Video: Oregon Man Turns Retired Jetliner Into Home

Reduce, reuse, recycle – we’ve heard it ad nauseum, but it’s certainly a great maxim to live by. Bruce Campbell, an Oregon electrical engineer remodeling a retired 727-200 commercial jet into a home, believes he’s on-trend, according to an interview with CNN. He admits it’s not for everyone (it’s like the Ninth Circle of Hell for aviophobics such as myself) but he does have a point about the wings making for a great deck.

For a tour of Campbell’s dream home in progress, watch the video.

Tips for Packers fans going to the Super Bowl

It’s been a long, hard road, but the Packers have finally bested their rivals to the south and made it into the Super Bowl. Congratulations. Now it’s time to pack up the queso dip, send the kids to their grandparents and make your way down to Dallas for the showdown.

Texas! The very word brings a tidal wave of emotions. It’s a whole new ball game down there – different food, different politics and different ways of getting business done. Without the right proper guidance and a hand full of travel savvy, the gentle northerner can be eaten alive in Texas. And that’s why we’ve put together this handy guide for surviving Dallas as a Packer.

Get there
Packers fans are scattered throughout the Midwest, but chances are, a long trip south is store for most of them. The cheapest way, of course, is to drive. Provided the weather stays stable throughout the heartland, it can take between 17 and 21 hours to get from Wisconsin down to Dallas – and that’s without bathroom breaks or a stop to see the inlaws.

Public transportation is filling up fast, so if you’re even considering taking a train, bus or airplane you need to book your tickets NOW. Passage by Greyhound is possible from Green Bay or Milwaukee for a shocking $311 round trip, and as coaches fill up that price is only going to wander higher.A slightly less expensive and more comfortable passage can be made on Amtrak, where $270 can get one a round trip connecting through Chicago from Green Bay or $224 buys a ticket from Milwaukee.

The fastest and least economical way would be to fly, though prices for those tickets are already pushing past the $325 range from Green Bay. Milwaukee, on the other hand, is boasting fares in the upper $400’s. And if you want to leave on Monday, the day after the game? That’ll be over $800. Our suggestion for that route is to choose an alternative departure airport (Chicago’s O’Hare and Minneapolis are a stone’s throw away from Wisconsin) or fly on an alternate date. Through you might miss a few extra days of work by returning Wednesday morning you’ll save a ton on airfare.

Eat there
Comfort food is a prominent theme in Midwestern cooking and Texas is takes no departure. The obvious choice for sweet southern cooking lies in barbecue, and there are a host of possible around the city that nearly guarantee a delicious experience. D Magazine has a great roundup of barbecue joints in the city and in a pinch you can always check Kevin’s Barebecue Joints for an allstar list of restaurants.

Need something closer to home? Check out Scardello (3511 Oak Lawn Avenue), the top local cheese shop, where lo and behold, one of the featured cheeses this month is a Wisconsin favorite by the name of Rush Creek Reserve.

Still, no visit to Dallas would be complete without a trip to one of the most popular restaurants in the city, and that means tex-mex. Two of our favorite twitteratti, @flyingphotog and @meridethlmckee, suggest Chuy‘s (4544 McKinney Avenue) and Uncle Julio’s (multiple locations) for local favorites.

Alternatively, Victor Tango’s (3001 N. Henderson) serves up a fine dish of urban bar fare, and their kitchen even stays open late for the partiers.

Stay there
At this point in the game there aren’t a ton of free rooms to spare in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and whatever’s remaining is starting to skyrocket in price. Our favorite hotels in the city, The Joule and the Ritz-Carlton are booked solid, though sister properties, (Marriott, 3300 Championship Parkway and Aloft, 122 E. John Carpenter Freeway) still have some availability.

Frugal travelers will probably have the best luck in finding workable accommodations. There are a half-dozen Motel 6‘s in the DFW area, each available for less then seventy bucks a night, and above that, a full range of Econo-Lodges with some moderate ability.

