Category Archives: Travel

Oregon Coast Trip

Escaped for a quick weekend trip to the Oregon coast with my friend from college, Lisa. It was typical fall weather, gray, wet, and cloudy for most of the trip. But our Saturday was sunny, warm, and gorgeous. Everyone was outside enjoying the day. I like to think I brought it with me from Tucson. Overall, a very relaxing and restorative trip – just what I needed.

Note: all photos taken with cell phones. More photos on our Flickr page.

Automate Airplane Drink Ordering Service

Quick idea for making airplane drink service more efficient.

Instead of flight attendants taking drink orders row by row as they go back in the plane, and serving them row by row—speed things up by allowing passengers to use the seatback screen to select from a list of items. The attendants will see the orders on a handheld device they carry. No need to explain which juices or sodas are available, or the cost of alcoholic drinks. It’s right on your screen. With the order details and seat number in hand, service will be much quicker.

Bonus idea: allow ordering your drink type ahead of the flight—when booking, for example—so flight crews can stock and prepare the drinks ahead, saving inventory and time.

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Funny sign from a shop window in Willcox. It was 3pm on a Saturday, apparently, when the owner does come in she doesn’t stay very long…

On the Road With John James Audubon (Review)

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A gift from my parents, On the Road With John James Audubon by Mary Durant and Michael Harwood is a travelogue and historical biography—and an enjoyable read. I recommend it if you like geography, history, birds, and travel. Especially if, like me, you aren’t deeply familiar with John James Audubon’s life story.

Tracing a person’s life by following his exact steps is an uncommon way to structure a book—and it works well here. Though the narrative started out a bit heavy on Audubon’s personal details, I felt that by the middle of the book the authors did achieve a balance of historical bits with modern day observations. Mixing snippets from Audubon’s letters and journals and examples of his famous illustrations, the authors wove together their story with his. Engaging with the places and people everywhere they went, adding flavor, detail, and humor as they explored the story with new eyes. (Note: though modern compared to Audubon’s day, this book was written over 30 years ago. Still relevant and interesting, however.)

A unique thing about this book is the trio of voices, where two authors—only one a “serious” birder—intertwine with Audubon’s personal account to create a fascinating description of a changing landscape and culture, of an America awakening to its vast natural treasures. Speaking to how important these treasures are for us to preserve, Durant and Harwood highlight over and over the troublesome relationship we’ve had as a nation with our animals, plants, rivers, coasts, and mountains. The struggle between conservation and exploitation of our resources.

Several times the itinerary followed a path similar to our own RV travels, places we’d stayed or visited. Which made me want to hit the road again! What I liked most about this book is how the authors combined their passions and interests into a compelling travel adventure. There’s something to admire in that; a story is more powerful when told with a purpose.