Travel News

Google Earth Reveals Top-Secret Missile Base, IHG Going for a New All-Suites Brand, and More

Written by Charlie

Find out about the stories around the net! See the secret missile base that is viewable on Google Earth, read about the FAA investigation of Southwest, a NASCAR driver taking on the Boston Marathon, and more!

Good afternoon! I have been away from things over the weekend due to some crazy busieness so I thought, rather than writing separate posts, I would drop some of the things that caught my eye into one post.

Google Earth Accidental Reveal, New IHG Brand, Southwest Investigated, and More

These kind of posts are always including things that I find interesting and that I think may be of interest to readers. Hopefully, you find at least one of them that does interest you!

Google Earth Reveals Top-Secret Patriot Missile Base

Google earth missile

Last year,  I wrote about how Strava’s heat map revealed secret military bases around the world. Well, now Google Earth has one upped that by showing high-definition satellite images (still available to see through Google Earth as of this post writing) of a top-secret, Patriot missile base in Taiwan.

Google earth missiles

Secret base in Taiwan that houses US-built Patriot missiles

Taiwan has asked for Google to blur some of this out, of course, but that has not yet happened. These images are ones that I screengrabbed myself so they are definitely available for anyone to see! I wonder how the nearby neighbors feel about the nice woods containing this secret missile base…

Of course, enemies of Taiwan could find this without the help of Google since Taiwan has not made any effort to cloak this area from surveillance. But I would guess Taiwan still doesn’t want the rest of the world to see this.

Link: South China Morning Post

IHG to Launch Another All-Suites Brand

There is no name for this new brand yet but IHG says it will focus on new builds and attempt to slot this new all-suites brand under the Staybridge price while focusing on the upper-middle tier area of hotels. They say that there is room for a brand like this that would focus on the longer-term customer. Yes, we definitely need a brand new hotel brand on the scene 🙂

Link: Skift

Wyndham Is Changing Their Reward Structure

A few years ago, Wyndham changed their rewards program to a flat 15,000 points per night for a free night. This was for all of their hotels from Howard Johnsons to Wyndham properties. Of course, most people were not going to use their points for a Howard Johnson like that and many have complained about such a pricing structure.

Well, be careful about what you complain about! Wyndham is cutting rates in half for many lower tier hotels (to 7,500 points per night) but they are also bumping up many of their nicest properties to 30,000 points per night. You have until April 3 to book under the current structure.

It should also be time for them to revamp their credit card since no one wants to sign up for a card that will give them a single night at mid-upper tier hotels.

Link: PRNewsire

FAA Investigating Southwest Over Baggage Weight Discrepencies

I have to admit – when I first saw the news about this, I thought they were weighting their scales the wrong way for passengers checking in to get money from customers for overweight bags (since Southwest doesn’t charge for regular checked bags). 🙂

But, no, it is much different from that. The investigation is centering around the reports that Southwest pilots are being provided with weights that are not accurate on the baggage numbers. The numbers go from a few pounds to up to a 1,000 pounds off, which can impact measurements for the pilots.

Link: CNBC

NASCAR Meets the Boston Marathon

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson will be doing a different kind of race this year, running the Boston Marathon. While he has done shorter races (he ran the Daytona Beach Half Marathon in a respectful 1:34), this will be his first marathon.

NASCAR drivers stay in really good shape anyway for driving and he is now putting in 70+ miles per week for the Boston Marathon so that should help him to be prepared pretty well!

Still, even with that half-marathon time, my guess for his Boston time would be between 3:50 – 4:00. My best half marathon time is 2 minutes off his so I do know something about this range.

The tough part about translating that to a marathon time is that, for a novice at the distance, there are factors that the half-marathon does not really prepare you for. “The Wall” is one of those things and then you figure the fantastic energy at Boston, coupled with things like Heartbreak Hill can make for a marathon time that could be off other race times.

Should be interesting, though!

Link: USA Today

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Taiwan should stop relying on the US and develop its own nuclear weapons. That is the only way to keep China off its back.

  • If Taiwan makes no secret, pretty safe to say these are decoys anyway. Reminds me of a hot-air inflatable manufacturer who almost convinced the US gov’t to buy hundreds of thousands of decoy blow-up jeeps and tanks to confuse enemies re: troop strength.