All of this is great info. I tried the Google thing and it suggests the same way as Waze and claims it will take 46 minutes. When I drag it to my route, the time changes to 52 minutes. But when I actually drive my route, it takes me 38 minutes with no hurry at all. When I drive the Google/Waze route, it takes me more like 45 to 50 Minutes. The Google/Waze route is indeed more highways and mine is more backroads, so I think the node issue mentioned above may be the problem.
As far as: "What if you take your route. Is there a point within the route when waze switches to "your" preferred route?"
The result has varied over the last several months, but it has improved. It used to really, really resist my route and try to make me turn back, but lately (a few months ago) it has switched to my route almost immediately after my deviation (it tries once to get me back on the highway). So there was hope that it was going to eventually learn that my way was better, but no luck. My route still doesn't even come up as an option when I ask for options at the start of my commute.
"How does ETA change during that switch?" Well, it actually acknowledges that my way is faster, the ETA at that point usually makes a 9 minute improvement.
I'm going to go though the route and make sure there are no more nodes than there should be and see if things get better (when the maps update). Thank you for all of your help, this gives me more to think over and try out. If there are more thoughts on this, please post. I'll keep you updated.