The NYLO Dallas (1001 West Royal Lane) also still has some rooms remaining.

Weather highs have been ranging from the 50’s to the 60’s so if you’ve got an adventurous streak about you there are a startling number of campgrounds and RV parks circling the city. Texasoutside has a great database of parks.

[Flickr image via Phil Roeder] gives away free hotel rooms for each day The Jets are in the NFL playoffs

Everyone gets a little excited around playoff time, and why shouldn’t travelers who happen to be football fans capitalize on the fun? Clearly claiming their preferred team, HotelPlanner is giving away $500 in free hotel rooms every day at 2pm EST this week to its Facebook fans while their team travel partner, The New York Jets, are still in the NFL playoffs.

The secret to free hotel rooms can be found at HotelPlanner’s Facebook page. Anybody can win, even if you’re a not a Jets fan. If the Jets continue to win, HotelPlanner will continue to give away $500 in free hotel rooms every day until The Superbowl.

Yesterday’s lucky clue from their fan page: “Today’s random number is 50! If your billing zip code ends in 50 then be the first to book $500 worth of free hotel rooms online at!”

Seems easy enough… even if you’re a Ravens fan.

The rooms can be booked at any hotel, for any time, length of stay, star rating or number of rooms, as long as the total reservation cost adds up to $500 or less and the rooms can be booked on

Gulfstream’s $500 million expansion of Savannah, GA headquarters to create 1,000 jobs

According to many pundits, the so-called recession that gripped the world in 2009 is far from “over,” but we’ve been noticing steady signs of recovery in the travel industry over the course of 2010. While consumers and businesspeople alike are still pinching pennies and thinking twice as hard about where their funds are going, more and more bodies are moving about, particularly by plane. Gulfstream, which maintains a headquarters in Savannah, Georgia, seems more convinced than ever that we’re on the rebound, and it’s announcing today a huge investment that’ll better position it “to meet future demand for business-jet aircraft and support services.”

The spend? $500 million over the next seven years, and that’ll buy significant expansion of its Savannah plant as well as around 1,000 full-time Gulfstream Aerospace jobs (a hike of about 15 percent from its current level of 5,500 employees). According to Savannah Now, those positions will include production specialists, engineers, and support technicians. Needless to say, quite a few folks in the Peach State are celebrating the news, with Gov. Sonny Perdue being one of many on hand today for the announcement. Moreover, the expansion will result in new facilities at the northwest quadrant of the Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport.

Gulfstream suggests that the investment will also help it meet a growing demand for large-cabin aircraft, with large chunks of the cash used to build production plants for G650 (“Like a G6!”) and G250 jets, as well as maintenance capacity for all of the models that the company manufactures. Unsurprisingly, we’re hearing that the bulk of that demand is coming from international clients (Asia Pacific, specifically), but the company seems bound and determined to keep its roots in the south.

We know Gulfstream doesn’t speak for the entire aviation industry, but it’s definitely good to see a major player like this making such a tremendous investment in the future of air travel. Here’s hoping it’s just the beginning of a beautiful turnaround.

[Via Twitter (@mksteele)]

Volcano grounds jets in Indonesia

Flights between Singapore and several Indonesian cities, including the capital Jakarta, have been grounded due to the latest eruption of Mt. Merapi. The volcano has been erupting for two weeks and has killed more than 130 people and displaced two hundred thousand.

Several airports have closed and while the ash cloud has affected international flights, domestic flights are continuing as normal. So far the suspensions of flights are up to the individual airlines, but major carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa and Cathay have chosen to play it safe.

Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in the Ring of Fire, a giant arch of tectonic activity around the Pacific. Back in 2006, an eruption displaced tens of thousands and prompted local villagers to try animist rituals to placate the volcano’s spirits.

[Image courtesy user Tequendamia via Wikimedia Commons]