USATourist News Magazine
In this issue:
Welcome to the May 2006 USATourist.com newsletter. Summer is just about here but many states are already feeling the heat. As you venture out, whether roaming city streets are just relaxing on a beach be sure to have plenty of water on hand and apply sunscreen often.
This month we're touching on Taos Pueblo (one of the many New Mexico Pueblos) and Santa Fe, both in New Mexico and camping and RVs. Also, GoCard USA is offering a 5% off special this month. We hope you enjoy this issue.
Air travel is common and convenient when traveling the United States, but when you travel by plane and stay in hotels you may miss some of the most remarkable landmarks and the small charming aspects that make this country great. If you enjoy the outdoors and don't mind slowing down to enjoy your surroundings, camping and road vehicles are two wonderful ways to experience the USA.
You don't have to be an experienced camper to enjoy camping. While some people enjoy hiking and camping in the wilderness many campgrounds are near small towns and equipped with running water and toilets. Fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and mountain biking are just some of the activities often available to campers. Some campgrounds have social events and activities for kids. Not the adventurous, wilderness type? You many want to consider the private camping club Thousands Oaks.
If you are one to prefer the great outdoors as it is you may want to go the National Park route: www.nps.gov
As I was searching for additional campgrounds to recommend I found this Web site that has several of "the best campgrounds" in the USA. I have camped in one the parks listed, Dinosaur National Monument. It is breathtaking and has some amazing photography opportunities. americasbestonline.net/campgrounds.htm
Care to read more about camping? Visit our Camping Tips page: www.usatourist.com/english/traveltips/lodging/lodging-camping-tips.html
If sleeping in a sleeping bag in a tent doesn't appeal to you, you might want to consider renting a Recreational Vehicle. Renting an RV is easy and driving an RV is something anyone can do. It is also a fun way to see the countryside or the scenic mountains. While you will have the additional cost of gas, relying on an RV as your "home away from home" you won't have to worry about a storm wiping out your campsite or overbooked hotels. RVs come as luxurious or simple as you like.
If you are interested in finding a guide to bring along on your on your RV trip the RV Bookstore rvbookstore.com has an amazing selection of reference books to help you plan your trip. I highly recommend you sift through their offerings. You will find maps, regional guides, state-by-state, beginner guides, and specialized books such as the First Aid For Dogs, Wal-Mart Locator (a guide with driving directions for staying overnight in Wal-Mart and Sam's Club parking lots), and Rest Areas and Welcome Centers Along U.S. Interstates.
Traveling with firearms
If you plan on traveling with firearms for hunting or any other reason it is important to know and understand each state's firearms laws. These laws are taken very seriously. By educating yourself you will prevent any unwanted circumstances, such as getting in trouble with the authorities. RV Bookstore also has the 2006 Traveler's Guide To The Firearm Laws of the 50 States. You may also want to consult www.packing.org
The Good Sam Club has these summer tips
The days are long and the sun is hot. This can only mean one thing - summer is here! Summer is the season that you and your family look forward to all year long. It's a time where family bonds are strengthened and lifetime memories are made. That's why it is essential to make sure your RV is running properly to avoid a premature end to your vacation.
To get the most out of your vacation time this summer, a pre-trip RV check is your best bet for a hassle-free trip. However, before you even begin to look over your rig, a good starting point would be to make sure everything you need is packed and ready to go.
As for what to pack, a lot depends on where you are going, what time of year and for how long. Start by allowing every passenger one suitcase for clothing, toiletries, medication, and "must-have" items. As for the rest of the provisions, here are a few suggestions on what to take: food and drinks, skillet, garbage bags, silverware, plates and dishes, cups, toilet paper, towels, cell phone and lawn chairs.
Once you've taken inventory of all the items you'll need for your trip, you can begin to inspect the most vital component for a safe and smooth vacation - your RV!
