Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM


Spinning Globe Travel
Roger J. Wendell on a zodiac boat in Antarctica - 01-28-2011
Me in Antarctica!
"The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise
somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower
is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise
eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and
islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls."
- John Muir


Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my "Travel Two" overflow page...


Roger J. Wendell - Urumqi, Xinjiang, China - 2011
Here's me (the one with grey in his beard) visiting the Agricultural University at Urumqi, Xinjiang, China
"Rushing around and traveling without connecting can put us in danger of treating people and cultures like commodities that exist solely for our consumption and entertainment. It helps to stay humble and remember that everyone and every culture has something to teach us, even if it's unpleasant."

- Amie Thao
Cycling to Connect
Adventure Cyclist, April 2013
pp. 27-29


"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."
- Benjamin Disraeli
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows
- George Harrison, Inner Light
"Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter."
- John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)


"To travel best is to be of the sportsmen of the road. To take a chance, and win; to feel the glow of muscles too long unused; to sleep on the ground at night and find it soft; to eat, not because it is time to eat, but because one's body is clamoring for food; to drink where every stream and river is pure and cold; to get close to the earth and see the stars - this is to travel."
- Mary Roberts Rinehart
from Through Glacier Park in 1915



New Mexico Highway 406 by Roger Wendell - 05-14-2006
Northeastern New Mexico
I've never thought of myself as any kind of travel expert. In fact, as I entered my 40s, my reluctance to travel grew stronger as I wanted to spend more time with my wife, children and family. Nevertheless, despite some serious bouts with "homesickness" I seemed to not only find myself in various corners of the globe, but spending lots of time there as well!

Anyway, since I'm not a guide or travel expert this page is mostly for me and my memories. If you need serious information for any destination or activity I suggest you look elsewhere, around the Internet, as the stuff I put here is all just for fun...

However, I do have one serious recommendation for anyone traveling - purchase travel insurance!!! In 2005 my ex and I took a long road trip through Australia. After eight days of some great fun she severely broke her ankle and had to be flown back to the United States by the most direct means (and in a way that would allow her to keep her leg elevated). So, on a Friday morning we were able to purchase two tickets, one business class for $7,000 USD, and one economy class (for me) for $5,000 USD - both for departure that evening. [This was at a time when our roundtrip airfare from Denver to Australia was $1,800 USD]

$12,000 USD for airfare, and thousands of Australian dollars for their medical care and other expenses, would be much more than we could ever have afforded on our own. So, take my advice, buy travel insurance - we did, and it paid for nearly every related expense!

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado

Okay, although I don't like making commercial recommendations many travelers have asked me which insurance agent treated my ex and I so well on that fateful trip to Australia back in '05 - it was STA Travel with Berkeley Care as the underwriter at that time. Although I, myself, wouldn't hesitate to use either again I still recommend you do your own research to find a policy that works best for you!

Oh, and one more thing, Money! As much as we may enjoy traveling it more often than not requires money. I know, people have written me suggesting they've traveled Europe on ten dollars per day or gotten by in South America for a dollar a day, etc. Nevertheless, the fact remains that it takes a certain amount of money to pay for your passport, obtain a visa, purchase transportation, and then come up with enough cash to cover food and lodging once you're "there."

So, most of us reading (and creating!) these kinds of travel web pages are very lucky in that we've met our basic survival needs and can afford to explore other places while our brothers and sisters, in other lands, are struggling just to find their next meal.

Luckily I, myself, have had enough money to pay for a guide, travel service, or nice hotel at times. At other times in my life I've been so poor I've had to hitchhike, sleep on the ground alongside some forgotten road, or simply forego ANY travel. Nevertheless, I count myself as being very fortunate to have had the luxury of traveling for pleasure. For, the most important things in life are your health, a place to live, food to eat, and a family to love - traveling for pleasure is one of those little "extras" in life that gives you a few more memories and something to brag about on a web page - nothing more!

