Just saw this thread. Interesting.
In my opinion, a more difficult question would be: how do you find emotional connection to an unfamiliar landscape, e.g. if you are travelling through a new area or don't have the time to get off the beaten track and really get the lay of the land.
What I very often see in landscape photography is a lot of "ooh" and "ah"... but no evidence of a deeper connection. I think if you look at Ragnar Axellson's work, you'll see just how much a photographer can be connected to the land and really become part of it. Then the ooh and the ahh is just icing on the [substantial] cake.
It doesn't necessarily take long to get to know the character of the land, but.... there is also no reason to expect a landscape to reveal all of its possibilities through the window of a moving car. People often mention Adams in connection with effective landscape images; well, he lived in those landscapes. They were as familiar to him as an old friend... and it shows.
P.S. The gear is just a thing. It can facilitate your conversation with the landscape... or it can come between.
P.P.S. Glancing up, I think I agree with Vaughn in all respects!