Getting ready for a trip always involves a big gear inspection. What to wear, what to pack, what to leave at home. I happen to enjoy the planning part of a trip almost as much as I enjoy the trip itself. Almost.
I have to confess that I'm one of those ATGATT guys. You know, All The Gear, All The Time. So my senses are particularly tuned to pick up what I perceive as real mistakes by my fellow riders. At risk of sounding like a gear evangelist, here are a few things I've actually seen other bikers and their passengers wearing on the road:
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On a recent, warm and sunny day, a close friend and I decided to "try something new". We were told about a local park here in Vancouver - Vanier Park - which on a windy sunny day is often home to some high flying fun - kite flying! For me - someone who gets easily bored - spending a an afternoon watching these beautifully colored kites dance through the skies was surprisingly entertaining, exciting and relaxing all at the same time. I was impressed with the skill of the kite-masters, appreciative of their diligence and concentration, and I enjoyed the visual beauty of it all (I'll also shamelessly admit that I found it entertaining to watch some of the kites crash to the ground too). What I learned from chatting with others at the kite park is that kite flying is an age-old pastime with a strong following around the world.
Did you know that March 28 - May 3 is National Kite Month (don't worry, I didn't either)? In celebration of it, there are a number of Kite Festivals taking place that might be worth checking out for some windy weekend fun. Why not stray from your normal routine and do something different with a friend, or step outside the box on your weekend family outing and perhaps you and your kids might discover a newfound appreciation. A great perk is that most kite festivals are very affordable (if not free), making it a great option for an economical family outing.
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Once I finish writing this blog I promise to get all my paperwork in order to send off to my accountant.
I'm sure something else will come up and I'll end up sending it all in at the last minute. Just like last year. And the year before that.
Here are three tax tips to consider when wrapping up your returns this year:
1. Due to wide variations in fuel costs over the last year, the standard IRS deduction for business miles on your personal vehicle came in two flavors:
50.5 cents per mile for the period January 1 through June 30, 2008
58.5 cents per mile for the period July 1 through December 31, 2008
The current deduction for 2009 is 55 cents per mile, FYI.
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March 10 2009 by Sam Lowe
Having reached that age when any reference to "the good old days" takes on added meaning because I was there for a lot of them, I was quite taken with Columbia, an old mining town that's also a historical state park, located in California's Tuolomne County near Yosemite National Park.
This is an ideal place for senior travelers for a couple of reasons:
First, it's easily walkable and reminiscent of the small villages where so many of us grew up. The main street is only two blocks long, it's flat and there are no cobblestones to stumble over. And, as a bonus, they don't allow cars or loud music on the main drag.
Second, Columbia takes its job of being an historical state park very seriously. Every morning, the shopkeepers put on their period costumes and crank open the huge steel doors that guard the stores against fire. Then the women bustle onto the sidewalks, clad in long skirts and whisking homemade brooms to maneuver the previous day's dust off the wooden sidewalks and back onto the dirt road that bisects the town.
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March 9 2009 by BW Innsider
This week on bestwestern.com, extra great travel deals will be available, but only from 12pm EST - 4pm EST. The travel can take place anytime this year, though prepayment is required to get the low rates. Make sure to set your alarm for noon EST and check out the savings that everyone is talking about.
Find out more >
March 3 2009 by BW Innsider
And enter for a chance to win 24,000 Best Western Reward points!
Here at YMBT we understand that travel costs money. But we also understand that travel is a healthy escape, a needed getaway, a necessary business expense or a chance to reconnect with family and friends. And with the constant bad news about the economy, we need those things now more than ever. But there are places to travel that don't have to break the bank. And we want to hear about them. They could be weekend getaway spots, National or State Parks, interesting sites or special places close to home that help you get away from it all.
To submit your BEST BUDGET TRAVEL DESTINATION ideas (and at the same time enter for a chance to win 24,000 Best Western Reward points), select the Comment button and enter in your response to the question, "What are your best budget travel destination ideas?" Once you enter a comment you are entered into a random drawing for one commenter to win 24,000 Best Western Reward points!
The contest promotion ends on March 31, so submit your travel destinations today.
I know there is a lot of angst, bickering and confusion about the recent passage of the federal stimulus package that will inject $800 billion into our sputtering economy.
But you know what? Those of us who spend much of our lives on the nation's highways are going to be some of the first to enjoy the results of this massive spending. Smoother, wider and more technologically advanced roads are just around the corner.
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Have you ever had the excitement of seeing someplace you've traveled portrayed in a movie? Did you feel a certain excitement rush through you, "I've been there! I stood in that spot!" It also feels great because you have a better appreciation for the sights, sounds, and atmosphere for what is playing out on screen. You are getting a better experience than the rest of the audience that is only experiencing it through the big screen version. They don't know what it sounds like, smells like or feels like to be there.
On the other hand, having experienced the previous scenario on a few occasions, it also leads me to wonder what it would be like to visit so many places that you see in film. To be more specific, some movies are so enticing with their locations that I want to run out of the theater, pack my bags and catch the next plane.
I recently read that Mumbai, India is seeing a spike in tourism tied to the recent Oscar winner Slum Dog Millionaire. Not sure how they measure that, but it sounds plausible.
Here is a list of a few movies that give me the travel bug.
When Harry Met Sally - Captures New York in all its seasons. Every time I watch it, I want to spend time in the Big Apple.
Ocean's 11 - What happens there stays there. A movie that makes Vegas seem slick, fun and cool. Not that Vegas needs help with their "fun" image.
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Looking for a fun new extreme activity for your next trip? How about something totally new! Here is a list of newly invented sports to get your adrenaline pumping.
Kiteboarding - extreme wakeboarding / windsurfing popularized in 1996 by Laird Hamilton and Manu Bertin off the Hawaiian coast of Maui involving a harness attached kite the propels the rider forward and upward.
Wingsuiting - extreme sky diving popularized in 1998 when Jari Kuosma of Finland and Robert Pecnik of Croatia teamed up to create a wing suit that was safe and accessible for all skydivers.
Tow-in surfing - extreme surfing technique pioneered by Laird Hamilton, Buzzy Kerbox, Dave Kalama, and Milton Willis in mid 1990s where a surfer is towed into a breaking wave by a partner driving a personal watercraft or a helicopter with an attached tow-line.
Trail ultra-marathoning - extreme marathon running popularized by Gordy Ainsleigh in the 1980s, involving a trail run of 100 miles.
Speed stacking (for our younger readers!) - extreme cup stacking invented by Wayne Godine in 1980s involving stacking cups in predetermined sequences to competing against the clock or another player.
How cool would it be to invent a totally new sport? Gives me crazy little tingles to think that someone might be inventing the next new addition to this list right now. If you can dream it, you can do it.