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado - Summer '07


Travel Logo
My List So Far:

Many of the places I've visited, experienced, and enjoyed!

changing Flags
United States: I've been to 'em all (including Guam, D.C., and CNMI) and have lived (for extended periods of time, as measured in months and years) in California, Nevada, Hawai'i, Maryland, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and, of course, Colorado - the one place I've called home since 1972. Oh, and I've also climbed, hiked, and walked to the top of over half the state highpoints as well!

changing Flags
Canada: I've driven the length of Canada a couple of times and just love it there! I've been to most of the provinces, including the Maritimes, and have camped all over British Columbia, Alberta and Québec.

changing Flags
Mexico and Central America: I've been visiting Mexico, regularly, since 1965. I don't speak a lick of Spanish (I studied the Russian language in college) but seem to get by pretty well as their people have always been so kind to me. I've driven the length of Mexico, starting in Denver, to get to Guatemala and back again (6,000 miles, roundtrip). So, I think I've spent a little time in nearly every Mexican State [The country's name, that most North Americans aren't aware of, is Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United Mexican States)] and have found each to be special in its own way. I've also stopped, briefly, in Panama City but hope to get back for a closer look some day. However, I've had a really good look at Belize and have spent some time on Roatan Island in Honduras.

changing Flags
Europe: I've seen a lot of the United Kingdom (Wales, Scotland, and England) along with Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy. I've also had some great one day and overnight trips to Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourgh, Liechtenstein, and the Netherlands. I hope to see more of the continent as time and money permit!

changing Flags Africa: Got a pretty good look at Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, witha couple of brief layovers at Dakar, Senegal.

changing Flags Asia: I've traveled extensively throughout Tibet, Macau, Hong Kong, China, the Silk Road, and India. I've had wonderful experiences visiting my son in Japan as well!

changing Flags Southeast Asia: I've traveled extensively throughout Malaysia (including Borneo) and Thailand in addition to some brief explorations in Burma (Myanmar) and Laos.

changing Flags
South America: Made some brief airplane stops in Peru and Chile but got a real good look at Argentina while on separate climbing and sightseeing trips. Took a separate trip to Amazonia and Ecuador over the Christmas holiday of 2005/06 and visited Iguazu Falls in Brazil in February 2011. In June, 2013 got a good look at the Cordillera Real mountain range and Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.

changing Flags
Oceania: In 2013 I enjoyed a 4,351 kilometre (2,703 mile) drive through the North and South Island of New Zealand. A few years earlier, I experienced a 5,800 kilometre (3,600 mile) drive through western Australia despite my ex breaking her leg in the middle of our trip! Neverthless, before her accident we fell in love with Australia's exotic scenery, really wide open spaces, and big sky (much bigger, in fact, than the skies of Texas and Montana combined!!)!

changing Flags
Antarctica: In early 2011 I had the privilege of making six different landings along Graham Land (the Peninsula) and adjacent islands. The world can be proud of the Antarctic Treaty System - hopefully it will stay intact in perpetuity!

changing Flags
Russia: In late summer 2011 I joined Mike Miller's CMC group exploration of the "Land of Fire and Ice" on the Kamchatka Peninsula. In addition to all the bubbling mud-pots, fumaroles, and sulfur clouds I also got to experience Moscow in depth for a few days on my way home.

(Click on any of this page's "thumbnail" image for a larger view)

Passport Pages
Pages from my Passport...
Roger J. Wendell's International Driving Permit - October 2006
International Driving Permit




"Apparently, short of setting fire to a forest, flying is the single worst
 thing an ordinary individual can do to cause climate-change."
             - Lisa Guy in the 2009 documentary, The Age of Stupid
TSA Full Body Scan - 2010
TSA body scan
Roger's Rant:
Self-loading cargo and the misery
of being an airline passenger
(Note: "Self-loading cargo" is derogatory term used by airline personnel for any
 passengers who didn't spend a few extra thousand dollars on a First Class seat...)
It's no secret that air travel has become a lot less fun since 9-11. Most of us remember the days when you could chat with a pilot, use sewing scissors at your seat, or even do stretching exercises at the rear of the cabin. Now, of course, we're packed in like sardines, searched like convicts, herded about like cattle, and charged exorbitant prices for everything from a soggy sandwich and a soft drink to extra leg room and checked luggage. Oh, and don't forget all the airline mergers that had been completed by the end of 2013 - a sure formula for ensuring prices will always rise as competition evaporates!

