Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bicycling Resources: Check Answers.com Biking Answers

Looking for resources on bicycling? Check out Biking.Answers.comThere are articles on topics ranging from commuter bikes to proper safety gear and cycling training. 
Photo Courtesy of Dave Moulton's Blog.
According to Jake Niehaus of Answers.com, the biking data is constantly updated by the in-house content creators and nationally recognized expert Dave Moulton. 

Dave started racing in England in the early 1950's and competed in road races throughout the 1960's and 1970's and had a full time bicycle frame-building business. His bikes were used in the Tour de France, Olympics, and World Championships. 

He know shares his vast knowledge of bicycles on Biking.Answers.com
Check out the site and tell me what you think!



Friday, November 22, 2013

10 Tips for Learning a New Language with Help from Online Resources

Consider learning a language before you travel. Here's a guest post on 10 Tips for Learning a New Language. For more info, visit: http://www.university-liverpool-online.com/.

Learning a new language is challenging. Yet thousands of adults manage to learn a new language every year. The Internet has made it easier thanks to all the resources now available. You can learn a new language — if you put in the effort.

1. Decide to Learn A New Language. Your resolve is going to see you through.

2. Choose a Language You'll Use. Select a language you will use or want to use regularly, because when you stop using the language, it will start fading from memory.

3. Focus on Grammar. Grammar is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. If you learn the general format of sentences you will feel more comfortable as you talk or write the language. For example, English uses the basic format of a Subject, Verb, then Object. Remember that from grade school? It will feel like that all over again.

4. Don't Forget Pronunciation. Words may sound similar but they may not always mean the same thing as in your native language. You run the risk of saying something you didn’t mean to say. Practice your pronunciation with someone who is fluent.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice. Repetition is key to learning the language. Try setting aside an hour a day in short bursts. For example, practice 15 minutes on the way to work, 20 minutes after the kids fall asleep or spend half of your lunch learning the new language.

6. Get a Language Buddy. See if you can find a partner who wants to learn English and speaks your target language. This way they can help you practice, correct you pronunciation and grammar, and give you a sense of the culture you can’t get from books. Online communication tools, like Skype, make this connection easier to obtain.


7. Watch Foreign Language Movies On Youtube. YouTube is a hotbed for learning languages. From videos with help on pronunciation to full length foreign language movies, YouTube and other similar video sites have access to the language material you need to succeed.

8. Get An Online Tutor. Depending on the language you want to  learn, you can get a native tutor very inexpensively and use web-based communication tools, like Skype, to communicate.

9. Learn the Language online. There’s little difference between taking a language course on the web or in the classroom. You’ll still need to learn the language and use resources beyond the language program you are using, but you’ll also be saving time and transportation costs.

10. Visit a country where the language is prevalent. After all your language study and practice, visit the country where your language of choice is the official language. Try to speak your new language for the entire trip.

Learning a new language is never easy, but the web makes it easier for you. Perseverance is key to becoming fluent in the new language. Remember: practice, practice, practice.

Author Bio

Nick is on the blog outreach team at Liverpool University Online. Check us out: FB page.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New Way to View and Experience Voluntourism

This is the most important tourism, travel article I have read in a long time. Click through the Slideshare presentation and see if you agree.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Whitewater Rafting Adventures with OARS on the American River - Photos by Karen Kefauver

On June 1, 2013, I joined OARS for a whitewater rafting day trip on the South Fork of the American River, which runs from the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range to its confluence with the Sacramento River. OARS' scenic new camp was about an hour's drive from Sacramento, California. In addition to the joy of the whitewater rapids, I was also lucky enough to participate in the company's first raft and dine program, called, "Fork, Cork and Paddle," which included a fabulous farm-fresh meal paired with regional wine after the day's adventures. 

