Destination: Colorado

Another Casualty of the Down Economy: Rest Stops

And the people of Arizona are pissed off. From the New York Times:

Arizona has the largest budget gap in the country when measured as a percentage of its overall budget, and the state Department of Transportation was $100 million in the red last fall when it decided to close 13 of the state’s 18 highway rest stops.

But the move has unleashed a torrent of telephone calls and e-mail messages to state lawmakers, newspapers and the Department of Transportation deploring the lost toilets—one of the scores of small indignities among larger hardships that residents of embattled states face as governments scramble to shore up their finances.

Other states have closed rest stops, too, including Colorado, Georgia, Vermont and Virginia.

Video You Must See: From Denver to Singapore in Five Minutes

(Via Kottke)

Pet Airways Begins Flights for Pampered Animals; Humans Still Out of Luck

Beginning today, Florida-based Pet Airways will fly your critters to and from New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles. The new airline promises that pets will be constantly attended to and treated as first-class “pawsengers,” with rates for one-way flights—for Fido only; you’ll have to book on a regular carrier—starting at $149. Representatives are confident that the high prices are well worth it, offering peace of mind against the “severe emotional and physical harm, even death” that can befall your pet traveling in the cargo hold on human-centric flights.

The airline has even started a blog featuring everything from the latest in-flight pet news to expert tips on keeping fit with your dog on the road.

Aspen to America: We’re a Major Literary Destination!

Aspen to America: We’re a Major Literary Destination! Photo by Molas via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Molas via Flickr (Creative Commons)

When most people think of Aspen, Colorado, I doubt if the words “literary pilgrimage” pop all that promptly into their heads. But that’s going to change—at least if’s Brandon Wenerd has anything to say about it.

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Drink a Microbrew, Save the Planet, Taste the Culture

Drink a Microbrew, Save the Planet, Taste the Culture Photo by prince roy via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by prince roy via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I’ve said before that travelers who want to walk the talk of environmentally responsible living must also seek out sustainable food (i.e. no Chilean sea bass!) when on the road. I’m adding locally brewed beer to my list.

Making and transporting beer doesn’t produce nearly as many carbon emissions as boutique wines, which are often flown by overnight air, says Pablo Paster in his column for Treehugger. Still, Paster advises eco-imbibers to drink a local brew over that beloved German beer.

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What We Loved This Week: Twitter, Portland’s Cheap Eats, ‘Before Sunrise’ and More

Our contributors share a favorite travel-related experience from the past seven days:

Valerie Conners
Trip-planning via Twitter and the fabulous tweeps following @worldhum. I’m heading to Buenos Aires in April and have been posting questions out to our twitterverse of followers, looking for tips on sights, food, estancia tours and more—the response has been so warm and incredibly helpful. What an amazing resource. Some great ideas have crossed my path and are making their way into my itinerary.

Eva Holland
I watched one of my favorite travel movies, “Before Sunrise,” again for the first time in a couple of years and was thrilled to find that none of the crazy, spontaneous magic of Jesse and Celine’s one night in Vienna had worn off. Here’s a classic sequence:

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Frozen Dead Guy Days

It's the time of year when a Colorado town celebrates its cryogenically frozen resident. Armed with her camera, Joanna Kakissis joined the party.

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Some Say ‘Nay’ to Giant Horse Sculpture

There is a 32-foot-tall sculpture of a wild mustang in front of Denver International Airport, and to put it bluntly, it’s freaking some people out, the AP reports. There is even a Facebook group devoted to putting the horse out to pasture, so to speak. The sculpted horse is blue, muscled, and rears powerfully up on two legs. Mohawk-like mane juts from its neck and head.

To get more reactions to the horse, I emailed some friends who live in Colorado. “Driving by the horse is a surreal experience,” wrote Dan Knights. “The horse is incongruous with its surroundings. All around it there’s nothing but flat dry fields and highway, and then all of a sudden there’s this giant cobalt blue horse. It’s made especially creepy by its fiery glowing eyes. I’m not sure if the eyes are actually illuminated or merely reflecting the ambient light, but they definitely give the horse a possessed demonic appearance.”

My friend Andrew Jones put things more strongly. “Frankly, the horse freaks me out,” he wrote. “In my last few trips to D.I.A., I’ve been trying to figure out why, exactly. The bright red eyes are an obvious candidate, of course, so I imagined: What would I think if it had green eyes? Or none, or black, like a normal horse? Is it the nostrils, aggressively flared, or the fact that the mane is so uproarious in its frozen flow?” Jessica Jones, his wife, wrote: “We see this horse every time we go to D.I.A. and its eyes scare the blazes out of me.”

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Buyer Beware: Worst. Deals. Ever.

Here’s an unexpected bit of fun (not to mention a refreshing dose of honesty) from travel discount aggregator, a collection of the very worst non-deals in their system. Check out this Special Rate for Government Associates at a Denver hotel, for instance; as DealBase’s trademark “Deal Analyzer” points out, this “special rate” actually tacks on an additional $94 per night, or an unlovely savings rate of -171 percent. (Given that the “deal” is for government only, maybe we can call it a political protest of some sort?) DealBase is a relative newcomer to the online bargain-hunting scene, and it’s nice to see that it brought its sense of humor to the party.

Treatment for Plane Crash Victims Improving

In the wake of Saturday’s dramatic Denver plane crash, the AP has a story on the ways in which post-crash treatment—both for survivors, and for the families of victims—has improved over the last decade.

In the old days, Joshua Freed writes, “little care was taken to return personal possessions of crash victims or, in some cases, even their remains. Families tried in vain to reach airlines to find out whether their loved one was on board the plane, and whether they lived or died.” But following the TWA flight 800 crash in 1996, new measures were put in place, and—says a representative of a crash survivors’ group—“there have been some huge improvements.”

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Morning Links: Wynn’s Encore, a ‘Sadistic’ Geography Quiz and More

‘The Ice Cave’: Journeys Into the Wild

Lucy Jane Bledsoe experienced wilderness from the Mojave to the Antarctic. Emily Stone calls her resulting essay collection layered, literary and unflinchingly honest about the solitude of travel.

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