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Travel

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A Trip on the KTX Train in South Korea

The KTX Train at a Glance Originally based on the French TGV. Want to go 190mph? No problem! Super-smooth ride. Cheaper than Amtrak. (This post originally appeared on a train website that is no longer on the Internet.) I rarely get a chance to trail by rail. Aside from the niche Grand Canyon Railway and…

verde valley

48 Hours in the Verde Valley

The Verde Valley isn’t exactly one of the big draws for Arizona. If people get anywhere near it, it’s usually because they’re going to Sedona. I’ve lived here for a good long time and have actually never spent a night anywhere in the Verde Valley other than Sedona. That changed recently because my wife ran…

fanxipan express

Two Nights on the Fanxipan Express

[I originally wrote this as a guest post for a website that no longer exists. I’m republishing it to preserve one of my more interesting travel experiences.] Vietnam taught me one important lesson: For every blazing-fast maglev train or smooth-riding KTX or futuristic Japanese bullet train, there’s a Fanxipan Express. I experienced an overnight trip…

seattle with a kid

Visiting Seattle with a Kid

Back in September, I took my first trip to Seattle with a kid. Well, not just any random kid – my own, of course. I’d last been to Seattle in around 2005-ish with my now-wife. We walked all over the place, found all the tasty food and searched for good beer. As walkable as Seattle…

renew a passport

It’s Time to Fix How We Renew a Passport in the US

The process to renew a passport in America is needlessly slow and archaic. I went through that 20th Century, postage-stamp song and dance a few years ago before going to Brazil. I never spared a second thought about what it’s like in other countries. A friend’s tweet changed that made me think of this, especially…

airline choices

The 737 MAX: One Refreshed Version Too Far

Here’s the big problem with the Boeing 737 MAX: Both Boeing and the airlines are forcing a past-its-prime design to be a flying Swiss Army Knife. They want it to have unparalleled fuel efficiency on short hops from Chicago to Louisville. And they want it to fly from Phoenix to Hawaii, too. The two fatal…

Costa Rican Craft Beer in 2018

Costa Rican craft beer just wasn’t a thing during my first visit nearly 15 years ago. That’s changed, with a wide variety of breweries stretching beyond the ubiquitous Imperial lager. But how good is Costa Rican craft beer? Well, most of it is good enough to finish. But none of it is good enough to…

united airlines costa rica

Flying to Costa Rica Kind of Stinks

Flying to Costa Rica kind of stinks right now, at least from Phoenix. I love a good long flight. Put me in an economy class seat on a decent airline for 14 hours, and I’m perfectly happy to pass the hours watching movies and devouring books on my Kindle. Notice the key phrase: a decent…

best passenger planes

International Service at Sky Harbor: What’s Next?

I’ve said for years that there’s not enough international service at Sky Harbor in Phoenix. The city’s only intercontinental route in recent years was a British Airways flight to London. Then we had a nice sign of progress when Condor Airlines re-connected Phoenix to Germany. And British Airways added three more flights to London each…

colorado railroad museum

Four Days in Denver

We recently escaped the summer heat to spend a few days near Denver. I wanted to go mountain biking, and we all wanted to stroll around as a family without getting flayed and fried under the sun. We also didn’t want to drive a lot, and we wanted to visit some friends living in the…

Can Condor Airlines Help Phoenix Become a "Real City?"

Condor Airlines just might help Phoenix become a real city. Here’s what I mean: Whenever Phoenix and Philadelphia play leapfrog in the city size rankings (which invariably makes our local journalists generate reams of predictable content), I always bring up Sky Harbor International Airport and its lack of intercontinental flights. My view: I don’t care…

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