Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The most comprehensive collection of evidence on the famous mythical monster is at the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre at Drumnadrochit.
Or, try finding Nessie yourself. Explore the mystical waters of the Loch on one of the scheduled cruises and tours, which visit hiding spots such as the Caledonian Canal, the deepest parts of the loch, and the picturesque ruins of Castle Urquhart, one of the most evocative and romantic parts of the area.
At the end of the day, stop off in one of the pubs in the village of Killin alongside the lake, or loch. Perhaps you'll hear stories about Nessie from some of the local residents. Perhaps over a glass of the famous local beverage of Scotland. You know what it is. Unlike Nessie, that's no mystery.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Some things can be donated to charity, of course. Instead of putting the rest out with the trash and adding to the landfill, Freecycle it.
Freecycle is an international group whose axiom is that one person's trash is another person's treasure.
No buying or selling involved. Actually, that is strictly prohibited. This is not eBay. No money is exchanged. You give what you don't want to somebody who does, indeed, want it. Simple.
Register with your Zip code to find a Freecycle group near you, post information about what you want to give -- or get -- online, and you avoid the dreaded cycle of buying the same thing over and over. And you are also helping the planet.
There are some 4,000 Freecycle groups around the planet, with a combined total of more than 3 million members. Somebody wants your old BlackBerry.
Monday, December 24, 2007
It's just a 0.7 percent increase -- from 65.2 million last year to 64.7 million this year. That percentage increase is a good bit less than the price increase we are seeing for gas and airfare.
According to the AAA, airfares averaging 16% more than last Christmas have a double-whammy. Since airfare bargains are harder to find, and many of us are deciding to drive, instead of fly, to grandma's house, despite $3 a gallon gas.
Just so you know -- gasoline costs an average of 70 cents a gallon more this holiday than last.
More than 80% of all holiday travelers will be in their vehicles on the road this week. That's a total of 53 million, and all of them will be on the same road as you are.
And another projected 3.3 million will traveling by train, bus or what the AAA called "other mode of transportation", whatever that is. Broomstick? Segway?
Because of those more expensive airfares, due in part to higher jet fuel prices the airlines have to pay, just under nine million of us are travelling by plane this week. Hotel prices are up, too, by as much as 9% since last year's holiday week, according to the AAA.
It all adds up to a lot of people on the move this week, and pay more for the privelege.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Most of these Winter Institute Field Courses last from one to four days and are limited to 12 participants. Many courses are held at the Institute’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus, where simple, comfortable log cabins are just $25 per person per night. Other courses are based at Yellowstone Park lodges.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, each one of us produces an estimated 20% more trash than usual.
Just think about how much trash is around every gift you buy and give. Wrapping paper, gift boxes, tissue paper, ribbon, greeting card envelopes, fancy department store paper shopping bags.
All of that winds up in the landfill. Unless you recycle. Unless you make your holiday season more eco-friendly. Consider it your gift to the environment. Travel green, drive green, give green.
These tips for a greener and simpler season are from the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Some require little or no throw-away wrapping.
Homemade baked goods are always welcome gifts— and they never end up in a landfill! Anybody can bake cookies, even though not all of us can turn out mouth-watering cakes, jams, sauces or pickled vegetables.
Send mail-order organic food, including a holiday ham. This is a double-green gift, since you are supporting organic farmers, who are almost all small and indenpendent family farmers, and giving fresh, healthy food.
Give the gift of your time, such as an IOU for a night of baby-sitting or an hour or two of yard work.
Buy greeting cards made from recycled paper. For wrapping paper, you can create a unique look with pictures from out-dated calendars, maps, or magazines. That's an especially creative way for children to wrap gifts for their friends and relatives. Of course, you can also reuse gift bags.
Give entertainment, such as a museum membership, tickets to the movies, the theatre, concerts or to sporting events. Or, a gift of learning, such as language or music lessons, classes in cooking, photography, or other favorite hobbies.
Give fitness or pampering, such as gym memberships, personal training sessions, or classes in dance, yoga or Pilates, a massage, facial or manicure and pedicure.
Give nature, such as flower seeds to plant next spring, or a hummingbird feeder.
String your holiday tree with edible and biodegradable items like popcorn or cranberries for ornaments, rather than tinsel — which you can feed to the birds in the backyard after the holidays are over.
Find out if your local sanitation department has a tree recycling program. In New York City, the annual Mulchfest program collected more than 177,000 trees last year, which were mulched to help the trees in the city's parks.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
New this ski season, guests who arrive in a hybrid vehicle will be able to park in the lot closest to the lifts. In this “green lot”, the parking lines are painted green instead of yellow. The preferred parking lot is located front and center at the resort, which also provides skiers and snowboarders arriving in gas guzzlers the chance to walk past a veritable showroom of hybrid vehicle choices.
