Author Archives: smspangler

About smspangler

Freelance writer, editor, and photographer of myriad aviation topics and the exploration of America's small towns.

Shunpike Customs & Currency

There were few essential documents needed for Shunpike Canada. First was a passport. 9/11 terminated the convenience of crossing the border both ways with just the second required document, a driver’s license, which was the only proof of citizenship needed … Continue reading

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Passage: Speed X Time = Distance

In The Mind of the Traveler: from Gilgamesh to Global Tourism, Eric J. Leed wrote that every journey is an unalterable sequence of three: Departure, Passage, and Arrival. Travelers pay closer attention to the first and last steps because they … Continue reading

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Shunpike Canada: Anxious & Eager Excitement

Of the five fundamental interrogatives, Why is the most important—and the most vexing. Who and What and When and Where are, for the most part, objectively straightforward. But Why, Why is subjective, one person’s perspective on the reasons or rationalizations … Continue reading

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A Shunpiker’s Guide for Serendiculous Enjoyment

Sometimes a single word is all it takes to focus a fuzzy philosophy and make its underlying principles logically clear. Finding that word is the challenge. Some search for it their entire lives. I found mine on my way to … Continue reading

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A Water Tower Oasis in Arid Ash Fork, Arizona

Following Route 66 west across the barren, baked brown Arizona landscape in the early morning oven of August 8, 2016, Ed and I were looking forward to nearly a hundred miles of the original two-lane Mother Road just past Ash … Continue reading

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Shadows & Reflections of Reality

If you seek the fountain of youth, check out Fort Dodge, Iowa. When I asked about a single room for the night of August 22, 2016, the Comfort Inn clerk immediately offered me the senior-citizen rate. “It’s our best!” she … Continue reading

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Lessons Learned in the Search for New Nouns

Crossing the burnt-brown desert leg of Route 66, I asked myself, Why am I doing this? At 70 mph, opening my helmet visor was like sticking my face in a convection oven set somewhere between 110°F and 115°F. The answer … Continue reading

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