However, maybe the "good old days" of air travel weren't that great either - remember when each and every flight allowed, and even encouraged, smoking??!! Boy, big business and capitalism didn't seem to have our health and comfort in mind until Uncle Sam stepped in. And, even without the smoking it took years for airlines to cleanup cabin air - they seemed to pride themselves on re-circulating filth no matter how sick it made their passengers and customers feel. Oh, I might mention that the FAA, internally, never seemed to care too much about the smoking issue either. During the 80s I was a student at their Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, in Oklahoma, where they allowed instructors and students to smoke in the classroom - and these were three month sessions!

Let's not forget all of those airlines who "expire" your frequent flyer miles! Even as I write this in early '07, some major airlines have announced reducing time-lines to as little as 18 months! And, the meal situation only worsens with time - not only has the food been historically horrible but they're now starting to charge $5 USD for a simple lunch box or simply not provide any food at all. In 2006 I started to notice people bringing aboard sack lunches, half-eaten McDonald's sandwiches, and over-priced airport pizza because their seven hour flight to Honolulu wanted to charge $5 for a wet sandwich and a cup of pudding the size of a thimble! Actually, it wouldn't hurt me (especially!) to miss a meal or two except the terrorist scare of '06 wouldn't allow us to bring liquids aboard! Later, of course, the TSA agreed that passengers could purchase $4.00 sodas along the concourse as long as they hadn't attempted to bring their own liquid refreshments through the security point...

Anyway, as I suggested earlier, aircraft seating has always been pretty pathetic unless you had a few extra thousand dollars or Euros necessary for a first-class seat to London, Sydney or Tokyo. And, of course, the only seat that ever seems to be available is the dreaded middle one unless you happen to know the reservation agent or pilot! Oh, and don't even dream of anything other than the middle seat if you booked your flight through Travelocity, Orbitz, HotDeals or TripManager as there must be some international law allowing them to only bulk purchase middle seats - nothing else! Flying with a friend, loved one or family member and want to sit next to them? Dream on! I can't tell you how many flights I've been on where couples have had to semaphore across isles and rows of seats for the most basic of communication exchanges - ramp agents and reservationists having told them, before the flight, that there was just no way they could be seated together on this flight!

If the in-flight seating isn't bad enough, have you ever had to wait any length of time for a flight that was delayed due to bad weather, mechanical problems, or just plain old incompetence? Airport terminal seating is a bad as it gets - they've perfectly engineered concourse chairs so that there's no way to lay down, stretch out, or get comfortable while waiting that four or six hours for the next flight. People, including me, have had to curl up like pill-bugs (small terrestrial isopods) on worn carpeting and tile floors for the chance at 15 minutes of sleep before being stepped on or kicked. Okay, I'm sure there isn't an airport manager on the planet who wants his terminal lined with beds and looking like a youth hostel or boarding house. Still, they could do something with those horrible seats, couldn't they?!*

Which airports and airlines are to blame? Well, in my experience it's been nearly all of them. Although I've tried to avoid flying I easily logged over a half million miles by the time I'd reached middle age and was making this web page entry (not many miles by most standards but certainly a lot for somebody who prefers hiking over fine dining and shopping malls!). Further below I've posted a partial list of the airlines and airports I've experienced over the years (some were good, some were very bad - I'll let you research that part for yourself...) but I'm still committed to avoiding air travel whenever possible!

- Roger J. Wendell
(First posted in 2007 with a slight update at the
end of 2013 and then again at the end of 2014...)
* Yes, I've experienced my fair-share of airline airport lounges and must admit they're very comfortable!
   However, are they really worth the price of admission (accumulated miles, credit card points, or outright
   purchases)? Nevertheless, I must take this opportunity to applaud Bangkok Airways for their free "botique"
   lounge in Chiang Mai as it was nearly as comfortable any "big" airline lounge yet was free-of-charge in 2014!


My Airline Experience:
(airlines I've been a passenger on)

Tami Wendell Island Hopping in Hawai'i - February 2007
Island hopping on a small plane...
Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Aerolíneas Argentinas, AirAsia (yes, it's one word...), Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Aloha Airlines, American Airlines, ANA (All Nipon Airways), Bangkok Airways, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cape Air (Hyannis Air Service, Inc), China Xinjiang Airlines, Compass Airlines, Continental Airlines (decades before their merger with United), Delta, Frontier (both the old and new one), GoJet Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Island Air, Jet Airways (India), Lan Argentina, Lan Chile, Lufthansa, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Qantas, SFO Helicopter Airlines (San Francisco and Oakland Helicopter Airlines), South African Airways, Southwest Airlines, Star Marinas Air, Inc., Ted Airline, United Airlines (decades before their merger with Continental), US Airways, and Wilderness Air (previously Sefofane Air Charters).