I think my rafting photos, below, sum it up best. Plus, thanks to OARS' photography partner, Hot Shot Imaging, who took the whitewater action shots while I was too busy paddling! (You can also buy photos from them when you raft!) I wrote a story about my great trip in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Here's the link to my story: http://www.karenkefauver.com/spin-city/Cyclist-Swaps-Singletrack-Trails-Whitewater-Rafting.
There I am in green striped shirt laughing with delight going through Class III rapids on the South Fork of the American River during OARS day trip, near Sacramento, California. Photo credit: Hot Shot Imaging
OARS River Park Adventure Campground is located in a gorgeous spot in Lotus, California, about an hour's drive from Sacramento. Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
My friend Hank and I were excited to go on the American River whitewater rafting day trip called Fork, Cork and Paddle. We listened intently to the rafting safety briefing before getting in the boats. Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
We learned what to do if the boat flips over or if we fall out of the raft. Safety talk was well done!
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
We were all excited to go out on the American River. Each OARS boat had about 7 people and each boat had a guide.
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
We were prepared for Class III rapids!
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
Our rafting day included a picnic lunch and a brief talk about river conservation. 
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
I was delighted to share a raft with OARS founder George Wendt. 
When paddlers "high five" their paddles it is a way of celebrating together!
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
I could only take pictures of fellow rafters when we were not in the rapids. I kept my camera safe in a few waterproof plastic bags. Ideal if you have a waterproof camera.
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
Our raft guide, Marcelo Granados, pictured with George Wendt, right, founder of OARS.
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
Next time I visit OARS, I will stay overnight at the campground!
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver

The OARS campground is in an ideal spot next to the American River.
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
Every time I go whitewater rafting I have a smile that just won't quit!
Photo credit: Hank Coffin
We were all excited for a delicious dinner that was part of our Fork, Cork and Paddle trip on the American River.
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
Fork, Cork and Paddle with OARS features local vintners. Pictured here the mother-daughter team from  Lava Cap Winery.
Photo credit: Karen Kefauver
My next whitewater adventure? I think I will go on this trip! This fun big billboard is at the OARS campground to provide food for thought for your next trip!
Photo credit: Hank Coffin
Here's more about OARS, an award-winning, nature-based company since 1969 - from their Facebook page and website: www.oars.com.

Mission
We strive to enrich people's lives by providing outstanding adventure experiences. Our goal, since 1969, has been to help people of all ages enjoy "the best outdoor experience of their lives." We personally encourage and actively support awareness, deeper appreciation, and preservation of our rivers and natural ecosystems. Our trips are great adventures that emphasize heightened attentiveness to human impact on the environment.

Description
"The best river & sea outfitter on Earth!" - National Geographic Adventure.
With its headquarters based in Lotus, California, O.A.R.S. offers a variety of 1-day and multi-day adventure travel options including: whitewater rafting, sea kayaking, hiking and multi-sport trips across the western US and internationally.

Client and Trips
O.A.R.S. caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with experienced, professional guides and top notch equipment and today offers more than 75 unique itineraries worldwide.

For more information on Karen Kefauver's writing and photography as a freelance journalist and social media consulting, visit: www.karenkefauver.com 
There I am in green striped shirt laughing with delight going through Class III rapids on the South Fork of the American River during OARS day trip, near Sacramento, California. Photo credit: Hot Shot Imaging

Monday, March 04, 2013

Grand Canyon National Park - Go Green with Alternative Transportation

"Ditching the car and exploring Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park using alternative forms of transportation – including two-legged, four-legged and wheeled modes – is surprisingly easy, affordable and healthy for travelers as well as the environment. Use mass transportation, bike or walk whenever possible to reduce air pollution as well as congestion on the roads."

So says the press release I received from Mesereau Public Relations and guess what? I agree with this so wanted to share with you. I have shortened the original release and added photos they provided!   — Karen Kefauver

“By using alternative forms of transportation, travelers can spend less time watching the road and more time taking in the spectacular scenery of the Grand Canyon,” said Bruce Brossman, regional director of sales and marketing for Xanterra South Rim and Grand Canyon Railway. “Between the National Park Service’s free shuttle system, Xanterra’s various transportation offerings and your own two legs, it is a simple matter to explore the Canyon without ever returning to the parked car.”

While you may want to use a car to get here, once you’re there you really don’t need it, and in fact, using alternative transportation frees up travelers.

