid Newark!