Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch is attending the 2022 National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference in Colorado this July but, unlike the other commissioners who are going, he’s getting there in an unusual way.

Upchurch is getting into his car and driving the distance to the annual event where county commissioners and other county leaders get together each summer reportedly to learn new things and exchange ideas for best practices.

Upchurch said that he hasn’t been a fan of flying for most of his life.  In his youth, he said, a small plane crashed in his neighborhood and that had a lasting effect on him.

The other county commissioners who are attending the conference are flying since Colorado isn’t exactly a stone’s throw away from Guilford County.

Taxpayers cover the expense of travel, and gas is at an all-time high, so some taxpayers might worry about the cost of the drive – however, county reimbursement policy means that the most Upchurch can get for his trip is the cost of a plane ticket to Colorado.

Upchurch says his car gets about 35 miles to the gallon on the highway.

The conference is in the Denver area and taxpayers will cover the transportation, meals, lodging and admission costs for all the commissioners who attend.

Upchurch lived in the area briefly and said he also may stay a few extra days to visit friends.

He also said that he doesn’t mind driving, and said that a cross country trip by car these days is really not bad at all.