My Airport (and Airstrip!) Experience:
(places I've either flown into or out of)

  1. Albuquerque (New Mexico)
  2. Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  3. Anchorage (Alaska - Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport)
  4. Auckland Airport (New Zealand)
  5. Bangkok Internationa Airport (Suvarnabhumi Airport)
  6. Beijing (China)
  7. Brussels (Belgium)
  8. Buckley ANGB (Aurora, Colorado)
  9. Buenos Aires - Ministro Pistarini International Airport
  10. "Ezeiza" (Argentina)
  11. Buenos Aires - Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport (Argentina)
  12. Chengdu (China)
  13. Chiang Mai International Airport (Thailand)
  14. Chicago (Illinois)
  15. Colorado Air and Space Port (formerly known as Front Range Airport
  16. Colorado Springs (Colorado)
  17. Christchurch International Airport (New Zealand)
  18. Dallas-Fort Worth (Texas)
  19. Darwin (Australia)
  20. Denver (both the old Stapelton Airport and the newer Denver International), Colorado
  21. El Calafate (Argentina)
  22. Geneva (Switzerland)
  23. Guam International Airport (Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport)
  24. Hwange Airstript, Hawange National Park (Zimbabwe - formerly Wankie Game Reserve)
  25. Hilo (Hawai'i)
  26. Hong Kong International Airport
  27. Honolulu (Hawai'i)
  28. Houston International Airport (Texas)
  29. Iguazu (Argentina)
  30. Indira Gandhi (India)
  1. Johannesburg (South Africa - O.R. Tambo International Airport)
  2. Kahului (Kona, Hawai'i)
  3. Kansas City (Missouri)
  4. Kasane Airport (Botswana)
  5. Khajuraho (India)
  6. Kiliminjaro (Tanzania)
  7. Kota Kinabalu International Airport (Malaysia)
  8. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Malaysia)
  9. Las Vegas (McCarran International Airport)
  10. Lhasa (Tibet)
  11. La Paz - Aeropuerto Internacional El Alto (Bolivia)
  12. Lima (Peru - Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez)
  13. Livingstone (Zambia - Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport)
  14. London (Heathrow)
  15. Los Angeles (LAX), Lufupa Airstrip (Zambia)
  16. Memphis (Tennessee)
  17. Mendoza (Argentina)
  18. Melbourne (Tullamarine Airport, Australia)
  19. Mexico City (MEX - Benito Juárez International Airport)
  20. Miamia International Airport (Dade County, Florida)
  21. Minneapolis-St Paul (Minnesota)
  22. Monterey Peninsula Airport (California)
  23. Moscow (Russia - Sheremetyevo International Airport)
  24. Munich (Germany - Franz Josef Strauss)
  25. Newark Liberty International Airport (New Jersey)
  26. New Dehli (India - Indira Gandhi International Airport)
  27. New York (John F. Kennedy International Airport)
  28. Nirobi (Kenya), Oakland (California)
  29. Okavango Delta Airstrip (Botswana)
  30. Oklahoma City (Oklahoma)
  1. Omaha (Nebraska - Eppley Field)
  2. Ontario (California), Panama City (Panama)
  3. Perth Airport (Australia)
  4. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (Russia - Yelizovo Airport)
  5. Phoenix Sky Harbor International (Arizona)
  6. Portland (Oregon)
  7. Reno-Tahoe (Nevada)
  8. Quito (Ecuador)
  9. Saipan International Airport (Francisco C. Ada International Airport)
  10. San Antonio (Texas)
  11. San Diego (California)
  12. San Francisco (California)
  13. San Jose International Airport (California)
  14. Santa Cruz de la Sierra - Viru Viru International Airport (Bolivia)
  15. Seattle (Washington)
  16. Sydney (Australia)
  17. Tampa-St Pete (Florida)
  18. Tinian International Airport (West Tinian Airport)
  19. Tokyo (Narita International Airport, Japan)
  20. Toronto Pearson International Airport (Ontario, Canada)
  21. Travis AFB (California)
  22. Tucson (Arizona)
  23. Urimuchi (East Turkestan)
  24. Ushuaia (Argentina)
  25. Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada)
  26. Varanasi (India)
  27. Victoria Falls Airport (Zimbabwe)
  28. Washington DC (both Dulles and Reagan numerous times...)
  29. Next up??