Bicycles
Travelers can bring their own bikes or rent from Bright Angel Bicycles, which offers rentals by the hour, and for half, full and multiple days as well as guided tours. Travelers can ride on portions of the park’s greenway trail system and on park roads. Bicyclists can take self-guided tours directly from the rental kiosk or take a free NPS shuttle to any drop-off. Shuttles can accommodate a maximum of three bicycles. The bicycle rental kiosk is located at the National Park Service Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

By foot
There are also a variety of tours and activities in Grand Canyon Village. For example, visitors to the Grand Canyon can take a self-guided walking tour of the historic district of Grand Canyon Village. Brochures providing interesting information about each of the stops are available at no charge from the front desk of each lodging facility. Interesting and historic sites within walking distance of Grand Canyon Village are the famed El Tovar Hotel, the Bright Angel History Room, Hopi House, Kolb Studio and Lookout Studio.

Parking is Free and Free Shuttle System
There are numerous parking lots around the South Rim, including several centrally located in Grand Canyon Village as well as a variety of satellite lots. The National Park Service’s free shuttle system stops to pick up and drop off passengers every 15 minutes at a variety of shuttle stops throughout the park as well as the town of Tusayan during the summer season.

Grand Canyon Railway
A fun and popular way to arrive at the Grand Canyon is by train. Grand Canyon Railway makes daily round-trip excursions from Williams, Ariz. some 65 miles south to the historic Grand Canyon Depot in the heart of the village. And visitors with an appreciation of history will enjoy learning that their arrival at Grand Canyon National Park is similar to the experience that visitors had more than 100 years ago, when construction of the Grand Canyon Depot – one of only 14 log depots ever constructed in the U.S. and one of only three remaining log depots – was completed by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.Train passengers bypass the park entrance and proceed directly to the depot, situated near El Tovar. Park fees are paid in advance.

Travelers can also choose the Railway Express Tour. This trip includes a one-way van trip from Grand Canyon National Park in the morning to Williams, a Wild West shootout at the historic Grand Canyon Railway Depot and a return trip to the park aboard Grand Canyon Railway. The trip aboard the train includes strolling musicians who entertain in each car. Grand Canyon Railway arrives back in the park around lunchtime.

Did you know?:
 Traveling via Grand Canyon Railway relieves the Grand Canyon of some 35,000 cars annually.
For more information visit www.thetrain.com.

Amtrak Train Service
Amtrak offers train service from Union Station in Los Angeles to Williams, where passengers are met by a Grand Canyon Railway shuttle for the 10-minute bus ride to the Williams Depot. From there, passengers can catch Grand Canyon Railway to the Grand Canyon. Prices vary depending on class of service. Travelers will have time between trains to enjoy breakfast at the Grand Depot CafĂ©, which serves made-to-order omelets as well as a variety of other breakfast dishes. The restaurant opens for breakfast at 6:30 a.m.

Mule Travel
Another way to see the Canyon is by mule, sometimes called “long-eared taxis.” Xanterra’s popular Abyss Overlook Mule Ride is a good option for travelers who desire a mule experience but cannot take the two-day mule ride that travels to Phantom Ranch on the floor of the Canyon. Two-day mule tours are typically booked many months in advance so Xanterra advises travelers to plan ahead. 

Did you know?: Mules have been a mode of tourist transportation in the Grand Canyon for more than a century.

Motorcoach tours
One of the most popular ways to view and learn about the Canyon is on a motorcoach tour.  The drivers are well-trained and entertaining. For most tours there is no charge for passengers under the age of 16 when accompanied by a paying adult. Xanterra offers a two-hour tour to Hermit’s Rest along the West Rim; a three-hour, 45-minute tour to the Watchtower along the East Rim and 90-minute Sunrise and Sunset tours. All tours include extensive interpretive information offered by drivers and stops at scenic points along the way.

Tip: The combination tour offers the best value.

Visitors can book their rooms online by visiting www.grandcanyonlodges.com or by calling toll-free 1-888-297-2757 or
 1-303-297-2757 from outside the United States. More information about Grand Canyon National Park can be obtained at www.nps.gov/grca or 1-928-638-7888.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List is Amazing Travel Contest - Check it Out!


The Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List is the first travel contest I have ever been seriously tempted to enter! Read more, below and see the video promo! — Karen Kefauver

Look at the payoff: 
The winning applicant of the Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List will get to travel the world for 6 months, to 6 continents and 25+ international destinations. It’s all expenses paid (up to US $50,000) as they will be blogging and reporting for us as they travel and then when they return there will be a check for US$50,000 waiting for them!
Details: http://www.mydestination.com/bbb/competition#tab
Hope I’ve got you intrigued enough to check it out on www.mydestination.com/bbb.