Prior to each trip, try to get in the habit of walking around the outside of your RV to see if anything is out of place. How do your tires look? Are they low on air? Have all slide-out rooms been retracted? Are all of your items and accessories properly secured? Other areas to check or adjust include: engine oil and fluids, trailer attachment to hitch, awnings, signal and brake lights, side mirrors and seatbelts.
And last, but certainly not least, you want to make sure your RV is fully insured just in case the unexpected happens. Fully insured means getting the full value of what you paid for your rig - not a depreciated amount! If your current insurer doesn't offer this kind of protection, or if you are in search of an insurer that specializes in RV coverage, look no further than Good Sam VIP Insurance - America's #1 RV Insurance Specialist.*
Contact Good Sam VIP Insurance today and get the coverage you deserve for a lot less than you probably would expect. As a matter of fact, Good Sam VIP members that have switched save $300 a year, on average! Good Sam VIP Insurance
* Based on the results from an independent study conducted by URI Information Services and Dr. James E. Fisher, St. Louis University.
The state of New Mexico sits between Arizona (to the west) and Texas (to the east) and north of the Texas panhandle. New Mexico's rich Native American culture is apparent in many of the small towns across the state. One of the nineteen New Mexico Pueblos (www.indianpueblo.org) is Taos Pueblo, located only minutes from the town of Taos. It is the most northern and some say the most scenic of the Pueblos. The village has authentic adobe buildings that are and have been inhabited for over 1000 years. Taos Pueblo is a National Historic Landmark and designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). About 150 Taos Indians live permanently within the Pueblo but over 1,900 live on the 99,000 acres of Taos Pueblo land in modern homes.
The residents of the Pueblo are kind but also ask that visitors respect their privacy. Visitors are asked to request permission before taking photos of the residents and to only enter through labeled doors. There is also a fee for each camera brought into the village.
On my last visit to Taos Pueblo several years ago several of the Indian women were selling fresh Indian Bread, freshly baked in a horno, an outdoor beehive-shaped oven. It was delicious. I am assuming they still offer this wonderful Indian Bread. If they do, don't pass it up on your visit.
You will also find for purchase beautiful handmade Mica-flecked pottery, silver jewelry and moccasins, boots and drums made from animal skin. www.taospueblo.com
Santa Fe, New Mexico is located 60 miles north of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is the oldest capital city in North America and is full of southwest culture. I absolutely adore this town. We have a nice piece written about Santa Fe: www.usatourist.com/english/destinations/newmexico/santafe/santa-fe-main.html
Below are a couple of Santa Fe's highlights:
The Famous Loretto Chapel & Staircase
Everyone loves a good mystery, and the Loretto Chapel Staircase offers just that. In fact, it offers two mysteries: who and how? When the chapel was completed in 1878 there was one detail missing, a way to get from the chapel floor to the choir loft. Carpenters were consulted but the chapel was small and a tasteful staircase would be difficult to achieve. A ladder looked to be the only option, but the nuns were not comfortable with that idea. The Sisters of Loretto turned to their faith and made a novena (a nine-day devotion in the Catholic Church to obtain special graces) to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. The Sisters' prayer was answered. On the ninth day of the novena a man arrived in search of work. The man agreed to build a staircase but insisted on working in complete privacy for three months. Months later the staircase was complete, but upon completion the carpenter disappeared, never saying good-bye or receiving payment. The mysterious man left behind a stunning spiral staircase that still stumps experts and amazes visitors. What is so fascinating about this 20-foot staircase is that it makes over two complete 360-degee turns without any center support. The top and bottom touch only the chapel floor and choir loft. The wood it was designed from is said to be an extinct wood species and intriguingly, it is assembled with only square wooden pegs.
The chapel was deconsecrated as a Catholic Chapel in 1968 but is still used for weddings and occasional concerts. With the exception of brides and grooms posing for photos, the staircase is no longer in use. www.lorettochapel.com
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe
Found on Johnson Street in Santa Fe is the Georgia O'Keeffe museum. The museum's permanent collection holds 182 works including paintings, drawings, and sculptures. OKeeffe's work is well known, especially her works of large-scale flowers like her 1939 Bella Donna and New Mexico inspired works such as the 1930 Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Maries II (both are part of the permanent collection at the museum.)
