The First Transcontinental railroad helped to revolutionize the settlement + economy of the American West
Did You Know: In 1875, the city of Denver had 4 different train stations, causing passenger transfer issues. To remedy this problem, it was determined to create onecentral Union Station to combine the various operations. It was decided to build this famous station in February 1880!
Yesterday, the FCC voted to repeal the 2015 Net Neutrality rules. This phrase that has been popular in media recently and there are several misunderstandings of what these rules are. If you would like to learn more about Net Neutrality we have linked several resources that we found useful below for a better understanding of this complicated subject.
Pack Up + Go has been a passionate supporter of Net Neutrality and sees this ruling as an affront to the majority of citizens that spoke out against it. This ruling is a reminder of corporate influence in Washington D.C. being repackaged to the population by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai as an opportunity for increased competition. These rulings allow telecom power players, such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, to give preferential treatment to websites - no longer requiring that they treat all content equally. For individual consumers, this means that you may have to pay different prices for internet speeds based on the content you wish to view online.
In addition to the harmful effects this ruling could have on consumer pricing, the other likelihood is the destruction of the many startups + small businesses that rely on online exposure to stay afloat. All industries who conduct business on the Internet risk being adversely affected by this decision. Here is a example of what could happen to Pack Up + Go, a travel booking website, in a post-Net Neutrality Internet:
“Suppose that without net-neutrality rules, Kayak and Orbitz can pay Internet providers to load their sites faster than the start-up. Impatient customers will quickly give up on the start-up, and it will fail. That means fewer competitors in the travel industry, which could be bad for consumers, who benefit when many companies vie for the lowest prices.” (Borchers, 2017)
Developing innovative processes and increasing consumer choice is the most successful when every person and company has a fair chance. Reversing Net Neutrality rules will only serve those in the market with the money and power to remove any lesser competition - not increase freedom as is currently being claimed.
The Pack Up + Go team would like to remind all of our current, past, and future travelers to remain informed regarding debated topics and speak out to their Congressional representatives to ensure that votes are being made with your interests in mind. In the aftermath of this ruling, the Court System + Congress will be left to decide the outcome of our free Internet. As an American, it is your right to support or denounce Net Neutrality regulations. If having an open Internet that keeps all websites on a level playing field + does not exist solely for profit is important to you, we urge you to exercise that right.
This year Pack Up + Go will be showing how thankful we are to be able to travel this beautiful country by donating a portion of our profits from trips booked + gift cards purchased on 11/28/2017!
A donation will be made to The Trust for Public Land - an organization which works to protect close-to-home parks, particularly in and near cities, where 80 percent of Americans live, so plan your trip and help protect our nation’s public parks!
Guest blogger Corinne Hogge takes us into the details of her recent trip to California, Oregon, + Washington
The Great American Road Trip has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, life happens and plans fall through, but that does not mean that I do not seize the opportunity to take trips whenever possible. Already in 2017, I have managed to travel from my home base of Pittsburgh to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Cape May (NJ), Lorton (VA), Atlanta, London (England), Brussels (Belgium), multiple camping trips around Western Pennsylvania, and most recently the Pacific Northwest.
What began as a simple trip with my boyfriend, Nick, my best friend, Deven, and myself to Seattle evolved into a 16+ hour trip – starting from the Sacramento airport all the way to the Seattle train station. The California landscape that met us was dry and barren – far from the lush scenery from my “California Dreamin”. We drove through the desert for the first several hours of our trip until we stumbled upon Clear Lake. A remote town, frozen in time with retro signage and unassuming docks along the highway. It was an oasis for us tired travelers and reminded us of the joy of surprise and why we choose to travel in the first place.
Our first stop on the journey was Burlington Campground in Humboldt Redwoods State Park – about 5 hours from Sacramento. We ventured here because I was determined to see the Redwood trees first hand and Humboldt is home to some of the oldest + largest trees in the region. As a 6’1” woman traveling with a 6’2” man and a 5’10” woman, it is not often that we get to feel small, but heck does a 300’ tree make a girl feel insignificant. Our favorite fact that we learned in this park was the phenomenon of “fairy circles”. When a “giant” starts to die, it creates a circle of smaller trees around it that spring up from its roots and use the energy from the passing tree to grow strong. Eventually, these smaller trees will grow to be giants in their own right. The renewal of energy and the witnessing the circle of life is one of the wonders of travel.
The second stop was Mill Creek Campground in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, 4 hours north of Humboldt. The journey to the campsite brought us passed black sand beaches with massive, jagged boulders protruding from the ocean floor to remind us of the passage of time and the flexibility of nature. Our campsite itself was unlike one I had ever seen – up a flight of stairs. It felt like our own little tree house, hidden away from the road by ferns and Sequoias.
The third day took us into our second state of the road trip – Oregon. We traveled North passed ranches, mountains, and small towns unbothered by the busy nature of modern life. Our destination was the majestic and breathtaking Crater Lake – a crystal blue lake formed by melting glaciers after the devastation of a volcanic eruption some 7,000 years ago, yet another example of nature’s forgiving evolution. It took us two hours by car to traverse the cliffs of Crater Lake and see the freshwater waterfalls that outline the road.
From there we traveled against the traffic of the Solar Eclipse 4 hours to Portland to return our rental car. We got in with 2 minutes to spare, thank you very much. Here we were met by our friend, Donovan, who flew out to spend the remaining city days of our trip with us. Our one day in Portland gave us the opportunity to check out its downtown area, food trucks galore, and biggest bookstore I have ever seen, Powell’s City of Books. We spent our evening at the DIY bar – a place that combines crafts + cocktails. For a flat fee, you are given the tools and access to a myriad of paints and dyes to bring your creation to life.
