StrongBags Vortex 2 Luggage Review

StrongBagVortex2

I am a frequent flyer with United Platinum 1K status which means I’ve flown over 100,000 miles in the past year alone. I’ve flown almost 400 segments in the last ten years and I have spent over 850 nights in various Marriott hotels. Why the stats? Because I’ve been on a lot of business trips and I’ve owned a single suitcase for the majority of them. That bag is a StrongBags Vortex 2 Flight Crew Luggage Roller that I have had for four years (since 2012) and I’m here to give it a real “I’ve hauled it around the world” review.  (more…)

Driving to Shillelagh to buy a Shillelagh

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Having an Irish heritage, I remember seeing odd knobby-ended walking sticks in the corners of many houses as a kid. These sticks were commonly called Shillelaghs in my experience, though I’ve since learned that Shillelagh is a town and the walking sticks are properly called Shillelagh Sticks.

If you asked the homeowner about the stick, they would usually just reply with either, “Oh that? That’s just my old walking stick.”, or simply, “That’s my Shillelagh.” Both statements belie the simple truth, however, and that truth is that these sticks are first and foremost weapons. To be accurate, the original Shillelagh Sticks were shorter and more like clubs or cudgels, but when England outlawed them, the Irish lengthened them so that they could also be used as walking sticks, thus subverting the oppressive English law while allowing the weapons to be retained. Knowing this, I had to have one. Getting a real one, though, would prove a little more complicated than I’d anticipated.  (more…)

Travel Tips from a Frequent Flyer

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I fly a lot. I once flew 110 times which is more than twice a week for an entire year. I’ve flown on every conceivable type of plane, been delayed more ways than you can imagine, been canceled, been rerouted, had my luggage lost, had my property stolen, been detained by customs in two countries, been upgraded, downgraded, and everything in between.

I’ve been in planes during emergency landings with firetrucks zooming along beside us as we landed. I’ve been in aborted takeoffs, aborted landings, terrifying turbulence, near misses, and even managed to have a crazy passenger escorted off the plane in handcuffs when we landed. I’ve seen it all. Here are my tips. (more…)

Teller Signed my Lemon

Being in New York City for work from time to time, I’ve often taken advantage of the ability to score great seats for Broadway shows when buying only one, and this time I scored a seat in the front row of the center orchestra, the day after Penn & Teller on Broadway opened at the Marquis Theater in Times Square. Though I assumed I’d have a good time, my evening turned into an unexpected tale of the kind I like most: one that is fun, and just a little bit left of normal. (more…)

The Mount Washington Auto Road

If you live anywhere in the northeastern United States, then you’ve probably seen the bumper sticker that proudly proclaims,This car climbed Mt. Washington. As a boy who spent a week every summer in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the ubiquitous bumper sticker seemed to be a badge of honor. Mount Washington is the tallest peak in the northeast after all, so any car that climbed to the top must be something special. In my (almost) 47 years, I had never been to the top of Mount Washington. For those 47 years, the cars with the red, white and blue bumper sticker silently mocked me while smugly passing me on the interstate. My shame was profound.

The summit of Mount Washington is home to what is affectionally called the worst weather in the world. They have recorded winds as high as 231 miles per hour at the summit, and temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit. If Hell has a stronghold on Earth, I bet it’s at the summit of Mount Washington, though only in the winter, and only if you believe in Hell, and only if that Hell is a cold place. (more…)