Sarah Palin intervenes on behalf of Japan Airlines

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, fresh from her 15 minutes of election fame, is using her pull to help save some sectors of her state’s travel industry.

Specifically, Palin recently intervened on behalf of Japan Airlines, asking the US Dept. of Homeland Security to resume customs checks on winter flights from Japan to Fairbanks. Customs had said it did not have enough staff in Fairbanks to maintain a winter presence, which led DHS to deny landing rights to roughly 20 JAL flights.

Logistically, it’s a pain for US Customs and Border Protection to meet these flights; customs officers have to be flown from Anchorage to Fairbanks each time a JAL flight lands.

But these flights mean big business for Fairbanks’ economy: $4 million, according to some estimates.

After Palin intervened, DHS decided to reverse its decision.

“We recognized right away the importance,” Patricia Eckert, a trade specialist with the governor’s office, tells the Associated Press. “There is tremendous economic impact at a time of year when it’s most valued.”

Gadling Take FIVE Week of Oct. 25–Oct. 31

Wow! Here it is Halloween and October is almost over. Whew! What a month.

The pace at Gadling has continued to pick up. Perhaps you’ve noticed that Gadling blogger Karen Walerond has returned. She’s our resident camera and photographer expert, so stay tuned for tips on how you can make your camera work sing.

Also, there’s yet another series to add to our other mini-series. Aaron is gracing us with a Travel Trivia quiz each Tuesday. That Aaron is one smart guy.

Hopefully, you’ve been following Gadling’s series “Catching the Travel Bug” about our experiences when we’ve caught some illness when on the road. Also, this week there were two more “Sounds of Travel” offerings. This is the series where we’re sharing the songs that have moved us when we’ve ventured from home.

This week, who hasn’t noticed the flurry of U.S. election related news? By the next time I write next week’s Gadling TAKE FIVE roundup, we should know who our next president will be. We’ve had our own musings about the candidates and some oddball details.

Yes, that’s only four, so here’s one more from one of my favorite topics, New York City. Jeremy has once again given us a blueprint for discovering the gems we may not have heard of before. I’m so heading to Roosevelt Avenue in Queens for dip into Latin American culture the next time I am in New York.

By, the way, have a wonderful Trick or Treat or party, or whatever you’re up to. Hopefully, your fall day is as gorgeous as mine is.

Palin or Obama as a perfect traveling companion, and where do Democrats and Republicans want to vacation?

Whether or not the following statistics are true, they’re interesting to ponder. With the election fast approaching, here are findings from a phone survey that blends travel and politics. The survey conducted for Travelzoo ended on October 7, so perhaps the numbers would have shifted a bit by now.

  • Percentage of people who think Sarah Palin would be a perfect traveling companion–33%
  • Percentage who think Barack Obama would be–35%

Destination dreams of Republicans, Democrats and Independents:

Who would take a cruise to Alaska?

  • Republicans–51%
  • Democrats–37%
  • Independents –43%

Democrats would rather take a cruise to the Caribbean–51% of them said this is where they would like to head for the vacation of their dreams.

According the survey, the bickering and pandering during this election are giving Independents the idea that they would like to take a vacation elsewhere–47% of them are looking towards Spain, France, the U.K. or Germany for some R&R.

The survey conducted between September 15 and October 7 included a representative sample of 1,000 people, ages 18 and over.

Travelzoo normally doesn’t delve into politics, but is a Website to head to if you’re looking for travel deals. No matter your political leanings, you might find something to suit your tastes and budget. One thing I noticed is how easy it is to find deal information. Here’s the link for Alaskan cruises. And here’s the link for cruises to the Caribbean.

Joe the Plumber’s Lucas County Ohio: There are decent things to do there. How about a corn maze and Toledo?

When I heard Joe the Plumber, the guy McCain made his personal friend in Wednesday night’s presidential debate, was from Holland, Ohio, my first thought was maybe there’s something to do in Holland–a weekend getaway perhaps?

Not exactly. Not Holland, per se, but, it’s close to Sarah Palin’s corn maze for some fall fun. Whitehouse is also in Lucas County.

Corn, Palin and Joe Plumber aside, this is a part of Ohio has been on my list of places to go for sometime–Toledo, specifically.

Just this month, Toledo won first place in the America in Bloom Awards for cities of 100,001 or more people. The award is given to a city for its beautification efforts. Toledo must be lush with flower gardens. The Toledo Botanical Gardens would be a place to start to see the floral bounty.

For art lovers, the Toledo Museum of Art recently expanded its weekend hours because visitors had requested more access to this gem of a museum.

Two aspects of this art museum I’ve always been drawn to are the extensive events and art classes offered each month. Some are one day experiences.

A weekend trip to Toledo could include one of these. Make sure you arrive in time for It’s Friday. Each Friday the museum is open until 10 PM. Tours, music and glass blowing demonstrations are part of the fare.

Also, not to be missed is the museum’s Glass Pavilion where the museum’s collection of more than 5,000 pieces of glass art pieces are housed. The pavilion won an award in 2007 for being the best designed museum.

Another Toledo high point that achieved fame with the television series M*A*S*H is the eatery Tony Packo’s Café. Jamie Farr who played Corporal Max Klinger is from Toledo.

His first mention of Tony Packo’s during an episode came with the line “If you’re ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo’s got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs. Thirty-five cents…”

Known for its chili dogs and Sweet Hot Pickles, Tony Packo’s has been serving up Hungarian style food since 1932.

So, one of these days I’ll head to Toledo, but probably not before Palin’s maze is browner than brown. Maybe next year when the spring flowers have bloomed. First stop, Tony Packo’s. I’ve wanted one of those chili dogs for years.

American Idol, David Archuleta is in a corn maze too

Like Sarah Palin, David Archuleta’s mug is etched in a corn field tribute. It took 14 acres to give Archuleta his due.

Some people get all the luck. You can see Archuleta’s version of corn maze fun at Cornbelly’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Fest in Lehi, Utah.

At first, a corn maze of Obama and McCain was considered, but Archuleta won out because he’s one of Utah’s own. Plus, with the campaigning going on and on and on and on, Archuleta seemed more fun.

According to this article in the Desert Deseret News, if you visit the maze you can get a chance to win an autographed copy of Archuleta’s album when it come out in November.

Just like Corn Maze at the Butterfly House where Sarah’s face is located, Cornbelly’s is geared for family-style entertainment. Wandering through the head of a person who has captured the public ‘s attention this year is not the only calling card.

Cornbelly’s also has a pumpkin patch, a Halloween themed Fright Night and kid’s activities. There are still a few weeks of fall left for Archuleta and Palin viewing, although by now, I assume they’re turning a yellowish brown.

Both places are open until the beginning of November.

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