Newlywed Shoves Husband Off a Cliff in Glacier National Park, Charged with Murder

dancingnomad3, Flickr

What better way than to spend your honeymoon in the great outdoors? And if you don’t have time for a honeymoon, how about a nice weekend hike?

Unfortunately, when newlyweds Jordan Linn Graham, 22, and Cody Lee Johnson, 25, headed to Glacier National Park on July 7 for a hike, their week-old marriage had a tragic ending. After an argument on the Loop Trail, in a moment of anger Graham pushed Johnson and he fell face-first off a cliff.

After the dispute, Graham failed to call police, and it was not until Johnson did not show up at work the next day that he was reported missing. A few days later, Graham reported that she had found the body, claiming that she knew of the location because “it was a place he wanted to see before he died.”

That seemed suspicious, and when she was questioned by authorities later in the month she admitted that the two had begun to argue while on the trail and, as stated in the affidavit, “due to her anger, she pushed Johnson with both hands in the back, and as a result, he fell face first off the cliff.”

The charging documents suggest that Graham was already having reservations about her new marriage, and that she texted a friend on July 7 indicating that she was off to have a chat with her new husband about her concerns. Graham is now facing second-degree murder charges.

A Traveler In The Foreign Service: No Passport? No Honeymoon

american passport with stampsThe day after I got married, I spent much of the day nursing a hangover. And when I was finally ready to emerge from my bed, in the middle of the afternoon, I told my new bride that I was going out to rent “Braveheart” and “Rob Roy” to get us geared up for our honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands. But when I returned from the video shop, I had some bad news for her. Our first full day as man and wife was going to be a stressful one.

After suffering through an interminable, miserably hot summer in Washington, D.C., my first after joining the Foreign Service in 2002, I wanted our mid-August honeymoon to unfold in a cool, comfortable foreign locale. My wife was lukewarm on Scotland, but I sold her on the idea of hiking in The Highlands and on the island of Skye and spending our nights in cozy pubs listening to traditional fiddle music.

I’m a risk taker by nature and had no qualms about booking most of our trip with nonrefundable bids on priceline.com. I booked the flight and four nights of accommodation in London on Priceline and made reservations at B & B’s in Scotland for the rest of the two-week trip. At the time, I was in a six month long Albanian language course at the Foreign Service Institute in Northern Virginia, and my wife was finishing up a masters program in Chicago. We were newlyweds, but didn’t live together yet.I don’t recall what triggered my memory but I came to the sickening realization that I’d left my passport 1,000 miles away at my apartment in Washington, D.C., as I drove down Western Avenue on Chicago’s north side back to my wife’s apartment. It was about 4 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon and our completely non-changeable, non-refundable flight to London via Cincinnati was scheduled to depart in 24 hours.

I dreaded telling my wife about my mistake, but when she didn’t lunge after me with a butcher knife I knew I’d made a wise choice in marrying her. I had a good woman but no passport.

A series of frantic phone calls and web prowling revealed that there were two options to get my passport: A) I could fly to Washington myself, get the passport and then catch a flight to Cincinnati to board our connecting flight to London, or B) Find someone in Washington to bring my passport to Dulles airport on Monday morning and send it via cargo to Chicago.

Both scenarios left no margin for error. If I traveled myself, I’d have to pay about $500, and would arrive in Cincinnati just on time for our flight, but the routing involved three total flights and if any were delayed then my wife would be going on the honeymoon herself. When I broached this topic with her, and opined that if I didn’t turn up at the airport, she should proceed to London on her own, and I’d try to buy a ticket for another flight, she took a stand.

“I am not leaving for our honeymoon alone,” she said. “You bought non-refundable tickets and now we just have to deal with it.”

Option B was cheaper, at about $175, but was also more complex and riskier. The routing had the passport arriving in Chicago about a half hour before our flight was due to board, but this plan meant that I’d have to find someone in D.C. who could gain access to my apartment, where the passport was, and then drive the passport to the airport at an ungodly hour on a Monday morning to catch an early flight.

I decided to ask two people to help me execute option B. I asked Mike Katula, the nicest Foreign Service colleague I could think of, to try to get my passport, and Kathy, my cousin’s wife, to drive the passport to the airport. Both immediately understood the gravity of the situation and offered to help immediately without complaint.

Katula had to go to my apartment building and do some detective work to find the super to explain the situation. I would have called to warn her but I had no idea what her phone number was, and didn’t even know her full name to look her up in the phone book. As my wife and I sweated the situation out in her little apartment in Chicago, I got a call from the super.

“There’s a tall guy here who says he needs to get into your apartment to get your passport,” she said.

“It sounds a little fishy, I know,” I said. “But, please, let him in.”

Katula got the passport, and Kathy, saint that she is, got it to the airport on time and for us, all that was left to do was chart my passport’s progress online. My passport had a connection to make in Cleveland, and even though it was August, we feared delays. We spent much of the day online, refreshing flight data pages to see if our flights were running smoothly.

The first flight to Cleveland appeared to have come off without a glitch, and the onward flight to Chicago left on time so we left for O’Hare full of hope that the passport would be there. We had to report to a cargo office on the periphery of the airport and as we entered the building, which was full of boxes and delivery people, I felt pretty certain we were the first people with a honeymoon riding on the arrival of a package.

The passport wasn’t there when we arrived at the office but the clerk verified that the flight had just landed. We had a little more than an hour before our flight to Cincinnati left and I explained our situation to the woman at the desk.

“Well, it takes a while for the packages to get here and be sorted,” she said, much to our chagrin.

