Destination: Montana

Tim Cahill: At Home in Montana

The Wall Street Journal visits the veteran travel writer at a cabin in southwest Montana where he does most of his writing. Says Cahill: “It’s often hilarious to me that I’m writing about Tonga or some tropical place and there’s a blizzard outside and the cows are on their backs with their hooves in the air.”

For more about Tim Cahill’s writing process, check out his remarks on creating literate adventure stories. (Via @Gadling)

Travel Nostalgia: The World in Vintage Posters

I’ve confessed to my abiding love of postcards before, and now I have another confession: I am a total sucker for the vintage travel poster and all its varied (fridge magnet, notebook, calendar, tote bag) incarnations. There’s something so refreshing about those old Cunard posters, or the early advertisements for transcontinental passenger rail. They have a guileless wonder to them, and a total lack of cynicism or irony—because they come from an era when nobody thought they had already seen it all. So I was thrilled to read on the Shoretrips blog about a major vintage poster auction being held in New York.

The auction’s already come and gone, but the entire collection is still viewable online. There are more than 400 posters in the sale, though, and only some of them are travel-related—so for all my fellow vintage-travel-poster-lovers (and I know you’re out there) I’ve put together a list of my favorites, and a cheat sheet for the rest.

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Would You Rather Live in a Big City or a Small Town?

Would You Rather Live in a Big City or a Small Town? Photo by Sophia Dembling
Photo by Sophia Dembling

I keep a file titled “Good Reads,” into which I tuck stories and articles that I enjoyed reading and like to revisit from time to time. The other day, I pulled the file out and found a photocopied page from the book O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.

I copied the page for a particular speech, spoken by Carl, who has just left Chicago, to Alexandra, who is trying to keep things together on her family farm on the Nebraska prairie. Read the quote after the jump.

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Fly the ‘Green’ Skies With Camelina (and Pond Scum)

airplane propeller Photo by jiazi, via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by jiazi, via Flickr (Creative Commons)..

OK, OK ... it will be many, many years before camelina and algae replace petroleum in jet fuel, but I’m glad the aviation industry is at least exploring environmentally responsible options. Last week, Japan Airlines became the latest carrier to test biofuels on one of its jets, circling a Boeing 747 powered by mix of camelina, jatropha and algae oil over the Pacific Ocean.

By all accounts, the one-hour flight went smoothly, as did previous biofuel test flights by Virgin Atlantic (powered in part by coconut and babassu oil), Air New Zealand (jatropha oil) and Continental (jatropha and algae oil). Greenvolutionaries have been hating for years on traditional (read: fossil-fuel-based) jet fuel, a major contributor of greenhouse gases. So energy companies such as Arizona’s PetroSun and Montana’s Sustainable Oils are loving the good vibes and (so far) good results in developing clean, next-gen jet fuels.

The Finns have predicted that all planes will be running on biofuel by 2093. I know, that’s like 84 years away, but since oil reserves are only expected to last a few more decades, I really hope they’re right.

The Horse Spirits of Big Sky Country

Deanne Stillman ventures to the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana to remember the nearly forgotten warriors of Custer's Last Stand

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