Guided Bicycle Tours In Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach & Redondo Beach

Beach Cities Bike Tours A Great ‘Things To Do’ In Los Angeles

Hermosa Beach bicycles bicycling

Riding a bike along The Strand in Hermosa Beach is a great activity in L.A.

 

Here’s a great way to see L.A.

Without having to battle traffic, freeways or even be in a car. Take a tour of the Los Angeles beaches on a bicycle!

Beach Cities Bike Tours provides guided tours of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach – LA’s jewel of coastline – on a bicycle.

The tours, which run seven days a week, point out film and movie locations, one of LA’s top surf spots, the birthplace of beach volleyball and the “totally awesome” true Southern California beach lifestyle.

The guide also points out favorite and top area restaurants – including where to get the best burger in L.A. – nightlife and Happy Hours.

There’s even a Thursday Wine Tasting Tour!

So for this unique Los Angeles sightseeing to-do-activity, contact Beach Cities Bike Tours!

• E-mail: kwilkersn@aol.com
• Facebook: Beach Cities Bike Tours
• Twitter: @CABikeTours
• Phone: (310) 990-4020

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Summer Road Trip Memories Driving To A Family Vacation

Passing The Time In The Pre-Smart Phone Era

Florida Welcome Center

Florida, the destination of many a summer traveler in America.

 

The highlight of our summers as kids was to go to Florida on vacation.

Clearwater Beach was our destination and while that was great, it required a 12-hour drive from Tennessee to get there, something none of us looked forward to, from parents to children.

Now imagine being a kid – in these trips I was the ages when I was in late elementary school to high school sophomore while my sister was three years my senior – cramped up in the backseat of a Chevy sedan for half of the 24-hour day.

In the pre-iPhone/iPad days.

To pass the time (and no doubt for them to keep their sanity) our parents would come up with clever travel games for us to play.

My dad was a journalist and so he was always pushing the educational aspects of the trip. And that meant reading every roadway sign. Most of the trip was along the interstate and he would read the exits, the exit numbers, the towns we approached and the names of the exits in the towns.

He said he did this because it’s always important to know where you are, plus if someone mentions one of the areas you passed or it’s in the news for any reason, you can say with an air of sophistication, “oh yeah, I’ve been there, I know that place.”

When we went through Atlanta, I would pause and stare up at the big buildings downtown. This had a lifelong effect on me and explains why I always wanted to live in a big city (we lived in Knoxville, a city to be sure, but certainly not a large one).

My sister found all this boring but she did happy engage in another game our parents created. And that was to read the license plates of all the cars we saw on the road.

There’s a wide variety of people from states in the South. Midwest and East Coast that travel the interstate to Florida in the summertime, and this could occupy us for quite a while.

Most of the cars were from Michigan and we came to the conclusion that it was a good state to get out of, a fact I later confirmed when I had to go there several times in my PR career.

We were also glad we did not have to drive that far to get to Florida.

To this day, reading road signs is something I do to pass the time on long trips. Billboards for attractions are favorite.

But come to think of it, I don’t read license plates anymore; that’s something I’ll have to start doing again on my next trip.

But not on these California freeways where I now live!

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Tropical Storm Bill To Drench Midwest From Texas To Illinois

Travel To Be Affected By Predicted Rain & Flooding

Tropical Storm Bill rain

Tropical Storm Bill will bring a lot of rain to these areas. AccuWeather.com

 

Tropical Storm Bill is bringing heavy rain to the midsection of the U.S., and will soak the country from Texas to Illinois.

It could even affect the planned Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory parade, scheduled for Thursday. If predicted thunderstorms are around on Thursday, the event will be pushed back to Friday.

According to AccuWeather.com, “torrential rainfall and renewed concerns for major flooding in the South Central states” will be taking place as a result of Tropical Storm Bill.

AccuWeather projects a path to go through Dallas by Wednesday afternoon, sweep to Oklahoma City on Thursday and reach St. Louis and other Midwest cities and towns.

It predicts the heaviest rain (and the greatest risk of flooding) Tuesday into Thursday for the upper Texas coast, central and northeastern Texas and central and eastern Oklahoma. Many of these locations may receive double-digit rainfall.

This is on top of 1-2 feet of rain that hit during May.

An “arm of rainfall” averaging 6-10 inches will extend as far to the north as southern Missouri, according to AccuWeather. Locally heavier amounts are possible.

The heavy rainfall will not stop over the southern Plains and the middle Mississippi Valley. Rain heavy enough to cause flooding will be funneled into part of the Midwest and the East.

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You Can Be Drinking Wine In The Most Unusual Places In Switzerland

From Hiking Trails In The Alps To Wineries In Small Villages By A Lake

Zermatt restaurant wine Swiss Alps

It’s time for wine in the middle of a meadow in the Swiss Alps near Zermatt.

 

Switzerland really is an amazing country.

Not only can you be skiing in the Alps in the afternoon and having dinner in a city an hour or two later, but you can do it with remarkable ease.

And you can also drink Swiss wines in the most extraordinary places.

I mention this because I’m having a glass of wine now. And, as often happens when I drink wine, I start thinking about places to drink wine.

I love wine tasting rooms, particularly in California’s Monterey and Carmel, and good bars and restaurants.

The better the view, the better the wine experience.