So, what's the verdict after being screwed by the airlines for so long?

Jet Contrail Over Mancos Colorado 03-17-2007
Don't Fly!
But, as I explained earlier, I've had a pretty tough time avoiding air travel - especially for business trips and vacation destinations outside of North America. So, like most everyone else, I'll continue to demean myself with crowded, unhealthy, wasteful, polluting, and dangerous flying when other alternatives are scarce...
Wing on a Ted flight from Tampa to Denver - 08-25-2006 As far as post-911 security goes I've had a particularly difficult time for reasons unknown to me (although I have my suspicions...); In 2004, while en route Argentina the entire aircraft was stopped on the Los Angeles tarmac until they could find Air Marshals to escort me and a fellow passenger from Nepal off the plane for interrogation. Seems suspicions were raised when I filmed the gentleman sitting next to me with his camcorder for the benefit of his friends and family back in Nepal (who had never seen the inside of aircraft before). It's not that photography is forbidden inside an airplane (it's not) but a crew member thought it suspicious that a heavily bearded American (me) was photographing a very shy dark-skinned person (the guy sitting next to me from Nepal). Anyway, the Air Marshals had their way with us for nearly half an hour and then released us just in time so that my seat-mate could miss his flight home to Nepal. Luckily I had at least another ten minutes before missing my connection to Argentina...
Cabin on a Ted flight from Tampa to Denver - 08-25-2006 In 2005 I learned why certain airline tickets have "SSSS" printed across them (Okay, I'm a little slow when it comes to these things!)) - If you look carefully at my airline ticket (# 1, below) you'll see the letter "S" repeated four times in two different locations on the card. This means that I was "randomly" selected for an extra special screening before boarding the plane. In this case something went wrong as nothing had been done to me until I was physically boarding the plane at the American Airlines gate in Los Angeles. Then, in front of everyone (of course), TSA had me "spread-eagle" for a complete pat-down search that included removing my shoes and tearing apart my carry-on luggage. So much for any privacy rights!


Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here to register your pledge not to fly!


Looking down from a plane:

Motherboard "From my airplane window seat the city appeared like a computer motherboard, a chaotic network of lights and wires, all organized on a grid. The plane descended, and the motherboard slowly transformed - high-rise hotels, the lights of moving traffic, billboards, and lit green highway signs. The mechanical shifting noise of the landing gear, that rush of approaching ground a jolting reminder of the speed with which we had just traveled, and then the touchdown of tires. What I had planned as a week's worth of travel had just been reduced to hours."
- Daryl Farmer in his book,
Bicycling beyond the Divide
(Two Journeys into the West), p. 235


Air Travel Can Be Dangerous!

First in Fligh Certificate of Roger J. Wendell - 10-15-1997
My ride on a 1941 UPF-7 Waco...
April 03, 2011 - Widespread cracking found where a hole opened up on a Southwest jet at 11,000 metres (36,000 feet) over Arizona two days ago. Also on this date French investigators announced they had found pieces of the Air France jet that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, killing all 228 people on board - still no idea what caused the crash as the two flight recorders haven't been found yet...




Strange tags, signs, flyers, and warnings:

Roger Wendell's Airline Ticket Market for Random Search and Sreening - November 2005
Roger Wendell's Panama Baggage Tag - January 2006
2. Panama Baggage Tag
Roger Wendell's TSA Baggage Approval Tag - January 2006
3. TSA tag
Roger Wendell's TSA Baggage Search Tag - February 2006
4. TSA tag
Roger Wendell's lost luggage Tag - June 10, 2007
5. Lost luggage...
Roger Wendell's Excess Baggage Ticket - 03-03-2007
6. Excess Baggage
Lufthansa Vegetarian Meal - 2007
7. Vegetarian meal
United Airline Premier Status for Roger J. Wendell - 2008
8. Premier means I fly too much!!
United Airline Thank You Note Flight 1207 From OKC to DIA - 07-19-2008
9. A very nice Thank You note
Airport Frisking Booth, Khajuraho, India - 12-04-2008
10. Frisking booth, India

