Tech Travels

Working Anywhere


Monday was Labor Day here in the US of A. It’s a day that we take off work to celebrate…working. It also marks the unofficial end of summer. School is back in session. The days are getting shorter and cooler. Football season has started. Yet, for some, a holiday doesn’t mean no work. Take, for instance, Mrs. engineerd™.

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Free Range Technology, Tech Travels

This Is A Truck And A Home

It seems to be Truck Tuesday here on the Toasters, so I’m sharing with you one of the coolest truck-based pieces of awesome I’ve seen all week. This last weekend in Prescott, AZ was the annual Overland Expo. Overland enthusiasts from around the world gather to gaze upon the latest and greatest in […]

Tech Travels

1910s Recreational Vehicle

Over on our sister site, Hooniverse, they asked about doing a road trip on a motorcycle today. That got me to thinking. A road trip on a motorcycle would most certainly involve staying in hotels and/or camping. Hence, the advent of the recreational vehicle. You take your accommodations on your journey! In the […]

Tech Travels

Overland by Rail

Australia LIV

Crossing the Australian Outback by car is not for the faint of heart. Soaring temperatures, few supply points, and unpaved roads conspire to keep all but the most rugged and ready vehicles and people out of Australia’s interior. Normally, people crossing from one side of Oz to the other will fly, take the train, or use one of the national highways that, generally, follow the coast. One adventurer and photographer has found another way. Hit the jump for video.

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Tech Travels

Ridin’ the Rails

When your country spans an entire continent, as does the US and Canada, rail travel is destined to play a major role in its development and growth. Until the mid-1800s, traveling west was a long term and risky proposal. With the intercontinental railroad and advances in steam locomotives the prospect of going west became less and less daunting. Soon, the entire continent was accessible by rail and car. The jet age seemed to be the death knell of rail travel, and it very nearly has been. However, Amtrak and Via Rail both still offer rail service that is at once modern and classic.

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Tech Travels

The Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum

The pencil sharpener is a tool. However, some have taken to making this simple blade used to safely remove the wood around a pencil’s graphite core and trim that core into a sharp tip useful for writing and turning it into art. Pencil sharpeners can be found surrounded by everything from superheroes to vehicles.

For Christmas in 1989, Paul Johnson’s wife gave him two metal car pencil sharpeners. The recent retiree was searching for a hobby, and this propelled him into the world of pencil sharpener collecting. At his death in 2010, he had collected over 3,000 pencil sharpeners. Recently, his wife and the Hocking Hills Ohio Visitor Center opened a special building just to house his collection. I was honored to visit there while camping in the Hocking Hills last weekend. It’s an impressive collection. Hit the jump for more photos. I hope they do it justice.
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Tech Travels

The Buzludzha has Landed

Ideology and technology have oft collided to create monuments of extravagant scale. If the tech out lives the ideals, what remains may serve as a shrine of a different sort, a reminder of a time gone by, shrouded by mystery.

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Tech Travels

Cross Country Comfort

This last weekend I hopped in my Ford and went for a little drive. We drove from Detroit to the Twin Cities area.

A few things struck me on this drive. First, a 2008 Ford Mustang is actually a very comfortable cross country cruiser. You would think it would be overly cramped, but with a little planning and a wife that understands she can’t have her entire shoe collection with us, it’s not bad at all.

More importantly, the interstate system is quite an amazing feat. Originally conceived in the 1920s, it was championed by the carmakers and President Eisenhower. Carmakers saw a benefit in encouraging people to get out and see America in their products. Ike saw the national defense aspect of an interconnected system of roads. The idea was to have a system of roads that rivaled the German Autobahn, and allowed personal and commercial transportation easy and fast access to every corner of the country.
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Tech Travels

The Shortest Distance

They say the shortest distance between two points is in a straight line. But what happens when that straight line is up the side of a giant hill? A road would have to zig zag back and forth. Not short. A road straight up the hill would be too steep for anything with less than 300 hp, and wouldn’t be ADA compliant. Catapults would be cool, but someone might bruise their head and sue.

Enter the funicular railway.
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Tech Travels, The Style of Technology

Not Just Art: The Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower 4

Built between 1887 and 1889 for the World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower was a source of great controversy when it first opened. The arts community in Paris abhorred it. They wrote angry letters to the local newspapers decrying the hideous structure taking shape in the heart of their beloved city. In one letter a group of artists wrote,

“And during twenty years we shall see, stretching over the entire city, still thrilling with the genius of so many centuries, we shall see stretching out like a black blot the odious shadow of the odious column built up of riveted iron plates.” (Watson, William. Paris Universal Exposition: Civil Engineering, Public Works, and Architecture (Washington: Government Printing office, 1892), 833.)

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