Get Your Motor Running in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show

Excitement is running high in Detroit right now, as the countdown begins for this weekend’s opening of the North American International Auto Show, and the annual unveiling of what’s hot, what’s cutting edge, and what’s in the future of the car industry. From its inception in 1907 (how many cars were they showcasing then?) to the international showcase that it is today, Detroit has showcased our love affair with the car.  Originally called The Detroit Auto Show, this event now ranks with the best of the best in the auto world, holding its own with the major auto shows in Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris and Tokyo.  In 1989 it became known as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Some highlights of past shows: 1992 ““ The President of Chrysler “crashed” a Jeep Grand Cherokee into the site through a special […]

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New Mexico: The 47th State

Today is Admission Day for New Mexico, our 47th state, admitted to the union on January 6th, 1912. The culture of the area is heavily influenced by the large population of Spanish, Mexican and Native Americans who live in the state, and who, generations earlier, occupied the territories of what is now New Mexico.  The state has the highest percentage of Hispanic Americans (some immigrants, some descendants of Spanish colonists) and the second highest percentage of Native Americans (mostly Navajo and Pueblo).  This blend of culture has always fascinated me, and I regret that I have not yet had the opportunity to visit New Mexico. Santa Fe is New Mexico’s capital city, and Albuquerque its largest city, followed by Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, and Roswell. It ranks 36th in the country in population. Popular visiting spots include:  Carlsbad […]

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Utah: The 45th State

Today is Admission Day for Utah, admitted as our 45th state on January 4th, 1896. Utah is one of the Four Corner states (the others are Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona), the only place in the Unites States where four states come together at one point.  Utah is ranked 13th in geographical area, and 34th in population.  The largest city is the capital city of Salt Lake City. Utah has a large tourism industry, given a boost when it was host to the 2002 Winter Olympics.  The state is known for its many ski resorts, national parks (Zion and Bryce Canyon, for example), the Great Salt Lake, the Bonneville Salt Flats (in photo), the Sundance Film Festival and the Mormon Temple. I’ve only been to Utah once, and that was to visit Salt Lake City in 1987.  It was a […]

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Alaska: The 49th State

(As part of my quest to visit every state, I will be spending some time throughout the year highlighting each of our 50 states.)   Today is Admission Day for Alaska.  On January 3rd, 1959, Alaska (purchased from Russia in 1867) became the 49th state. Although Alaska is the largest state in geographical area, it is one of the least populated, ranking 47th of 50.  Due in large part to its connection with the oil industry, it is one of the wealthiest states.  Alaska is a rugged state, with lots of outdoor adventure opportunities:  fishing, hunting, hiking, snowshoeing, dog sledding, etc.  During the summer, the coastal cities in Alaska are popular ports of call for many cruise lines, and cruising the Inside Passage is an opportunity to see nature in all its glory.  Other popular sites:  train rides through the […]

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Resolutions at Flyaway Cafe

I make resolutions every year. Although I usually refer to it as goal setting, I try to be both ambitious and realisitic in the process, and make resolutions that reflect the varying parts of my life.  Some overlap, some don’t, but my overall goal is to be a better person a year from now. Here are a few of my travel resolutions (goals) for Flyaway Cafe: Go to Europe — finally! Go to at least three new U.S. cities Go to at least two states that I haven’t yet been to.  It doesn’t count if I’m just at the airport. Write and post regularly, sharing my travel discoveries, both good and bad, with all of you. Remember the joy of travel. Did you make any resolutions?  Please take a minute and leave them here in the comments.

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Philadelphia's New Year's Mummers Parade

For those readers who’ll be in Philadelphia over the New Year, you won’t want to miss the 102nd New Year’s Day Mummers Parade. So who are the Mummers?  The forerunners appear to date back to 400 B.C. and the Roman Festival of Saturnalia.  In that era, Latin laborers marched in masks through a day of satire and gift exchange; the Celtic version was a variation of the “trick-or-treat” theme.  Since that time, the bacchanalia of New Year’s celebrations have taken many twists and turns, but hthe revelry and enthusiasm of its origins remains. The first “official” Philadelphia Mummers Parade was held in 1901, and it has become the most authentic folk festival in the world.  Thousands of people (this year estimated to exceed 15,000), capped and caped, speckled and sequined, strut their stuff as Mummers.  And I do mean strut!  Mummers don’t […]

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Try Solitary Confinement on Your Next Hotel Stay

I like my creature comforts when I travel.  But I’m also trying to broaden my horizons.  I’m looking for new places to go, new adventures, a little motivation and encouragement to try something a little different and off the beaten path.  It’s not so much that I’m in a rut, as that I want to make sure that I don’t get into one. Maybe that’s why my pal Jon sent me information about this KGB Hotel in Liepaja, Latvia.  Either that, or it’s because I mentioned that when I get home from traveling, I become somewhat of a recluse, not wanting to see anyone or leave the house. This hotel, however, sounds like one that I’d be most anxious to leave.  It bills itself as  “unfriendly, unheated, and uncomfortable,” but it’s open all year “˜round.  You can read a first hand […]

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Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument

Another day, another wonder, and this one will also stir the debate about whether wonders should be man made or natural.  Regardless of your position on that issue, there is no doubt as to the beauty of the underwater world of the Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The national monument encompasses nearly 140,000 square miles of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and provides for protection and preservation of the marine area.  It is the largest single area dedicated to conservation, and the largest protected marine area in the world.  To get a sense of just how big we are talking about, it is larger than 46 of our 50 states.  The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands include ten islands and atolls, and stretch over nearly 1,400 miles.  The undersea forests and mountain ranges of this area comprise a coral reef habitat that exceeds 4,500 […]

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Carry Some Readily Available Change

It seems like I’m always rummaging in my purse or pockets for change.  I have lots of it, but somehow I don’t always seem to have the right amount.  And who wants to worry about getting change for your change.  Whether it’s fare for a local bus, making a small purchase, or tossing a few coins in a fountain, it’s always good to keep a little change handy when you travel.  It will save you from pulling out bills for small purchases, and reduces the chance of losing money or having it stolen. All Things Marked came up with a clever way to make sure you always have the right amount of change.  Here then is the magic combination of coins: 3 quarters 1 dime 2 nickels 4 pennies This combination of 10 coins, for a total of 99 cents, […]

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Grant Park: Icons on Chicago’s “Front Yard”

After writing a couple of great articles about the Art Institute of Chicago and Second City, I talked pal Jon Rochetti into another article, complete with some of his photos, from his recent trips to Chicago. Enjoy!   Even before the Chicago Fire of 1871, civic leaders realized that the city’s lakefront was something that should be protected to be enjoyed by all Chicagoans.  Chicago’s Grant Park (map) lies between the downtown business “loop” and The Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave.) and Lake Michigan.  It covers 319 acres and hosts three exceptional museums: the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, and the Field Museum of Natural History, along with many of Chicago’s favorite icons. Much of the park is actually landfill from the Chicago fire and the city’s first underground subway system. An old tunnel system was built to hold underground telephone cables but after […]

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