  1. SSSS - who knows what it stands for other than you'd better be ready for some extra special searches and questioning!
  2. (The Panama Luggage Tag) is in here only because it's a reminder (to me at least) how bizarre all this searching and snooping has become. In this case I was traveling from Quito to Denver with intermediate stops in Panama City and Houston. I didn't leave the airport (or terminal), in Panama City, but was again searched as I was re-boarding the same flight for Houston! I suppose all of this has some purpose - maybe angering passengers enough (like me!) that they'll create a web page complaining about it to scare off terrorists or something? Who knows...
  3. A TSA approval tag? Yet another examples of the numerous tags, stickers and flyers I find attached to, or stuffed inside, my luggage when I get home after a flight...
  4. Okay, maybe my luggage being a complete mess wasn't notice enough that the government took a look! This little TSA tag confirms they've dug through your underwear, cheap sunglasses, and back issues Vogue in their search for nuclear weapons and ACLU membership cards...
  5. In June, 2007 I was on business in Tucson, Arizona. I arrived on time but my luggage didn't! My luggage was delivered to my hotel, the next day, with the excuse that security screening had delayed certain pieces of luggage out of Denver. However, I am an expert on screened luggage since my bags have been searched countless times I can't help notice when they've been tampered with. In this case there was no evidence of a search or opening...
  6. Isn't this special?! Return home with a few souveniers or extra paperwork from your job assignment and you get charged an extra $50!!
  7. Actually, since at least the late 80s it was pretty easy to receive a vegetarian meal on most arilines. But, of course, by the mid 2000s meals were quickly disappearing from most flights - except the real long ones...
  8. Okay, gaining "premier" status isn't that tough but it's still pretty good proof that I've spent too much time in the air. But, I'll have to admit that United (due to my premier status) gives me an occasional upgrade that makes the flight a little more bearable...
  9. Okay, a shameless plug for United - they've been treating me really well, lately, and left this thank you note on my armrest after I fell asleep on a flight from Oklahoma City to Denver!
  10. Airport "frisking booth" Khajuraho, India




TSA Logo TSA stands for "Transportation Security Administration" and is a government agency that was created by the Bush Administration shortly after the 9-11 attacks. Unfortunately, for TSA employees, the government (at that time) ensured they would be exempt from many of the work place protections most of us take for granted (early newspaper reports suggested TSA employees were required to attend off-the-clock briefings, didn't receive training pay, were forbidden to join unions, etc. [ref: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 01-15-2003]). Unfortunately, for us (the traveling public), employee discontent at the TSA will only make uncomfortable and time-delaying encounters that much more frequent...


Massive TSA Security Breach As Agency Gives Away Its Secrets
Online Posting Reveals a "How To" for Terrorists to Get Through Airport Security
by Brian Ross and Matt Hosford, ABCNews.go.com (December 8, 2009)

"In a massive security breach, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inadvertently posted online its airport screening procedures manual, including some of the most closely guarded secrets regarding special rules for diplomats and CIA and law enforcement officers."

"Document mistakenly posted online reveals agency's top screening secrets.

"The most sensitive parts of the 93-page Standard Operating Procedures manual were apparently redacted in a way that computer savvy individuals easily overcame.

"The document shows sample CIA, Congressional and law enforcement credentials which experts say would make it easy for terrorists to duplicate.

"The improperly redacted areas indicate that only 20 percent of checked bags are to be hand searched for explosives and reveal in detail the limitations of x-ray screening machines."


Denver TSA Quick Return Card - 08-20-2006 On August 20, 2006 I was flying from Denver to Tampa, Florida - less than two weeks after the British had foiled a plot to bring liquid explosives aboard a transatlantic flight. In response, cologne, mouthwash, lotions and all other liquids were banned in carry-on luggage worldwide. Although I was aware of the ban it didn't occur to me that it would be prohibited to bring liquids onto the concourse since they were already being sold there! So, I went through the initial security screening, at the entrance to the concourse, and the TSA agents discovered the small bottle of fruit juice I was carrying in my daypack.

