It's cheap and covers some amazing scenery in a comfy environment, even the Amtrak food and drink is cheap. I accidentally booked a hotel in Canada, forgetting when I set it up to check which side of the falls I was on. Check it out at: writeronthestorm.wordpress.com
from Penn station to Niagara Falls
Get the NYC DOT bicycle map (download or free at bike shops). Also note DOT has information on bridge closings. Sometimes if a bridge is closed they have a free van service. Stick to the paths on the map, watch out for pedestrians, and car doors. Good luck.
www.bikeforums.net is a good source of info. See info on avoiding bike theft. Hint: get a strong U lock and take the seat post with you.
Consider buying a folding bicycle in NYC and returning with it. bfold.com, nycewheels.com and others have folding bikes. Strida would be a good bicycle for touring NYC. Dahon make very nice general purpose folding bikes. Folding bikes can usually be brought on the subway and trains. A bit iffy on crowded buses.
I got a killer deal on my Vegas trip last month. I was given this email with a promocode 'TripResSun' and it saved me US$50 when I spent US$400 or more. I guess it's good for most of their destinations but I just tried Las Vegas. Hadn't heard of them before but it worked.
Monte Carlo is also right on the Strip, 4.5-star, and relatively cheap. Good luck!
The Go Boston Card is the perfect pass if you want to visit a lot of Boston attractions. The card can be purchased for 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 day increments. Once you have purchased the card you have the choice of visiting every attraction you can think of in Boston and surrounding areas.
It's the ultimate way to book restaurants in NY and other parts of the US - inc. Chicago, Vegas and LA.
Once you've registered you can search for restaurants online to find great meals at some of the best places in NY (as rated by Zagat Guide).
You'll be surprised how many great places have openings at decent times - places you would not have dared to call!
I've booked some of the best places in Manhattan, lunch or dinner. Collected points - and then used them for another great meal!
Rather than use the subway, we used the local buses. They take longer and there are some problems if you try to go cross town. However, you do get to see more of the city as you travel around. Also with a Metrocard they are effectively free.
10 best bars in LA and no Formosa? You've gotta be kidding! Elvis once tipped a waitress here with a Buick. Great bar, great drinks, great history and great margueritas.
Santa Monica & Formosa
The epitome of kitsch, this great little bar has glittery red walls, an array of vintage hairdressing tools and salon furniture, with cute locals and a DJ every now and then with alternative and indie rock. The best part is the manicure and a cocktail offer (was $10). Getting a manicure in Beauty Bar is not a novelty feature - it really lasted!
Nearest subway is Union Square, 14th street between 3rd ave and ave A.
Los Feliz is a great little neighborhood in north-east Los Angeles, near Griffith Park (I'm a little biased since I live there...). Anytime but mid-July through August are the best times to go - it can get pretty hot some days during those months. Check out Hillhurst north of Franklin, and Vermont north of Hollywood. Lots of great restaurants, bars and hang-outs (Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Hillhurst has a great patio with firepit). Griffith Park is also nearby, with plenty of great hiking trails, pony rides for the kids, picnic areas, etc.
East of Western, north of Franklin, West of Riverside drive, south of Griffith Park. Get there from the west side by taking the 10 east, 110 North, 5 North, get off at Los Feliz Blvd and head west. Griffith Park will be to your right as you drive down Los Feliz Blvd.
Planning on hiring a car in Las Vegas and travelling across the States? Hire car companies charge high drop-off fees if you rent a car in one place and leave it in another - and the further the distance between the two places, the more they charge.
We flew in to Las Vegas and flew out of Houston. Instead of hiring a car in Las Vegas and dropping it off in Texas, we did a one week rental from Las Vegas dropping it off in Albuquerque, then another one week rental from Albuquerque to Houston. It worked out a lot cheaper and it was a novelty changing cars halfway.
Book online in advance and pick up from the car hire centre at Las Vegas airport. Do the same at the car hire centre in Albuquerque airport.
These are three of the best barbecue places on the planet, all within about a four-mile radius in East Austin. Beef brisket and sausage are always excellent, but try the mutton if you are feeling adventurous, as it is tender and superb.
Sam's is open very late on weekends and features lots of music memorabilia. All three places are treasures of our local culture.
Sam's: 2000 E. 12th St. Tel:478-0378
Ben's Long Branch: 900 E. 11th St. Tel:477-2516
Lewis's: 1814 Harvey St. (corner of M.L.K., just west of Airport Blvd.)
(All phone no's are in area code 512.)
For vegetarians and vegans, Mother's offers wonderful food in a charming garden atmosphere. It was just rebuilt after a devastating fire, to the great relief of its many aficionados. Located in the heart of Hyde Park, Austin's first suburb, just north of the University of Texas area.
I have written a book (a series of humourous short stories) of my adventures over the years while backpacking, mostly alone, in my blue wheelchair. The book, 'Travels in a Blue Chair', documents my experiences over all six continents and through 28 countries, containing more than 55 stories. It's a twist on the usual backpacker book!
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this is the place to go if you want yummy pancakes and great vegan options in a funky, upbeat atmosphere. Locally grown ingredients all over the menu and pretty socially conscious. We just found it a cool place to eat, with that Austin vibe.
These tours are often run from backpackers'. They tour the conventional destinations, the Hollywood sign, Venice beach etc but they take you to Watts Towers, past the Viper Room, Compton and the more notorious locations. They also drive by celebrity houses. All done in a day so for those on a tight schedule, great!
The San Juan Islands, a two-hour ferry ride out of Anacortes, Washington, are a great destination for outdoor recreation.
Moran State Park on Orcas Island has lovely scenic campsites with excellent access to hiking, biking, swimming, and boating. The view from the lookout on Mt. Constitution is well worth the hike (or drive).
Orca whale-watching is best off of nearby San Juan Island, where you can also visit the charming village of Friday Harbor.
For more information, and to make reservations (recommended!), visit the Washington State Parks Website:
Best steakhouse I've eaten at (and there's been a few). Good service and amazing Porterhouse steaks. Try and leave some room for the cheesecake desert.
Take the L train to Bedford Ave, you'll see the restaurant from the platform off to your right.
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