About twenty very nervous minutes passed and finally the woman announced, “I have something here for you,” holding up a large white envelope. I have never been so excited to receive a package in my life.

“Now the honeymoon can begin,” my relieved wife said.

We dashed over to the airport in a celebratory mood, caught our flight and had a terrific time, despite the initial fright. Two months later, I took up my first job in the Foreign Service at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje and frequently dealt with Americans who had lost their passports. And while some of my colleagues were prone to scolding and hectoring Americans about taking better care of their passports, I was sympathetic because I had a dark passport secret of my own.

Read more from “A Traveler In The Foreign Service” here.

F.U. Knighted: The world’s worst airline




While most people have experienced some form of bad customer service in their lives, I’d be surprised if it topped the treatment these two honeymooners receive trying to get on board a flight for F.U. Knighted Airlines. Luckily, the clip isn’t a documentary of real life but a humorous skit directed and edited by Nathan “Party on Fifth Ave” Moore that pokes fun at bad customer service in the airline industry. The video was written by the actors who include Moore, Lana McKissack, and Paul Peglar. If you’ve ever had a bad experience on an airline, you will definitely appreciate this.

You can click the cast’s names above to find more entertaining videos on their YouTube channels, or follow them on Twitter:

Lana McKissack: https://twitter.com/#!/lanamckissack
Nathan Moore: https://twitter.com/#!/TheNathanMoore
Paul Peglar: https://twitter.com/#!/ppeglar

Australian customs pushes foreigners on porn

Tourists and business travelers are getting annoyed with the Australian government. Hey, nobody likes airport security and customs employees in any country, but this time, the Aussies have just gone too far. In an attempt to pacify fundamentalist Christians in the country, the authorities decided to target porn.

And hilarity ensued.

According to TechEye, “[S]ince that would not go down well with your average Aussie, they decided only to scare the hell out of foreigners coming into the country.”

Basically, porn is only bad if it’s carried by foreigners. Australian-carried skin flicks are good to go. There’s no indication of whether the fundamentalists weighed in on this. But, it’s safe to assume that it really is the foreigners that make porn bad, not the locals.

So, how can you get busted for toting the collected works of Seka down under? First, you’re asked to ‘fess up on the landing cards. And, they want to know how you’re bringing your nightlife substitute porn into the country: computer, camera or phone. The risks associated with lying are high, TechEye notes: “The risk for a tourist was that if a border patrol sniffed their computer and found boobies they could be deported, or fined on the spot.”This is pretty much where the hilarity kicks in:

According to the Australian Sex Party spokesman Robbie Swan, one case involved a couple on their honeymoon, who thought they had to declare naked iPhone pictures of themselves after reading the incoming passenger card.

This does sound like a pretty awesome fmylife submission … especially because the couple was forced to show the photo while in line with other people.

Unsurprisingly, the government realizes it may need to change the rules, at least because the average foreigner probably doesn’t know how “pornography” is defined under Australian law. So, they either need to show their material to someone in a face-to-face situation or rely on the ol’ Justice Potter Stewart standard, which has served the United States so well … “I know it when I see it.

[Via The Awl, photo by lucyfrench123 via Flickr]

Ask Gadling: How can I make an important trip more romantic?

Happy couple.
Today’s question comes from Alvin in Westchester, New York.

“My fiancee and I have taken a number of trips together. Now we are planning our honeymoon, and I am wondering what to do to make it special? I’ve heard of rose petals on the bed, but I don’t really know what else is available.”

Gadling: First of all, congratulations. Secondly, good job for even asking, your fiancee’s a lucky girl. Thirdly, there are a lot of great ways to make an important trip like a honeymoon more romantic and special. Though I don’t know where you’re going, here are some basics you can add to a typical trip.

Ask your hotel.

The first thing you should do is call your hotel and let them know it’s your honeymoon. They may provide welcome champagne and more, free of charge. Beyond that, ask them if they have any “Romance” or “Honeymoon” packages; hotels love to host honeymoons and often cater to them with breakfast in bed, side-by-side spa treatments, dinner on the beach and other add-ons, all for a packaged price. If they don’t have a package like that, here are some things you can ask for:

View more Ask Gadling: Travel Advice from an Expert or send your question to ask [at] gadling [dot] com.
  • couples’ massages
  • in-room dining (find out the hours and menu, and order in advance to impress your fiancee)
  • private dinner on the beach
  • private table in the restaurant
  • rose petals on the bed
  • special baths
  • candles
  • picnics

Find out what’s nearby.

Your hotel concierge should also be able to help with this, if the hotel has one. If not, definitely Google your destination and “romantic” and “couples” to see if there are particularly romantic excursions available for you. There could be private tours of wineries and/or museums, couples’ horseback riding and all sorts of activities designed specifically for two.

Make it memorable.

The important thing to do is make memories together, so inquire about scenic spots you can drive to alone or adventures like zip lining, rock climbing and water sports. Try something together that you’ve both never done, whether it’s a strange, foreign cuisine or a nightclub with a waterslide in it. The nightclub itself may be a disaster, but in five years, you may find yourself cracking up on the couch saying “Remember that awful nightclub with the waterslide?” Bad nightclub, terrific memory.

Take pictures.

Be sure and get some decent photos of the two of you on your honeymoon; you’ll treasure them forever. Furthermore, you’ll want to remember all the crazy things you did, that weird painting in the lobby, that nightclub with the waterslide. Surprise your fiancee after the honeymoon with an album of hard copies of your favorite photos from the trip, and your marriage should be off to a good start.

[Photo credit: nattu]