They were very understanding, as this had been happening to hundreds of passengers before me, and allowed me to leave the security area to drink the juice (or they would have thrown it away right there at the X-ray machine!). I was given this orange card so as to avoid additional waiting once I returned to the screening area. Not a bad experience but certainly illustrative of how sensitive their X-ray equipment is!


NJ airport cameras faulty during security breach
China Daily, updated: 2010-01-06 10:25

"NEWARK, N.J.: Federal agents weren't able to immediately retrieve surveillance images of a man who breached security at Newark Liberty International Airport because a camera system wasn't working properly."

"John Kelly, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman, said the camera at a security checkpoint was streaming live images but wasn't recording them.

"That made it impossible for Transportation Security Administration personnel to check an image of a man seen walking in through an exit door Sunday evening until it could view tapes from a nearby Continental Airlines surveillance camera.

"It was not known how long the camera at the TSA security checkpoint had stopped storing footage because archived images are only retrieved if an incident has occurred or is suspected, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said Tuesday. According to Davis, TSA will check the cameras' archiving daily.

"The cameras were installed by the Port Authority about two years ago, and the agency maintains and operates them.

"The incident shut down an entire terminal at the airport and stopped flights for six hours. The man, who has not been identified or located, was seen on a surveillance camera image leaving the terminal about 20 minutes after the security breach."




Baggage Blues

Overweight Luggage My mistake! Okay, there have been a few times when I've over-stuffed my luggage with too much junk - too many electronic gadgets, too much clothing, or too many souvenirs. Not only does the bag become too difficult for me to carry but it's gotta be really tough for the ramp agents and ground crew who have to handle it as well. So, the airlines don't hesitate to put this little tag on every piece of luggage that could do possible harm to their personnel. However, before you start feeling too sorry for the airlines you need to know these few extra pounds are charged many tens of dollars extra to my already purchased ticket! [and, of course, by mid-2008 airlines were devising all kinds of ways to charge extra for baggage - ostensibly to offset the huge increase in fuel prices...]


Roger Wendell's Delayed Baggage Report at Tucson, Arizona - 06-09-2007
Delayed Baggage Report
Bummed Out
In Baggage Claim

The incidence of lost luggage is up dramatically.
Here's how to speed recovery. By Lauren Young
BusinessWeek, April 23, 2007, p. 102

"You know your trip is in trouble when only a trickle of suitcases from your flight arrives in baggage claim. Then the conveyor belt halts, never to start up again."

"Short of not checking your luggage in the first place, you can't do much to prevent it from going missing. However, you can take steps both before you board and after you find yourself bagless to improve the chances of recovery."




Roger's Remedy: What are the best ways to travel?

The main idea, here, is that there are options to flying and other wasteful forms of transportation. It's obvious we can still have fun see new and exciting places without burning up tons of fuel or polluting our environment. Let's give it a try!

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado (first submitted February '07)





Warning Ticket from the Colorado State Patrol - 02-12-2010
I-70 Warning
Okay, I'll admit it! As much as I love to save fuel and get exercise I've also enjoyed the grand adventure of a road trip! Even at age 16 (1970), having just received my driver's license, my parents allowed me to drive (their car!) the length of the southern California desert and across state lines. As time went on I drove all over Canada, Mexico, and huge portions of nearly every U.S. state. Problem is, as friends and family will attest, I received more traffic tickets (always for speeding) than anyone I've ever met. Luckily most of 'em didn't go against my driving record as I "earned" them in other states and countries. And, even more lucky, as I approached age 50 officers seemed less inclined to give me "real" tickets - just a lot of verbal and written warnings with amazed looks that somebody twice their age could be in such a hurry! A disclaimer, of course, is that folks (including me) really need to obey traffic laws because other people can be hurt beside just us. Nevertheless, thank you Officer #221 in Globe, Arizona for the warning ticket (photo below) you wrote me that warm spring evening in June '07 - of course the thorough car search wasn't much fun but it sure beat paying a fine!! Oh, and a big thanks to officer #3272 for the warning he gave me as I was speeding down Interstate 70 back to Denver from business in Grand Junction. I was in a 55 mph zone (88 km/h) when the officer stopped me and asked how fast I thought I was going. I replied that I was pretty sure it was around 78 mph (125 km/h) and said that matched his radar reading and that he appreciated my honesty - viola, another warning was issued!
Warning Ticket from Globe, Arizona - 06-14-2007
Globe, Arizona warning ticket




I use this list as a reminder of things I should be bring or do most trips:
(Remember, this list is just to jog my own memory - you will
  probably need a lot of other things besides what I've listed here!
  Also, my Gear page lists a lot of outdoor stuff you might need...)