There some one dozen models of hybrid cars, both sedans and SUVs, already on the market, with more in the pipeline, from nearly all your favorite manufacturers. These are some, not all --
Hybrid Sedans -- Toyota Prius and Camry, Honda Accord and Civic, Nissan Altima, Lexus LS 450H, Saturn Aura Green Line
Hybrid SUVs -- Ford Escape (pictured, above), Mercury Mariner, Lexus RX 400h
New Hybrid Models Expected in 2008 -- Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Malibu, Chrysler Aspen
Okay, back to skiing and snowboarding. At Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, "Project:Green" program includes mini-green tags, which help offset vehicle emissions associated with ski trips. Complimentary resort shuttles from nearby South Lake Tahoe help minimize vehicle trips to the resort.
Other resort-wide projects that have been in place for several seasons include installing solar panels and occupancy sensors that turn off hallway and bathroom lights when nobody is there.
Wow, a special, preferred parking lot for green cars. How brilliant is that! Invite the good guys up front and send the bad guys to the outer limits.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Remember to pack your patience along with your holiday plans. These packing rules for smarter travel this holiday season will save time and reduce stress.
Never put valuables like medicines into checked luggage. Ditto your house keys, cameras, itinerary with all the addresses and phone numbers you'll need when you arrive. It will save inconvenience, even a life-threatening emergency if your luggage is delayed.
Remember your Passport. You won't be allowed on an international flight without it. Even if you are boarding a cruise ship in the USA, a passport alwo is required if that ship is making international port visits.
Only two carry-ons allowed. It isn't an airline rule -- it is an FAA rule. The policy is one piece of luggage and one personal item such as a purse or briefcase per person. And the rules can be different internationally -- London's Heathrow airport limits you to one item, not two. That means you can fly into Heahtrow with two carry-ons, but you can leave carrying only one.
Dress comfortably. Wear clothing that is soft and breathable, and wear shoes that can slip on and off easily at security check points. And wear socks, so you aren't barefoot in the airport. Wear a zip-up or button-front jacket or sweater to speed the screening process -- these layers will come in handy as a makeshift pillow or blanket in flight.
Carry on snacks and reading material. That is especially important when travelling with children. Pack healthy snacks -- I never leave home without a bag of dried fruits and nuts, a granola bar, or both. It has saved me and my family from starvation on more than one delayed flight.
Expect delays. You probably don't need to be reminded that this is the busiest travel season of the year.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
You probably don't need to be reminded this is the busiest travel season of the year.
Here are six tips to reduce airport stress and delays for your Christmas holiday visit with family or your annual Caribbean escape or ski safari to get away from them.
1- Check in early. Many airlines now allow check-in from your computer up to 24 hours prior to departure time, even printing out a boarding pass. Many airlines, including US Airways, now provide updated information on gates and flight delays through text-enabled Treo and BlackBerry devices and mobile phones.
2- Allow plenty of time. For parking, check-in and security. Although rules vary by airport and airline, you will lost your seat and your baggage will not make it on board unless you check in at least 30-45 minutes before your flight.
3- Avoid extra baggage charges. Curbside check-in is faster, but many airlines, including American and United, now charge $2 per bag for curbside check-in. Another reason to check in early and take your bags inside to save money.
4- Use check-in kiosks. Generally faster than conventional check-in lines. Swipe a credit card to print out a boarding pass. Some new kiosks can read a US Passport.
5- Pack carefully. Most airlines limit you to two pieces of checked luggage per ticket. Overweight and extra bags can cost as much as $100. Bags are generally considered overweight if they weigh more than 50 lbs.
6- Remember the 3-1-1 rule. Carry-on liquids are limited to tubes and bottles of three ounces or less, all visible inside a single one-quart see-through plastic bag. Whatever doesn't fit inside the zip-close baggie will be confiscated. Some airports provide properly sized plastic bags at the start of the security line as a courtesy. Better to have your carry-on mouthwash, hand lotion, hair gel and other necessities already packed and ready.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
The preserve is New Mexico's newest public land, a huge, stunning former private ranch that sprawls across some 89,000 acres. It is located about one hour from Santa Fe, even less from Los Alamos.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts can enjoy 35 Kilometers of X-C trails, a combination of set and flat track. Or, head off anywhere in the entire 6,000 acre area designated if you want to break your own trail.
