Need a Ride? On This Alaska Route, You Can Simply Flag Down a Train

Frank Kovalchek, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
Frank Kovalchek, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking to catch a ride on Alaska Railroad’s Hurricane Turn train, you don’t need to head for a station—you can just walk up the tracks.

As 99% Invisible taught us, the train is perhaps the U.S.’s last remaining “flag stop” passenger train that allows riders to catch a lift at any point along its route. If you walk up to the tracks and wave a white flag, the train’s operator will stop the train and pick you up. (You can reportedly also wave your arms or use a white t-shirt.) The two-engine train is only three cars long, making it relatively easy to stop on short notice.

The 55-mile-long Hurricane Turn route begins in Talkeetna, a village north of Anchorage at the base of Denali, and runs north through the Indian River Valley to Hurricane Gulch, known for its picturesque bridge, the railroad’s longest and tallest.

The route cuts through the wilderness around Denali National Park, and the unique flag-stop system allows riders to get on and off in the back country, including people who own remote, off-the-grid cabins in the area.

During the summer, a trip from Talkeetna to Hurricane costs $54, while a winter trip costs $49. If you're not planning on heading to Alaska anytime soon, you can take a 360° virtual tour of the experience in the video below from KTUU, an Anchorage-based TV station.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Attention Aspiring Astronauts: Arlo Skye Now Has Space-Themed Luggage

Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye

While some travelers are preoccupied with getting their luggage through airport security, the designers at Arlo Skye are thinking bigger. As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the brand's new line of suitcases is inspired by space travel, with high tech features and a sleek, futuristic look.

Arlo Skye was founded in 2016 by alumni from Louis Vuitton and Tumi Inc. They set out to create luggage that emphasized design, with luxury polycarbonate suitcases available in trendy colors like rose gold and custom monogramming.

The company's Space Collection may be its most stylized line yet. It comes with a removable, 10,050-milliamp-hour charger with USB C and A ports for charging phones and other devices. The chrome-colored case is 22 inches tall, 9 inches deep, and 14 inches wide and weighs 8.5 pounds empty.

Space Collection suitcase from Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye

Depending on what type of space traveler you are, you can get one of three designs laser-etched on the bottom of your luggage. There's Moon Shot, Team Human, and Occupy Mars; each engraving comes with a short ode to space and a small picture of its respective celestial body. Like other suitcases made by Arlo Skye, these bags are zipper-free and made from polycarbonate with an aluminum frame.

Whether you're a globetrotter or an aspiring astronaut, the Space Collection from Arlo Skye makes a great travel companion.

Buy it from Arlo Skye for $450.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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Here's How You Can Help Rebuild Paris's Notre-Dame Cathedral

 Kitwood, Getty Images
Kitwood, Getty Images

A fire at Paris’s famed Notre-Dame Cathedral raged for nine hours on Monday, drawing the world’s attention to the partial destruction of one of the best-known cultural monuments on the planet. The efforts of more than 400 firefighters managed to preserve much of the 859-year-old structure, but the roof and spire were destroyed.

Financial support for the building has already come pouring in, with billionaire François-Henri Pinault pledging $113 million toward reconstruction and another billionaire, Bernard Arnault, promising $226 million. A total of roughly $1 billion has come in from donations, but a revitalized Notre-Dame is a considerable expense that could cost even more.

For people who would like to assist, donations are being accepted by the nonprofit French Heritage Society for virtually any amount.

Why will expenses run so high? Prior to the fire, Notre-Dame was in dire need of extensive restoration. Buttresses caused instability to major walls, gargoyles were damaged, and cracks had formed in the now-destroyed spire. The cathedral is owned by the French government, which allots roughly 2 million euros (or about $2.26 million) annually to upkeep. Between the existing wear and the fire, it could take years or possibly decades for the work to be completed.

The publicity surrounding Notre-Dame has also motivated people to assist in rebuilding efforts on a smaller scale, and closer to home. Three churches in Louisiana that were recently targeted in allegedly racist arson attacks saw donations climb from $150,000 to over $1 million following the Notre-Dame fire. You can donate to that GoFundMe campaign here.

[h/t CNN]

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