How to Win! Are you tempted yet?  It's simple!

FIRST - you need to create your very own video sharing your local knowledge and tips for people who might visit your destination, and not longer than 3 mins. It must be your original material, presented by you, and created specifically for this competition.

SECOND - write a blog post (between 200 and 500 words) about an interesting travel experience you've had. It must be your own experience and written by you.

THIRD - Three photos that you took yourself relating to the blog post above.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hot Spots for Bird Nerds - Travel and Birding Go Hand in Hand

Today, I am happy to share a blog guest post from Joe Laing, the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. — Karen Kefauver

Hot Spots for Bird Nerds
By Joe Laing, El Monte RV

We've all seen them -- maybe there's even one in your family. These types of travelers always have binoculars around their neck and a notebook and field guide in their pocket, eyes peeled on the forest canopy for a flash of color or a tell-tale song.

For an initiation into 'bird nerding' at its very best, take a wintertime trip through southern New Mexico. At roadside restaurants along desolate Interstate 25, you'll overhear travelers and locals carrying on about the spectacle of thousands of geese and sandhill cranes.
The hidden spots where migrating birds gather in the fall and spring, flocking in numbers that make their human visitors feel insignificant, are destinations that many RVers and weekend warriors hit the road in pursuit of finding.

Here are some of the best spots for seeing huge numbers of birds in the U.S.:

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
Chen caerulescens -Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, USA -two-8a

This is bird country! Translating to 'woods of the Apache,' Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is a sprawling, unexpected wetland oasis in the middle of New Mexico, making it a logical stop on migration routes. Literally tens of thousands of sandhill cranes descend here in late fall and remain through the winter, along with equal numbers of Arctic geese.
There's no way to explain the sound or spectacle of 20,000 or more geese in one place, stretching for what looks like miles, or the awe that 100 sandhill cranes circling down and landing in unison can inspire.

Give yourself a full day or two here, making sure to arrive before sunrise and staying for sunset, when birds return from miles around to roost for the night. Campers can set up shop at the nearby Bosque Birdwatchers RV Park, where you're bound to encounter fellow recently christened bird nerds to revel about your day's adventures.

Cape May, New Jersey
Mute Swan Cape May RWD

At the Garden State's southern tip, Cape May stretches out into the ocean like a wild, windswept expanse, belying the urban jungle that lies just up the coast. Protected as a National Wildlife Refuge, the beach and maritime forest is ground zero for migrant and nesting songbirds, including warblers, flycatchers, orioles, and vireos. Snow Geese, Tundra Swans, and several species of ducks also winter here, before the spring brings huge numbers of shorebirds. It's a premier year-round birding destination on the East Coast, with plenty of local campgrounds and RV parks to stay for a weekend or longer.

Mono Lake, California
Bird on tufa at Mono Lake-1000px

Considered to be the oldest lake in North America, Mono Lake's water is highly alkaline and far saltier than the ocean, but it still harbors billions of tiny brine shrimp. These serve as an all-you-can-eat buffet for tens of thousands of Eared Grebes and Wilson's Phalaropes that stop through on their migration route. If you're able to get on the water, the lake's volcanic islands also serve as primary rookeries for California gulls, attracting as many as 60,000 during the summer months to breed. It's a stunning but cacophonous spectacle.

Flamingo, Florida
Three Roseate spoonbills

Literally at the end of the road through the Everglades, Flamingo is aptly named, although no breeding flamingo populations still exist in the state. There are, however, plenty of tall pink birds (the real ones, not the plastic yard variety) called Roseate Spoonbills. Look out for massive wading flocks of these gorgeous, curious birds, along with huge numbers of wood storks, egrets, herons, and ibis. It's a great place to pitch a tent or park your RV and stay put for awhile -- after all, why turn around immediately when you hit the end of the road? The birds are staying put.
Have birds ever swept you off your feet? Where are your favorite places to see huge flocks of birds?

About the Author
Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals your nationwide source for RV rentals. El Monte RV also sells used motorhomes through eight different locations across the United States. For more information on purchasing a used motorhome see http://www.elmontervsales.com/.