Travel Checklist of Roger J. Wendell
  • Passport/Visa/and a second form of identification
  • Credit Cards (let them know you're leaving your state/country) and cash
  • Hidden money belt or under-the-shirt passport/cash carrier
  • Copies of passport and credit cards in a separate place or available online somewhere
  • Trip insurance/notify family, friends, and neighbors of itinerary and return date
  • Cell phone/charger/phone calling card
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste/floss/mouthwash/bite-guard/toothpicks
  • Medications
  • Other personal hygiene items: razor/shaving cream/feminine supplies/shampoo/soap/Q-tips/small first aid kit
  • Mountaineer's headlamp (yes, even if I'm just on a plane ride or cruise!)
  • Eyeglasses/contacts/Sunglasses/lens cleaner
  • Book/diary/paper/pens/pencils
  • Wire ties/plastic bags
  • Ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones
  • GPS (for my Waypoints page and personal navigation)/Avalanche beacon/Personal Locator Beacon (ELT)
  • Camera/extra memory cards/IPOD/laptop/IPAD/PDA/other electronic gadgets
  • Extra batteries/charger
  • International electrical adapter
  • Winter clothing (if needed)/warm hat/gloves/boots
  • Summer clothing (if needed)/shorts/sun hat/sun screen/sandals
  • Exercise clothing/jogging shoes/swimwear
  • Water bottle
  • Mesh laundry bag(s)/towel/wash cloth/bandanas




Passport Cover Links:
  1. 12ers
  2. 13ers
  3. 14ers
  4. Africa (Eastern) - Kenya, Tanzania, and my Kilimanjaro climb
  5. Africa (Southern) - Our trip through Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  6. AIARE - The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education
  7. Airlines of the World
  8. Alpine Resuce Team - Evergreen, Colorado
  9. Amazonia
  10. American Avalanche Association
  11. Antarctica
  12. Argentina and Brazil
  13. Australia Main Page and Australia Two Page
  14. Camping
  15. China
  16. CIA World Factbook on the World
  17. Climbing
  18. Climbing Photos
  19. CMC
  20. Colorado Avalanche Information Center
  21. Colorado Fourteener Iniative - A Partnership for Preservation
  22. CORSAR - Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card
  23. COtrip - Colorado Road Conitions
  24. Couch Surfing - connect with new friends all around the world
  25. Currency Converter
  26. Cycling
  27. Eco Volunteer travel with a purpose
  28. Electricy Standards around the world
  29. Ecuador
  30. France
  31. Gear - Stuff for the Backcountry...
  32. Hawai'i
  1. Hiking
  2. India
  3. India Two (overflow)
  4. Infiltration - Going places you're not supposed to!
  5. InsureMyTrip - Travel insurance quotes
  6. Ireland
  7. Japan
  8. Leave No Trace - Center for Outdoor Ethics
  9. ORV - the Off-road Vehicle menace
  10. Pikes Peak
  11. Russia
  12. San Francsico
  13. Silk Road
  14. Skiing - in the backcountry!
  15. Sleeping in Airports - a budget traveller's guide
  16. STA Travel - Student and Youth Travel
  17. Survival in the backcountry
  18. Tami's Broken Leg - in Australia
  19. Ten Essentials - Don't leave home without 'em!
  20. Tibet
  21. ToursByLocals.com
  22. Trail Journals
  23. Transportation
  24. Travel Guard - Travel Insurance
  25. Travel Two
  26. United Kingdom - England
  27. United Kingdom - Wales and Scotland
  28. U.S. Department of State - Travel information and consular affairs
  29. VisaHQ - online visa applications
  30. Walking softly in the backcountry
  31. Warm Showers - a community for touring cyclists and hosts
  32. Waypoints




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