The O'Keeffe Café is adjacent to the museum. It is open for lunch and dinner and features contemporary Southwestern cuisine with French and Asian influences and has an exquisite international wine list. www.okeeffemuseum.org
Albuquerque (ABQ) has been hosting the International Balloon Fiesta since 1972 and is known as the hot airing ballooning capital of the world. This year the hundreds of hot air balloons will be floating over Albuquerque October 6-15. www.aibf.org
Best Western International is the world's largest hotel brand with over 2,200 hotels in the U.S.
Best Western boasts free wireless in both the lobby and all guest rooms of their hotels in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. They guarantee a signal in every room, either through a WiFi router, or through a hardwired connection.
All Best Westerns feature: Free local calls under 30 minutes, Free long distance access, Iron and ironing board in every room, Complimentary in-room coffee/tea makers, Non-smoking rooms available, King size beds available in a minimum of 10% of rooms, Dataports in all rooms, Hairdryers in every room, Complimentary toiletries available upon request (i.e. razors, shaving cream, sewing kits, toothpaste), Guest room TVs offering at least one English language channel with international news, Bottled or canned water available on site, 24 hours a day, Photocopy facilities available on site during normal business hours, Clocks in all guest rooms, Music provided in all guest rooms (clock radio), Bottled Shampoo, Multilingual website
BestRates at Best Western even when it is last minute
I often mention the fabulous GoCard in this newsletter and rave about what a great deal it is. The GoCard pass gives you unlimited general admission to top attractions for one low price and you also receive a free full color guidebook and exclusive savings of up to 20% on shopping and dining. Well, through May 31, 2006 GoCard USA is offering a 5% discount (The 5% off coupon code is: GOCARD5). So if you are visiting Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego, Orlando, Seattle, Hawaii, Miami, or Los Angeles be sure to take an advantage of this great deal.
Memorial Day is this month
Memorial Day is always May 30th but observed on the last Monday in May. This holiday is in honor of the men and women who have died while serving in the United States military. Citizens mark this day by visiting and decorating cemeteries and memorials with the United States flag and red, white, and blue flowers. The American Flag is flown at half-staff from dawn until noon.
The reason Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of the month is merely for the convenience of workers receiving a three-day weekend. This has caused some debates and controversy among groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). These groups feel that by not honoring Memorial Day on the intended day has diluted the meaning of the day.
Indianapolis 500 is May 28th
Since 1911 the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (also known as the Indy 500) has been held on Memorial Day weekend. Racecar fans come from all over to attend this racing event held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. www.indy500.com
Fleet Week is the last week in May
May 24 to May 31 is Fleet Week in New York City. Thousands of Sailors Marines and Coast Guardsmen from U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navy ships participate in the weeks activities. Many of the ships are open for tour and other demonstrations are scheduled. If you're in the area this week feel free to stop by and meet the men and women who serve and protect our country. www.fleetweek.navy.mil
July 4th is the United State's Independence Day
This year July 4th is a Tuesday and if you plan on traveling the first week in July, it's the perfect time to make your hotel and airline reservations. Summers are always busy for the travel industry but this week, being a holiday week, it one of the busiest.
I was looking for hotel deals for the first week in July and saw quite a few specials in San Francisco and Los Angles (including near Disney Land in Anaheim). www.usatourist.com/english/reservations/Reservations-Hotels.html
As always, happy travels and please continue to keep me posted on your trips. I love hearing about your adventures and answering any questions you may have about travel here in the United States.
Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair
You have received this e-mail because you have joined the USATourist mail list. If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, please unsubscribe at www.usatourist.com/english/maillist/unsubscribe.html.
You can view previous issues of the USATourist News Magazine at www.usatourist.com/english/maillist/archive.