A yurt to yurt program for overnight skiers and snowshoers will be available through a special lottery. The Valley Caldera National Park has been off-limits to all recreation for decades and holds true treasures including old-growth forest, remarkable geology, and huge views.
VCNP is the newest member of Ski New Mexico, which includes world-famous and legendary resorts like Taos Ski Valley, and also lesser-known gems such as Pajarita Mountain, Angel Fire and Ski Santa Fe, which is just outside town.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
The trains travel along the eastern shore of the island of Amager then west into the city and beyond to the Frederiksberg and Vanløse neighborhoods. Although the modern trains are driverless, there is a Metro Steward aboard to ensure everybody's safety.
The trip from the airport to Kongens Nytorv in the city center takes just 15 minutes and costs just $4 - or, it is free with a Copenhagen Card.
After you finish travelling green, you can eat green, too, since eating organic in Copenhagen is incredibly easy with organic produce, meat, milk, cheese and other products widely available at supermarkets and restaurants.
Danes have long been world leaders in organic food production; in Denmark eco-conscious eating is simply a way of life!
Top organic spots in Copenhagen include the casual café BioM - where even the paint on the walls is eco-friendly - and Gourmandiet, both in the Østerbro section of town, as well as Cap Horn (arguably Copenhagen's first organic restaurant) located prominently on Nyhavn, the historic canal district.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
- protects African savannahs, forests and wetlands from commercial logging or other development, which, in turn,
- protects giraffe, impala, zebra, chimpanzees, leopards, rhinos, wildebeest and other wildlife,
- provides work to impoverished families in Africa.
Oh, and did I mention your gift is tax deductible?
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Join an organized tour, and don't look down. Bridge Climb takes adventurers on a a unique journey through the heart of the bridge along the inner arch before ascending to the very top, some 700 feet (134m) above sea level.
Climbers can touch the raw steel and infinite rivets – maybe even hold on to them in terror -- as you scramble over mesh catwalks, up stairs and past the historic point where the bridge was first joined.
There are awesome views of Sydney and the amazing sense of accomplishment when you reach the summit. The climb takes 3-4 hours and all climbers receive a commemorative certificate and a photograph of their group at the summit.
There are guided climbs at dawn, day, twilight and night, with departures evey ten minutes, seven days a week, and you can choose between a climb over the top or one through the heart of the girders.
Just think, bridge painters get to do this every day.
Monday, December 3, 2007
The Lapa Rios Ecolodge on the stunning Osa Peninsula has come up with a unique way to save Costa Rica's sea turtles. The lodge has teamed with a local women's group to collect the plastic bags and bottles that litter the beaches, and cut and weave them into usable things.
- reduces littered plastic bags,
- saves sea turtles,
- cleans up the environment
- creates micro business opportunities for women who might otherwise be unemployed.
Now that's what I call a win-win program.
The eco-lodge even has sponsored a workshop to teach local women how to make the beautiful, recycled bags, which are being sold at the Lapa Rios gift store, as well as on-line. The lodge has teamed up with Women of the Osa, ASCONA (Asociacion Costarricense para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza) and others to support the Osa Sea Turtle Conservation program, Weaving for Nature.
The the multi-colored plastic bags are cut into long strips, and knit or woven into new, attractive handbags and purses. The recycled bags are sold in the lodge's gift shop, and via the lodge website.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
There's no reason to lose touch when the power goes out, or when you are camping out miles from the nearest electrical outlet. Norm Thompson has an emergency radio that's also an emergency siren and flashlight. Just wind it up with the hand crank on the side to make it work. It even charges cell phones.
Stop buying all those throwaway water bottles everywhere you go -- the ones that fill up landfills and litter the sides of highways. Instead, choose the SteriPen from Magellan's, which harnesses the power of ultraviolet light to purify your drinking water. UV light has been used by water treatment plants and hospitals for more than 50 years to eliminate dangerous bacteria, viruses and protozoa without chemicals or boiling. Sure it's pricey -- $79 for the regular version and $99 for a smaller travel-size, but consider that an investment that will pay back in just a few restaurant meals and hiking excursions.
Sometimes, you just don't want to go barefoot on questionable hotel carpeting. You don't have to with these Toe Sox from FootSmart. The little nubs on the bottom prevent slipping, and the socks do double duty in Yoga and Pilates exercise classes. And the five-toe design lets your toes wiggle
Find more holiday gear and gadgets gift ideas for your favorite adventure traveller here.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
The airline is Vancouver based Harbour Air began began purchasing high quality carbon offsets in October to mitigate the climate impact of all scheduled service, charter and tour operations.
Harbour Air flies between Vancouver, Victoria, Richmond, Nainamo and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.