Which brings me to Switzerland.

They have wine in Switzerland. Very good wine, in fact. Since they make so precious little of it, you pretty much have to enjoy it in its native country, and that’s another thing that makes it so great.

You can drink wine in Switzerland in places you can’t imagine until you get there and do it for yourself.

They have little restaurants in the middle of the Alps. I mean in the middle of a meadow with nothing else around you but grazing cows. One minute you’re on a hiking trail and the next you’ve stumbled upon a hut in, say the shadows of the Matterhorn outside of Zermatt.

Then there’s the wine country.

Switzerland’s wine country is not like the wine countries where I reside, California. Here, there are dozens upon dozens of wineries lining the highways for miles. It’s big business, too, and there are several organized tours, especially to Napa Valley from San Francisco.

In Switzerland, the wineries are tucked into small villages. It’s almost if they are hiding from you.

The Lake Geneva Region has several wineries but there’s not one single organized tour. To put together this wine country guide for PubClub.com, I had to do considerable research on how to tour the wineries and ultimately decided upon a combination of a boat, the train, your feet and even a bicycle.

That in itself is unique.

At the excellent Domaine du Daily winery – located on what is a slanted ledge that looks as if the vines might slide down into Lake Geneva below at any moment – we had walk through the place to hunt down a hostess.

I had the feeling we could have just opened a few bottles ourselves and started our own tasting until someone arrived to check in on us. It was that relaxed.

Then there are the restaurants, some of which are over rivers, lakes or high above cities with views that make you sit back and savor the experience.

And you can drink it on the trains between destinations. As an added bonus, the accommodating people of the Swiss Travel System even let you bring your own wine to drink on the train. Talk about traveling in style!

For all of its other attributes, Switzerland is also worth a trip just for its wine drinking experiences.

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European Train Stations Are Nicer Than U.S. Airports

Transportation Centers Are Clean, Open & With A Tourist Office

Zurich train station

European train stations, like here in Zurich, are clean and convenient.

 

It is already documented here that European airports are far superior to their American counterparts.

But if you want a real kick in the travel gut as an American, know that European train stations are way better than our airports, too.

It hardly seems fair.

European train stations are like palaces. They are mini-cities that contain food places from quick markets to full restaurants, shops and even bars. In other words, they are like a mall in America.

Except they are not located in the heart of cities and, in a moment, can whisk you across the country or even the continent.

They are also clean, have wide open spaces, are well marked so you can easily move from one area to the next.  Some look as if they were built just prior to your arrival.

They also have something that American airports do not and should have – local tourist information offices staffed by friendly, knowledgeable people who can find you a hotel room in a matter of minutes.

American airports, by contrast, are mostly old, cramped and woefully inadequate to handle the capacity of passengers.

Employes are cranky, lines are long and the whole experience is just a necessary exercise to get from one point to another.

Again, it just doesn’t seem fair.

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A Quick Summertime Guide To Lucerne Switzerland For 2015

A Water Lilly And The Blue Balls Festival Highlight City’s Events

Lucerne-Swans-On-The-Lake

Lucerne is a pleasant little city in central Switzerland that has a lot to offer this summer.

 

If you find yourself in the area of Switzerland this summer – and quite frankly why wouldn’t you if you have half the chance – then here’s one destination to check out: Lucerne.

It may not be as high on your list as, say, Zurich or Interlaken, but it’s right on a lake surrounded by mountains, is compact enough to walk everywhere and overall is a very agreeable place.

I’ve been to Lucerne. For lunch.

You can do this Switzerland. I was on my way from Bern to Zurich and hopped off the train for a couple of hours to have a look around the place. It was bustling, for I had arrived on one of its market days, so I strolled on both sides of the river checking out the food vendors.

Eventually I settled on a sandwich, sat on a bench overlooking the lake to eat it and had a very pleasant afternoon.

So if you go, where’s what to expect in the summer of 2015:

• The Water Lily.  To celebrate 200 years of tourism, five areas of Central Switzerland (Schwyz, Uri, Luzern, Obwalden and Nidwalden) have created a floating platform in the shape of a large lily that is docking at various points throughout the region from now thru October.

Designed as a central gathering place that hosts events the bright red lily will “open its pedals” throughout the summer and as it moves to different locations. This is being called “Gästival.”
• There are several events, including those food markets, plus a summer symphony series. For a few of the symphony concerts, the public can sit on a lawn and listen to the music.
• The big summertime event is the comically-named (comical to Americans, anyway) Blue Balls Festival. This is a series of concerts featuring European rock bands that attracts a whopping 100,000 people. It’s July 17-25.
• You can stay in a mobile home along Lake Lucerne. And it comes with a record player and mini bar!
• There’s a new “circle trail” around Lake Lucerne for hiking and running. You can’t walk it in a day; it’s 100 km long. But there are multi-day hiking trips that include accommodations.
• Up on Mount Pilatus there’s a new cable car.
• Like many locations in Switzerland, Lucerne has several museums. In fact, Switzerland must lead the world in the number of museums per square inch.

Lucerne is located in central Switzerland, an hour’s train ride from the Zurich airport. In fact, Lucerne is an hour’s train ride from virtually anywhere in Switzerland.

You can learn more about all this and book accommodations at the city’s website: www.luzern.com

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