We then took the Amtrak train from Portland to Seattle. I am often disappointed by the lack of a high-speed railway system through America, so it was a welcome opportunity to take a relaxing ride through the countryside of Oregon + Washington. We gave ourselves 3 days in Seattle to really take in the sites and decide whether it should be a contender on the list of “great cities we move to next”. We were lucky to have our friend, Andy, who lives in the city, be our tour guide for our time there!
Our first day we enjoyed a Savor Seattle food tour of the Public Market. This was a worthwhile excursion that allowed us to try some of the most famous stops – like Beecher’s Handmade Cheese + Pike Place Chowder – in the market without having to wait in line (I HATE waiting in line). The public market is home to one of the more odd sites we came across on our trip: the gum wall. An alley in the market entirely covered in bubblegum. We learned that the Market community regularly removes the gum and that it always ends up growing again. We ended the evening exploring the many restaurant and bar options of the hip Ballard neighborhood north of the city.
Our second day we allowed ourselves to have a full tourist day, going from the Chihuly Glass Museum to the Space Needle to the Museum of Pop Culture (AKA MoPop). I enjoyed all three, but was notably exhausted afterward and remembered how much being a tourist takes out of you! On our last day, we stopped by the Fremont neighborhood for Brunch at a French-Korean fusion restaurant called Revel and we stomped our full bellies around to see the Fremont Troll, Statue of Lenin and ended our afternoon with a trip through the Theo Chocolate Factory. Seattle is without a doubt the hippest city I have every been too with so many amazing food options that I wonder if you could ever hit them all – I cannot wait to return!
I walked away from this trip with a resounding renewal of love for traveling, an immense appreciation of the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and a fascinating new obsession with donuts. I highly recommend the Great PNW Roadtrip to anyone that wants the thrill of a road trip but only has a short time to take it!
Q: Why did you sign up for your trip? What were you looking to get out of it?
A: Every year around my birthday, I like to do something fun/spontaneous. I had heard about this company from a co-worker who had seen a story about it on TV about a year ago. Immediately when she told me about it I knew I wanted to take a trip. I love to travel and it seemed like a great combination of my interests in travel and doing spontaneous things. I was looking for a fun adventure and this trip definitely delivered that.
Q: Did you have hesitations about taking a surprise trip? Were you nervous?
A: My only hesitation was that I would be sent somewhere I had previously traveled to. I made sure to include those places on the survey.
Q: Where did you guess you were going to travel? Were you surprised by the destination?
A: I had a few guesses in mind. I had said I liked historical places and liked to go to the beach and to baseball games. My guess was San Francisco, Charleston or Boston. When I got the email a week before with the weather forecast, I had a feeling it might be Boston or San Francisco because they said to pack a baseball hat. I was really hoping for Boston and was so happy and still surprised that is where I went.
Q: What made the trip feel unique and tailored to you?
A: What I loved most about the trip was that it felt like they listened to everything I mentioned in my survey. I said I enjoyed history so they had several historical places listed as part of their recommendations. I also mentioned baseball and much to my surprise and excitement they had bought me a ticket to a Red Sox game. I had even mentioned in passing that I was going on this trip as a birthday present to myself. When I got back to my hotel on Saturday there was a birthday dessert from the hotel in my room with a nice card. They definitely went above and beyond in every detail of the trip.
Q: What did you like most about your travel accommodations?
A: The hotel was in a great location. As a solo traveler, it was important to me to feel safe and I definitely did. It was a great location and I could walk almost everywhere I wanted to go. The Boston Public Market was only a block away.
Q: Upon discovery of your destination, what were some perceptions about your city prior to the trip?
A: Boston was always a city I wanted to visit. I LOVE everything historical so it seemed like a city I would really enjoy. I didn’t know a lot of specifics about the city so all of the guides that you provided were extremely helpful. I loved how they were broken out by different areas of the city.
Q: What did you discover on your own (not on your itinerary) in your destination that you feel is shareworthy?
A: As a history nerd, I searched for some extra historical places to check out. I went to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum which was awesome. I also found out that they offered whale watching which was on my all time bucket list.
Q: What was your favorite part of your trip?
A: I have a hard time deciding what my favorite thing was. Everyone keeps asking and my answer is everything! However, if I had to pick one thing it would probably be the Red Sox Game. However, you provided so many great recommendations it was hard to decide what I wanted to do. I also really enjoyed the Freedom Trail.
Q: What did you learn on your trip, or from your trip?
A: The entire experience was amazing. I got the idea from other testimonials to get your friends involved in the process so I posted a lot on facebook and had all my friends guessing where I was going. By the last week of my trip everyone was begging me to open the envelope or give it to them so they could figure out where I was going. It actually made me not want to peek even more so I could keep everyone in suspense. I loved the excitement of not knowing where I was going and to be able to explore a city without having to be anywhere at any particular time. All of the recommendations were perfect.
Q: How would you describe Pack Up + Go and your experience to your friends and family?
A: I would describe it as the best kind of trip to take. They take care of all of the reservations and provide wonderful recommendations of what to do while you are there. I appreciate that they don’t book a bunch of things for you once you are in the city and they let you decide what you want to do. It’s traveling without the stress.
Q: What would you say to someone who is hesitant to go on a surprise getaway
A: I would highly encourage them to take a chance on it and try it. You won’t be disappointed. They communicate with you throughout the process and go the extra mile to make sure your trip is special. What do you have to lose? It was honestly one of the best experiences I have ever had and can’t wait to book another trip.