If recent reports that you may soon be able to hop a flight from Miami to Havana, Cuba have you scrambling for your passport to spy Che’s Chevrolet and Fidel’s Oldsmobile, tranquilo.
According to Reuters, although commercial airlines in the U.S. may resume service to Cuba after a 54-year blackout, travelers to the island country still need to fall within 12 different criteria to enter the country, and “car watching” isn’t specifically one of them.
Volkswagen engineers in Germany are afraid to do business trips to the U.S. because one employee had his passport confiscated by U.S. investigators, reported Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest subscription daily newspaper, on Saturday.
The paper goes on to explain Volkswagen believes U.S. authorities want to question certain engineers and are preventing their exit from the country, and evasion of questioning, by confiscating their passports.
Leaving Petersburg to continue on our way south requires a ferry as Petersburg’s road network only reaches 30 miles out of town and does not cross any water along the way.
Next we visit Wrangell and Ketchikan before leaving Alaska for good. As well as analysing the car park in these two tiny towns, this is an opportunity for me to try and convey to you how it feels to take the most common means of transportation in Southeastern Alaska: the ferry.
After stopping in Juneau, we now take the Alaska Marine Highway — the ferry in simple terms — on a little over five hour sail to reach the next town in our journey: Petersburg, definitely the most picturesque fishing station I got to visit in Alaska.
Nicknamed Little Norway and founded in 1897 by Peter Buschmann, who gave the town its name, Petersburg still displays a very strong Norwegian influence, with many buildings decorated with flowery Norwegian rosemaling paintings. In fact, many of Petersburg’s residents can trace their heritage back to Norwegian ancestors and there was a time when Norwegian was still commonly heard on the street.
After Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, we fly south to Alaska’s capital city, Juneau.
Juneau is America’s only state capital that cannot be reached by car — only boat or plane — as its road network does not connect it to any other towns. It is bound to stay that way as half its residents and its mayor opposed a plan to build a road that would. But even though you can’t drive anywhere, Juneau has a very dynamic car park.
After Barrow and Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, at the extreme north of the United States, we now fly south 620 miles (1,007 km) to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska but not its capital.
As much as I would have liked to tackle the mighty Dalton Highway, an additional 230 miles and a 14- to 18-hour trip depending on the weather, time and budget constraints meant I had to fly instead, in a semi-cargo plane: the first third of the plane was cargo with the remaining two-thirds for passengers and entry only from the back of the plane. It was the first time I saw such a plane.
On the way, the bonus is sublime panoramas of the former Mt. McKinley, the highest summit in the whole of the United States at 20,320 feet high. Denali, the Indian name for the peak, appropriately means “The Great One”.
Last year, I crossed the United States from Coast to Coast — New York to LA — in a Ram 1500 Tradesman. You can follow last year’s coverage here. This year we embark on another crossing, this time from North to South, albeit starting a little further North than you might expect.
I’ll hop in a Ram 2500 Tradesman 4×4 in Seattle eventually, but for now, as the area I’ll travel through before Seattle has only an intermittent road network, it will be a mix of planes, rental cars and ferries. (Read More…)
The alarms clocks ring. Both of them. Just in case I get any funny ideas.
I go through the semi-conscious motions. Clothes… suitcase… glasses… coffee… breakfast. By 4:15 a.m, I’m out the door and driving to the airport in a 21-year-old Geo Prizm. I figured that a 5-speed and a stark lack of noise insulation will keep me alert. Thanks to Atlanta’s penchant for using steel plates to cover up every possible pothole on the road, I am not disappointed.
Traveling by bus is the preferred mode for the growing middle class throughout Latin America. White collar workers, government employees, and students take long-distance buses for many reasons. First, it is much less expensive than flying. Second, buses reach a lot more destinations than planes. Finally, even those who own cars prefer to let a professional do the driving, thus minimizing wear and tear to their own cars and the stress of dodging out-of-control big rigs and stray animals for hundreds of miles.
The stereotype, of course, is that all buses South of the Border are chicken buses– second-hand American school buses with psychedelic paint schemes, tinted windows, and chrome galore. In fact, luxury buses– built in Brazil and Europe– are very common and often have more amenities than commercial airliners. Make the jump to learn more about them. (Read More…)
2014 has been a good year for the rental car industry. A recovering economy has meant more car rentals and more miles traveled by consumers. Volume alone isn’t responsible for the rental companies’ recent success, though. Each of the big three rental chains has been able to raise prices, thanks to the consolidation of an industry that they now collectively control 98% of.